Attaching Hollywood to a Surveillant Assemblage: Normalizing Discourses of Video Surveillance

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Attaching Hollywood to a Surveillant Assemblage: Normalizing Discourses of Video Surveillance


  • Randy K Lippert Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology, University of Windsor, Canada
  • Jolina Scalia Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology, University of Windsor, Canada


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Abstract:  This article examines video surveillance images in Hollywood film. It moves beyond previous accounts of video surveillance in relation to film by theoretically situating the use of these surveillance images in a broader “surveillant assemblage”. To this end, scenes from a sample of thirty-five (35) films of several genres are examined to discern dominant discourses and how they lend themselves to normalization of video surveillance. Four discourses are discovered and elaborated by providing examples from Hollywood films. While the films provide video surveillance with a positive associative association it is not without nuance and limitations. Thus, it is found that some forms of resistance to video surveillance are shown while its deterrent effect is not. It is ultimately argued that Hollywood film is becoming attached to a video surveillant assemblage discursively through these normalizing discourses as well as structurally to the extent actual video surveillance technology to produce the images is used.

Keywords:  assemblages; discourses; film; normalization; surveillance; video

Published:   20 October 2015


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v3i3.286


© Randy K Lippert, Jolina Scalia. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.