University of Oulu

Nishiyama, H. (2018). Crowd surveillance: The (in)securitization of the urban body. Security Dialogue, 49(3), 200–216.

Crowd surveillance : the (in)securitization of the urban body

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Author: Nishiyama, Hidefumi1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: SAGE Publications, 2018
Publish Date: 2019-08-08


The recent proliferation of the securitization of crowded places has led to a growth in the development of technologies of crowd behaviour analysis. However, despite the emerging prominence of crowd surveillance in emergency planning, its impacts on our understanding of security and surveillance have received little discussion. Using the case of crowd surveillance in Tokyo, this article examines the ways in which crowds are simulated, monitored and secured through the technology of crowd behaviour analysis, and discusses the implications on the politics of security. It argues that crowd surveillance constitutes a unique form of the biopolitics of security that targets not the individual body or the social body of population, but the urban body of crowd. The power of normalization in crowd surveillance operates in a preemptive manner through the codification of crowd behaviour that is spatially and temporarily specific. The article also interrogates the introduction of crowd surveillance in relation to racialized logics of suspicion and argues that, despite its appearance as non-discriminatory and ‘a-racial’, crowd surveillance entails the racial coding of crowd behaviour and urban space. The article concludes with the introduction of crowd surveillance as a border control technology, which reorients existing modalities of (in)securitization at airports.

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Series: Security dialogue
ISSN: 0967-0106
ISSN-E: 1460-3640
ISSN-L: 0967-0106
Volume: 49
Issue: 3
Pages: 200 - 216
DOI: 10.1177/0967010617741436
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
5142 Social policy
Copyright information: © 2018, SAGE Publications. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Nishiyama, H. (2018). Crowd surveillance: The (in)securitization of the urban body. Security Dialogue, 49(3), 200–216, which has been published in final form at