The benevolent watch: Therapeutic surveillance in drug treatment court
Theoretical Criminology , Volume 15 - Issue 3 p. 255- 268
This article offers an alternative to the traditional, technocentric and control oriented focus of surveillance studies. Drawing on field work in drug treatment courts (DTCs), I theorize the notion of ‘therapeutic surveillance’ as a seemingly benevolent form of monitoring which also troubles the ‘care/control’ dichotomy familiar to surveillance studies and social theory more generally. I look specifically at the roles of judges, treatment workers and DTC participants in constituting a surveillant assemblage which relies on personal relationships, intimate knowledge and pastoral care. I suggest that surveillance studies can move beyond the panopticon by recognizing the varied ways in which surveillance takes place. These strategies can include benevolent acts and intentions alongside (and sometimes coterminous with) coercive manoeuvres.