1st Edition

Surveillance, Capital and Resistance Theorizing the Surveillance Subject

By Michael McCahill, Rachel Finn Copyright 2014
    212 Pages
    by Routledge

    212 Pages
    by Routledge

    Surveillance, Capital and Resistance is a major contribution to current debates on the subjective experience of surveillance. Based on a large research project undertaken in a Northern City in the UK and focusing mainly on the use of surveillance in the context of policing and security, the book explores how a diverse range of social groups (‘school children’, ‘political protesters’, ‘offenders’, ‘unemployed people’, ‘migrants’, and ‘police officers’) experience and respond to being monitored by ‘new surveillance’ technologies such as CCTV surveillance cameras and computers.

    The book interweaves surveillance theory with the work of Pierre Bourdieu to argue that the distribution of various forms of ‘capital’ – economic, social, cultural and symbolic – in any given ‘field’ operate as a range of goods or resources that structure the dynamics of surveillance practices and power relations, including the ability to contest surveillance. The term surveillance capital is introduced to refer to the tacit knowledge and everyday forms of cultural know-how that allow surveillance subjects to contest surveillance in a variety of local and specific settings.

    The book is essential reading for anyone that might be interested in how people experience and respond to the new surveillance measures currently used in the crime control field. It will be key reading for students and academics interested in surveillance studies, childhood studies, media studies, criminal justice and migration studies.

    Chapter 1. Introduction  Part I: The desolidarizing impact of surveillance  Chapter 2. Surveillance in the journalistic field: Denigration ‘from above’  Chapter 3. Surveillance in the community: Denigration ‘from below’  Part II: Surveillance in the crime control field  Chapter 4. Tracking, tagging and testing: The surveillance of ‘prolific’ offenders  Chapter 5 FIT squads, files and phone taps: The surveillance of protesters  Chapter 6. Cops on camera: Managing the ‘digital self’  Part III: Governing through crime: Schools, malls and borders  Chapter 7. Surveillance in Three Schools: ‘Angels’, ‘Devils’ and ‘Teen Mums’  Chapter 8. Surveillance and consumerism: The Ban-opticon mall  Chapter 9. Surveillance at borders: Migration, capital and surveillant sorting  Part IV Theorizing the surveillance subject  Chapter 10. Conclusion.


    Michael McCahill was born in Glasgow and joined the School of Social Sciences at the University of Hull in September 2001, having completed his BA Sociology (First Class Honours), MA Criminology and PhD at Hull. Dr McCahill's main research interests focus on the social impact of ‘new surveillance’ technologies and the mutually reinforcing relationship between crime, surveillance and media. His books include The Surveillance Web (Willan) (winner of the British Society of Criminology book prize 2003) and Surveillance and Crime (Sage) with Roy Coleman.

    Rachel L. Finn has lived in various cities in the USA, briefly in Ireland and in Manchester, UK for the last 10 years and received her BA in Sociology and Psychology from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA. Dr Finn started an MA/PhD programme at Northeastern University in Boston, USA and transferred to the University of Manchester where she finished her PhD. After her PhD Dr Finn worked as a Research Associate at the University of Manchester and the University of Hull. Since 2010, she has been working for Trilateral Research & Consulting, a London-based research firm specializing in providing policy and regulatory advice about security, surveillance, privacy and the ethical impacts of new technologies.

    'Surveillance, Capital and Resistance is a fascinating empirical study of the lives of different surveilled subjects. In a rich analysis, it explores their experiences with enormous sensitivity and depth to produce new insights into surveillance as it intersects with class, ethnicity and gender.' - Kirstie Ball, Reader in Surveillance and Organization, The Open University, UK 

    'Surveillance, Capital and Resistance is a tour de force which considerably extends our understanding of the everyday experience of living in the surveillance society. Drawing on extensive fieldwork, with school children, migrant workers, police officers and prolific offenders amongst others, Mike McCahill and Rachel Finn have provided us with a fascinating and empirically rich account of surveillance from below. Whilst being methodologically accomplished and theoretically sophisticated, this is a highly readable book full of intelligence and insight. This is sociology at its best and will stand as one of the key texts in the study of surveillance for a long time to come.' - Professor Clive Norris, Department of Sociological Studies, The University of Sheffield, UK