University of Oulu

Hidefumi Nishiyama (2020) Racializing surveillance through language: the role of selective translation in the promotion of public vigilance against migrants, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 43:10, 1757-1775, DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2019.1654115

Racializing surveillance through language : the role of selective translation in the promotion of public vigilance against migrants

Saved in:
Author: Nishiyama, Hidefumi1
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Informa, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-03-03


This article explores the racialized ways in which the language of surveillance is selectively translated and how it reproduces the racialization of suspects and the criminalization of migrants. Following recent writings on racialized surveillance, and the racialized politics of security more broadly, the article argues that the selective use of a particular language in the promotion of surveillance reproduces an urban and “ethnic” border. It continues to divide different groups in society in a nationalistic manner. It draws from two cases, both of which are located in non-English-speaking countries, namely Japan and Finland, where English is incorporated into the language of surveillance but not fully encompassing it. Despite geographical differences, the article suggests that the two cases show how the growing culture of vigilance today is entangled with the racialized politics of translation.

see all

Series: Ethnic and racial studies
ISSN: 0141-9870
ISSN-E: 1466-4356
ISSN-L: 0141-9870
Volume: 43
Issue: 10
Pages: 1757 - 1775
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2019.1654115
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Funding: This work was supported by the Academy of Finland’s RELATE Centre of Excellence [grant number: 307348].
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 307348
Detailed Information: 307348 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2019 The Author(s). Published by InformaUK Limited, trading as Taylor & FrancisGroup. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Ethnic and racial studies on 03 Sep 2019, available online: