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Windows Into the SoulSurveillance and Society in an Age of High Technology$
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Gary T. Marx

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226285887

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226286075.001.0001

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Social Processes in Surveillance

Social Processes in Surveillance

(p.115) 5 Social Processes in Surveillance
Windows Into the Soul

Gary T. Marx

University of Chicago Press

Rather than an emphasis on structures of surveillance as with kinds of organization or the roles played such as subject or agent, this chapter considers surveillance processes. The social processes of surveillance are visible only over time. In spite of their fluid and less than fully predictable nature, patterns across multiple occurrences and settings can be identified. The first section examines the trend toward the softening of surveillance. Here, the tools for surveillance are viewed as cultural and physical objects, and the unit for analysis is ideas. The theme of surveillance softening is used to illustrate an idea that drives the development and spread of many techniques. The second section treats the processes of changes in behavior in agent-subject surveillance interaction over the lifecycle of individuals, relationships and “careers” in organizations. The third section deals with the life history or career of the techniques themselves over time—in particular, their patterns of diffusion and contraction –surveillance creep and surveillance contraction. The fourth section chapter suggests a way to organize evolving steps in any given application of a surveillance tool. Seven stages of development (called surveillance strips) are identified –from tool and subject selection to data fate.

Keywords:   surveillance strips, surveillance occasion, surveillance creep, surveillance contraction, tool selection, subject selection, data fate

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