Surveillance is an important governance technique of modern societies and is linked to particular governmental rationalities. This article examines the Swedish policy on camera surveillance, using the analytical framework of governmentality, the art of government, in advanced liberal societies as its theoretical framework. The focus is on three features that characterise current developments in the Swedish policy. These are labelled situational prevention, generalisation of distrust and the significance of the informed citizen. The study shows how prevention, i.e. situational prevention, was successfully introduced as a main rationale for monitoring only after the technology had been in place for some years. Monitoring as a form of general situational prevention, the congruent generalised distrust that affects the public and the Swedish requirement to inform citizens about cameras are viewed as elements of a governmental rationality based on the notion of the autonomous, free and self-responsible subject. Accordingly, the popular idea that camera surveillance is an indicator of an expanding security state must be modified.
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