Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Living through Surveillance: Recasting the study of Civil and Military Relations

December 9, 2019

In December 2019, Sahana Ghosh edited, "Living through Surveillance: Recasting the study of Civil and Military Relations,"  a special section with five essays appearing in the latest issue of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The piece also features an Afterword written by Ilana Feldman (George Washington University). 


The essays offer ways to think about the everyday life of prolonged surveillance and interrogate its temporal and spatial expanse. Using civil-military relations as a lens, they explore how militarization transforms spaces, reconfigures social relations, and makes the presence of security forces a daily reality. These articles turn to the borderlands and frontier regions in South Asia and postwar and postrevolutionary societies in the Middle East to address their importance for reconceiving the relationship between terror, surveillance, and sovereignty. 

Ilana Feldman writes in her Afterword, "Security practices are cultural practices. They shape social relations, define kin networks, generate exchange and produce all sorts of things that anthropologists have been interested in." The essays in this collection bring anthropological attention to security matters, demonstrating the important insights to be gained from directing ethnographic methods and analysis to questions of security, surveillance, and civil-military relations.