State surveillance

by Stéphanie Perazzone

4 handmade map kinshasa

State surveillance © Stéphanie Perazzone

This hand-drawn map hangs in the local police substation of Quartier Djalo, Kinshasa. Despite having no access to computers, printers, surveillance devices, radios or the Internet, administrative and law-enforcement staff engage in detailed, routine practices to ensure social control and gather information on their constituents. The eyes and ears of the state, police and local chiefs patrol their territory and document the activities of local residents. Maps help them exert their authority as state agents and track social and physical changes within their boundaries. They thus re-legitimise and re-institutionalise the state from the ground up.