Cindi Katz



The State Goes Home: Local Hypervigilance of Children and the Global Retreat from Social Reproduction

Cindi Katz argues that neoliberalism and repressive social control appears to be a package deal, in which the poisonous rhetoric of criminalization and punishment legitimizes states that have reneged on their commitment to the social wage. The neoliberal state thus has an investment in fueling fear of crime — persuading the public of imminent danger by overstating the threat, inflating or distorting crime statistics, and creating the false impression that all citizens are equally at risk of victimization. The article discusses the reproduction of neoliberal law-and-order in privileged households via the home surveillance industry. Surveying the boom in privatized forms of “child protection” — e.g., nanny cams, tiny sensory devices placed under a child’s skin — Katz observes that in the “household state,” parents become spies involved in surveillance and censorship with little regard for inhabitants’ rights to privacy, self-determination, or the presumption of innocence.

intelligence/surveillance, children — social reproduction; capitalism — global capitalism; childcare; child protection; technology — surveillance

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 28, No. 3 (2001): 47-56