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Investigating the dynamics of surveillance and resistance in the information society

Chivers, William 2016. Investigating the dynamics of surveillance and resistance in the information society. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis investigates the relationships between surveillance, acts of resistance to surveillance and their respective roles in the contemporary social order. The context for this investigation is the contemporary ‘information society’. This is characterised by globally networked information and communication technologies, and is represented most plainly by one medium in particular: the Internet. The Internet has historically been a contested domain; it represents, for some, the cornerstone of civil liberties yet at the same time it is highly regulated and susceptible to control. The significant social, cultural, economic and political impacts of the Internet include the proliferation of techniques of digital surveillance. However, while the Internet has facilitated the growth of these practices, it has also created new opportunities for resistance to surveillance. By attending to the social dynamics and mechanics of resistance, we can generate more nuanced and subtle understandings of the ways in which social control is being performed. A framework of nodal governance steers this research. Consequently, this study locates these dynamics within three specific sites: online civil society, the regulatory process and the media. These cases demonstrate how a range of social actors, across a variety of settings, are implicated in the dynamics of digital surveillance and resistance. An innovative, multi-strategy approach to the fieldwork, including computational social science methods, captures these emergent dynamics as they are played out. The analysis of the data is guided by a theoretical preoccupation with control that serves to illustrate its plural and fluid character. Central to this are social and technological networks as forms of organisation and communication that facilitate surveillance and resistance. The thesis concludes that contemporary social control is an inherently socio-technical process, shaped primarily by dynamics of digital surveillance and resistance.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 29 September 2016
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2021 11:47

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