Surveillance of immigrants from Turkey in Germany: From the disciplinary society to the society of control

Topal Ç.

INTERNATIONAL SOCIOLOGY, vol.26, no.6, pp.789-814, 2011 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0268580910394005
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.789-814
  • Keywords: control, discipline, immigrants, life-production, surveillance, WORK
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The surveillance of immigrants from Turkey in Germany functions on two seemingly contradictory levels: on the one hand, it de facto recognizes their inclusion in German society; on the other hand, it serves as an instrument to exclude them as '(un)suitable' foreign subjects within that society. Since 1961, this surveillance has slowly but surely changed its character. The aim of this article is to examine these changes through the lens of the different characteristics of so-called disciplinary and control societies. The article reconsiders the theoretical definitions of discipline and control in light of the German context to develop these as more precise historical categories. The fundamental point is that contact between German society and the social fact of migration and an immigrant population decisively inflected German disciplinary and control societies from the very beginning. This study argues that there has been a gradual shift on the part of the German state from a more limited focus to broader considerations of the issue of migration. This shift reveals more inclusionary measures; yet, dialectically, at the very same time it defines and captures an expanding space of exclusion.