Knowledgebase

Number of results: 2

Theorizing Surveillance: The Panopticon and Beyond

Document type: 
Book
Authors / Institution: 
David Lyon
Publisher / Publication: 
Routledge
Abstract: 

This book is about explaining surveillance processes and practices in contemporary society.

Surveillance studies is a relatively new multi-disciplinary enterprise that aims to understand who watches who, how the watched participate in and sometimes question their surveillance, why surveillance occurs, and with what effects. This book brings together some of the world's leading surveillance scholars to discuss the "why" question. The field has been dominated, since the groundbreaking work of Michel Foucault, by the idea of the panopticon and this book explores why this metaphor has been central to discussions of surveillance, what is fruitful in the panoptic approach, and what other possible approaches can throw better light on the phenomena in question.Since the advent of networked computer databases, and especially since 9/11, questions of surveillance have come increasingly to the forefront of democratic, political and policy debates in the global north (and to an extent in the global south). Civil liberties, democratic participation and privacy are some of the issues that are raised by these developments. But little progress can be made in responding to these issues without an adequate understanding of how, how well and whether or not surveillance works. This book explores the theoretical questions in a way that is grounded in and attuned to empirical realities.

After Snowden: Rethinking the Impact of Surveillance

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Publisher / Publication: 
International Political Sociology, 8 (2): 121-144
Abstract: 

Current revelations about the secret US-NSA program, PRISM, have confirmed the large-scale mass surveillance of the telecommunication and electronic messages of governments, companies, and citizens

, including the United States' closest allies in Europe and Latin America. The transnational ramifications of surveillance call for a re-evaluation of contemporary world politics' practices. The debate cannot be limited to the United States versus the rest of the world or to surveillance versus privacy; much more is at stake. This collective article briefly describes the specificities of cyber mass surveillance, including its mix of the practices of intelligence services and those of private companies providing services around the world. It then investigates the impact of these practices on national security, diplomacy, human rights, democracy, subjectivity, and obedience.

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