Surveillance and citizenship have developed hand in glove. To be a citizen is to be ‘seen’ by a state, and this visibility always presupposes access to its goods. But how is the historic category of citizenship being stretched and strained under the force of digitalization? How does it increase the state’s capacity for immoral, as well as moral monitoring, and how does it produce new corporate-state alliances with regards to surveillance? The Principal Investigator addresses these questions from the perspective of digital activists in Berlin. A global home for critiques of digital surveillance driven, in part, by the city’s history of surveillance practices, the PI undertakes to crystallize these critiques and examine their short and long-term cultural foundations. What wider lessons can we learn from Berlin’s outlying past and present when it comes to the question of surveillance?

About the Anthropologist

Dr Vita Peacock is SAMCOM’s Principal Investigator, and a Research Associate in the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London.

Vita received her Ph.D in Social Anthropology in 2014 from University College London. She has taught at University College London and Cambridge, and held visiting appointments at Columbia University, Cambridge, and LMU Munich. Her postdoctoral work has been supported by fellowships from the Economic and Social Sciences Research Council and the Humboldt Foundation, and in 2018 she received the Early Career Award from the European Association of Social Anthropologists. From 2014-2017 she carried out extensive fieldwork with supporters of the Anonymous movement in Britain, to be published as the monograph Digital Initiation Rites: The Arc of Anonymous in Britain. Her staff profile is available here.

During the 2021-22 academic year, Vita will be a guest researcher at the Media & Digital Anthropology Lab at the Institute for European Ethnology, Humboldt University, Berlin.


More Projects