Fear and Fantasy in the Smart City

Brunilda Pali, Marc Schuilenburg

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Abstract

The “smart city” has emerged as the latest urban buzzword in discussions of the elementary functions of the modern city. Attracting corporate power, money and private tech companies (e.g., Cisco, Google, IBM, Tesla), the smart city has become a popular brand because it is presented primarily as an evidence-based, objective and value-neutral concept. In this article, we will question precisely this “non-ideology” ideology of the smart city and argue that the phenomenon of the smart city demands a critical criminological response, as much as a philosophical and sociological one. First, we argue that instruments which were classified traditionally as tools of surveillance and control are now rebranded as essential components of the smart city package in order to increase the cleanliness and order of the city. Second, we consider how the smart city oscillates within a social imaginary populated by feelings of fear and fantasy. We conclude by suggesting that the smart city not only reproduces the social order, but also produces new social categories out of new forms of smart governance of crime and disorder.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-788
JournalCritical Criminology
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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