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Publisher Description

Over the past decade, surveillance has become a regular feature of life in North America. In the wake of 9/11, governments in Canada and the United States passed laws such as the Patriot Act and the Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act, giving both states broad and unprecedented authority to monitor citizens. North Americans are at once critical of surveillance practices and accustomed to the fact that digital background checks, closed circuit television, and drug testing have become standard obstacles to moving between countries, purchasing goods, and even taking out library books. At the same time, the rise of elaborate social networking infrastructures has made informal instances of surveillance both routine and seemingly innocuous. Facebook users habitually censor themselves in case their friends photograph and post their embarrassing moments, and employers uncover information on prospective employees through simple internet searches. This heightened tension surrounding surveillance has emerged in several ways in contemporary popular culture; television shows such as The Wire, Big Brother, and CSI dramatize the surveillance society's potential ethical and philosophical concerns and tap into the often exhilarating appeal of voyeurism. Michael Winter's This All Happened (2000) engages these anxieties and addresses the question of how innovative forms of surveillance and technology create and manage the body and personal identity. The narrator of This All Happened, Gabe English, both embraces and rejects surveillance: he watches over St John's with binoculars and writes about the city's goings-on in his diary but also expresses discomfort with the state or his neighbours monitoring him.

Professional & Technical
December 1
Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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