Reforming bodies under surveillance

an urgent task for theological education

Abstract

In attending to the relationship between surveillance and human flourishing, this chapter contrib-utes to filling the gap in theological education around recognising that digitized, deconstructed bodies in cyberspace have material implications for people’s life chances.  It considers theological works on contemporary surveillance and places the issues in relation to van der Ploeg’s ‘informa-tionized body’ and Swinton’s proposal for the ‘resurrection of the person’. Patel’s problematizing of the browning of bodies under surveillance brings engagement with media mis-representation of marginalized groups. The chapter’s core argument is that digitized bodies need reforming as social persons and that subjects of surveillance deserve formation that is not driven by prevailing social prejudices. The core theological claim is that cruciform, rather than hierarchical, surveillance demands Christian solidarity with people who find themselves under diverse forms of unjust surveillance. The chapter concludes with a call to the Church to assess its own participation in cultures of surveillance.

Published
2019-02-17