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This workshop aims to investigate the relationship between vision and action in border control, security policies and mobility management. Visualisation is central to many developments in current policies.

Event details of The Politics of Visualisation
Start date 28 May 2015
End date 29 May 2015
Cultural Transformations and Globalisation
© Jeroen de Kloet

Monitoring movements of people, imaging behaviour and producing visual representations as to arrive at 'situational awareness' has become part of the standard repertoire of many of today's surveillance agencies. By reflecting on different practices and policies the workshop aims to study the philosophical, sociological, anthropological and political questions that relate to 'visualisation.'

With contributions from (among others):

  • Louise Amoore (Department of Geography, Durham University)
  • Kelly Gates (University of California, San Diego)
  • Thomas Spijkerboer (VU University Amsterdam)
  • Amade M'charek (University of Amsterdam)
  • Marieke de Goede (University of Amsterdam)
  • Willem Schinkel (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
  • Susan Schuppli (Goldsmiths University of London)
  • Irma van der Ploeg (Merit and Zuyd University) 

The workshop discusses the dispersed ways political openings can be brought forward by deploying 'the visual' in various ways. In order to do so, the 'visual' will be understood in a broad sense, including both 'technical' means to represent situations as well as public initiatives to make political aspects 'visible.' As such, the workshop pays attention to several examples of counter-visualisation—for instance the publication of lists of casualties among migrants, the mapping and counter-mapping of human mobility, graphic representations and reconstructions of dramatic events, artistic interventions and the role of the visual in public debates. One of the theses brought forward will be that the political dimension of these initiatives may be said to consist of its capacity to emphasise the distributed nature of the state's agency, responsibility and accountability. As result, the workshop aims to arrive at a deeper understanding of today's border checks and border balances in particular and security and mobility policies in general by studying the interaction between the different strategies of visualisation various actors employ and the political meaning of this interplay. 

Please register by sending an e-mail and a short biographical note to Huub Dijstelbloem (E:

The workshop offers room to a limited amount of participants. Please register early.

This workshop is organised with the support of the Netherlands Graduate Research School of Science, Technology and Modern Culture (WTMC), Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies (ACGS), Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) and Amsterdam Centre for Contemporary European Studies (Access).