Reclaiming Visual Sovereignty: A Theoretical Critique of Facial Recognition Technology

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Tetrault, Justin




This thesis is a critique of facial recognition (FR) technology contributing to both surveillance studies and the anti-security literature - and pacification theory in particular. In this study I engage in a critical discourse analysis to deconstruct the historical relationship between identification and the human face. I argue that identification is a form of pacification because it translates and compresses the human condition into something which can be subject to police powers, and reduces personal and political expression to categories which can only be articulated through their
relationship to security and capital. Therefore, the face, and by extension FR software, can be seen as an extension of the pacification process, as faces provide an efficient and accessible way to translate the human body through the material gaze of security. I conclude, therefore, that challenges to FR technology are best rooted within a more material understanding of identification and surveillance.


Criminology and Penology
Sociology - Theory and Methods




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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