BARS Exchange

BARS Exchange

Aggregated blogs on Romantic Studies – please click through to read full posts.

Keats in Three Crowds …


Surveillance pole with anti-climb spikes goes up in Aberystwyth

It’s almost a year since Edward Snowden’s leaks about NSA and GCHQ spying made world headlines, and showed us that even the most tinfoil-hatted conspiracy theorists hadn’t gone far enough in imagining the true extent of electronic surveillance. In the Romantic period, letter-opening, spies slouching on street corners under greasy beaver hats, and the government’s network of informers were significant obstacles to political organization and open discourse. It seemed that anything, however apparently innocent, could be politicized. Today, our emails are scanned and stored for retroactive mining on networked algorithmic databases, our movement through public space is tracked and analysed using CCTV and face recognition software, our car journeys are logged and stored for two years with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, and data from our mobiles – tracking devices that can make phone calls – is routinely harvested. As Bentham predicted in the 1790s and Foucault theorized in the 1970s, such inspective force has the effect of encouraging us to modify and flatten our behaviour.

It’s true that many of us seem to have shrugged and simply accepted that post-privacy is an inevitable stage in social evolution and …read more