1. GENDERED INFRASTRUCTURES: CONTROL

December 11, 2018

TV/Video bevakningThe CCTV cameras forms a concrete, yet invisible and abstract, infrastructure supporting society’s aim to keep crime low and public space. Large parts of the public space in Rosengård is now surveilled by CCTV cameras, monitoring what happens down on the ground from their place high up on the facades, recording all at an 360 degree angle.

 

Today, many public spaces are surveilled. CCTV cameras have become an integrated part of the infrastructure for safety, and as such a tool for preventing, as well as solving, crime. The discussion about privacy and the risks of camera surveillance has been overshadowed by a general acceptance and even a positive attitude towards them. The risks of violating people’s integrity are in this case subordinated the benefits of security for most.

Still I wonder how people feel about being surveilled in their own neighborhood? And does gender affect the way people feel about surveillance? A report made by The Police show that women in so called vulnerable districts are likely to feel more unsafe than women from other areas (Nationella operativa avdelningen Underrättelseenheten. 2017.). Crime in Rosengård grow from social unrest, fertilized with destructive male norms. Maybe also the lack of women and queer agency due to a dominance of patriarchal norms in public space?

 

In The Internet of Things, Kelly Easterling (K. Easterling. 2012) writes about how we use digital devices at the extent that space itself has become irrelevant for many, in the sense that one depend a lot on the information coming from mobile phones rather than the space around us – yet the architecture itself and the non-human objects in public space does not collect information and do not have agency to interact and transmit information. Yet. Except for CCTV cameras which allow the Police to monitor public space and collect data.

 

Many don’t seem to care about lost integrity though. The people I met in Rosengård surprised me, by being all positive. Eight grown ups and a group of young boys all agreed on it being good. Less bad things happens now, a woman said and pointed at the cameras on a facade at the square at Bennet’s bazaars.

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