Surveillance, Theories of

Surveillance studies are an interdisciplinary area of inquiry devoted to the investigation of surveillance in all its forms. Although embracing a variety of methods, approaches, and theoretical backgrounds, scholars in the field share an understanding of surveillance as something that is not limited to contemporary societies or necessarily negative but rather has an inherently ambiguous nature. Theoretically, surveillance studies are concerned with exploring and understanding the relation between freedom and control, as one cannot exist without the other. Empirically, their overall aim lies in the desire to come to an understanding of surveillance practices that has moved away from grand narratives of a Big Brother society in favor of an acknowledgment of their inherent complexity. To achieve this, the investigation of specific sites proves vital, ...

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