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From 9/11 to the Snowden leaks, stories about surveillance increasingly dominate the headlines. But security and police agencies or internet and phone companies are not the only players. Surveillance is not only ‘done to us’ – it is something we do in everyday life. We submit to surveillance, believing that ‘we have nothing to hide.’ Or we try to protect our privacy or negotiate the terms under which others have access to our data. At the same time, we participate in surveillance in order to supervise children, monitor other road users, and safeguard our property. Social media allows us to keep tabs on others, including complete strangers, as well as on ourselves. This is the culture of surveillance. Watching has become a way of life.
This important new book explores the imaginaries and practices of everyday surveillance, at work, at play, in school, at home, in both ‘public’ and ‘private’ domains. Its main focus is not high-tech, organized surveillance operations but our varied, often emotional, mundane experiences of surveillance that range from the casual and careless to the focused and intentional.
Surveillance culture, David Lyon argues, is not detached from the surveillance state, society and economy. It is informed by them. He reveals how the culture of surveillance may help to domesticate and naturalize surveillance of unwelcome kinds, weighing which kinds of surveillance might be fostered for the common good and human flourishing.
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