The Infrastructures of Security

Technologies of Risk Management in Johannesburg

Subjects: African Studies
Paperback : 9780472055470, 478 pages, 18 illustrations, 3 tables, 6 x 9, August 2022
Hardcover : 9780472075478, 478 pages, 18 illustrations, 3 tables, 6 x 9, August 2022
Ebook : 9780472220403, 478 pages, 18 illustrations, 3 tables, 6 x 9, August 2022
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The shift from dependence upon human decision-making in security services to Artificial Intelligence

Table of contents

Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Chapter One
Policing the Post-Liberal City: Paradoxes and Contradictions
Chapter Two
Johannesburg in the Geographic Imagination: Agoraphobia and other Obsessions
Chapter Three
Vulnerable Bodies: Self-Protection in a Risky World
Chapter Four
The Surveillant Assemblage:
The Hyper-panoptic Imagination 
Chapter Five
The CCTV ‘Revolution’
[With Nicky Falkof]
Chapter Six
Colliding Worlds in Micrososm
Chapter Seven
Security by Design: Spatial Management in the Hypermodern City
Epilogue Introduction
Epilogue 1
Jane Alexander Security Exhibition
Epilogue 2
Mosquito Lightning
[Carla Busuttil and Gary Charles]


Much of the South African government’s response to crime—especially in Johannesburg—has been to rely increasingly on technology. This includes the widespread use of video cameras, Artificial Intelligence, machine-learning, and automated systems, effectively replacing human watchers with machine watchers. The aggregate effect of such steps is to determine who is, and isn’t, allowed to be in public spaces—essentially another way to continue segregation.

In The Infrastructures of Security, author Martin J. Murray concentrates on not only the turn toward technological solutions to managing the risk of crime through digital (and software-based) surveillance and automated information systems, but also the introduction of somewhat bizarre and fly-by-night experimental “answers” to perceived risk and danger. Digitalized surveillance is significant for two reasons: first, it enables monitoring to take place across wide "geographical distances with little time delay"; and second, it allows for the active sorting, identification, and "tracking of bodies, behaviors, and characteristics of subject populations on a continuous, real-time basis." These new software-based surveillance technologies represent monitoring, tracking, and information gathering without walls, towers, or guards.

Martin J. Murray is Professor of Urban Planning, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan.

The Infrastructures of Security makes an important scholarly contribution, and it will influence public debates on critical processes shaping contemporary Johannesburg.”
—Noor Nieftagodien, University of the Witwatersrand

- Noor Nieftagodien

“This book provides a wealth of data on technology driven security in South Africa, as well as vivid and detailed accounts of the workings of security and its connection to societal fears. The topic is of the utmost relevance for understanding contemporary societal configurations and the role/position of the various actors in creating them.”
—Federica Duca, University of the Witwatersrand

- Federica Duca

"Similar to the flying insect, security devices can be small in size and largely ignored, yet they can easily trump an individual’s rights and discriminatorily target only the unwanted ‘have-nots’. This is why critical analyses of security systems are crucial and compelling, making Murray’s book an important contribution to scholarship."
Theoretical Criminology

- Anna Di Ronco