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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Louise Amoore

Amoore, L. (2007). Vigilant Visualities: The Watchful Politics of the War on Terror. Security Dialogue 38(2): 215-232.

Author(s) from Durham


This article engages with a form of visual culture that is, W. J. T. Mitchell (2002: 170) reminds us, `not limited to the study of images and media', but extends also `to everyday practices of seeing and showing'. In the spirit of this openness to multiple manifestations of the domain of the visual and visual practices, the article explores how a particular mode of vigilant or watchful visuality has come to be mobilized in the `homefront' of the so-called war on terror. In homeland security programmes from border and financial screening to Highway Watch, how has sight become represented as the sovereign sense on the basis of which security decisions can be taken? Taking its illustrative cue from Paul Haggis's film Crash, and from a body of work that conceives of touch as `integral to' seeing, the article asks how we might subvert watchful politics by seeing seeing differently.