Contributions to security and surveillance studies from the theory of Brazilian geographer Milton Santos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


Being a well-known prominent thinker throughout Latin America and some European countries, Milton Santos is still little known in the English-speaking world. This ignorance is, somewhat, due to the fact that only very few of his books and articles have been translated into English. This paper, thus, aims at filling this gap at least in part, by presenting the application of some of his ideas and concepts to the Anglophone debate on security and surveillance. Milton Santos was not an expert per se in such matters. His works have a broader claim, as they are intended as methodological support to reflections about the territory. The contributions of his concepts and theories can be seen in various areas, including in topics as diverse as health, finance, rural issues, economics, education and urban planning. For Milton Santos, geography is a "philosophy of techniques" and its object of study should be geographical space, defined by him as an inseparable unity of objects and actions. This article intends to discuss these and other concepts created by Santos such as socio-spatial formation, used territory, form-content, psychosphere, technosphere, violence of globalization, globaritarism, technical-scientific and informational milieu, contemporary acceleration, enlargement of contexts, convergence of moments, geographical solidarity and counter-rationalities. More than mere neologisms, Milton Santos formulated concepts of greater consistency. This work reveals the explanatory power of his theories for the understanding of security and surveillance in the current information age.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnnual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers
Place of PublicationNew York City, US
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventUnknown -
Duration: 1 Jan 2012 → …


Period1/01/12 → …


  • security
  • surveillance
  • Milton Santos


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