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Tweets Speak: Indefinite Discipline in the Age of Twitter

Steven James May


This article explains how three North American police services have extended technologies of discipline via the monitoring and use of Twitter during and between mega-events such as the 2010 Toronto G20 Summit. Taking as case studies the 2009 Pittsburgh G20 Summit, Toronto's G20 Summit in 2010, and the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City, the Twitter-related arrests of activists at these mega-events reveal the ongoing work of maintaining indefinite discipline in North America. Furthermore, this articles shows that any citizen's decision to share, or not to share, information on Twitter (information otherwise often publicly available) at any time also falls within the scope of ongoing surveillance of Twitter, where users of the platform find themselves increasingly complicit in the work of their own discipline.


Foucault; Twitter; discipline; police; G20

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