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Everyday Surveillance: Vigilance and Visibility in Postmodern Life
     

Everyday Surveillance: Vigilance and Visibility in Postmodern Life

by William G. Staples
 

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This book highlights "mundane" practices that increasingly influence our schools, homes and communities; cameras, "pagers", electronic monitoring instruments, the digital "paper trail" of "cashless" transactions, random drug testing, and "integrity tests". The author journeys back and forth between the justice system and the everyday life of the postmodern to

Overview

This book highlights "mundane" practices that increasingly influence our schools, homes and communities; cameras, "pagers", electronic monitoring instruments, the digital "paper trail" of "cashless" transactions, random drug testing, and "integrity tests". The author journeys back and forth between the justice system and the everyday life of the postmodern to illustrate how the lines between these two spheres of social life are increasingly blurred by the use of new surveillance technologies. Taken together, these surveillance rituals constitute the building blocks of a rapidly emerging society of discipline, one increasingly stripped of personal privacy, individual trust, and a viable public life that supports and maintains democratic values and practices.

Author Biography: Bill Staples is Professor of Sociology at the University of Kansas.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
★ 08/01/2015
Staples offers examples from such standard operations as automatic updating, social media use, location tracking, ubiquitous use of debit cards over cash, and driver's licenses and license plates and then suggests these are all modes of social control.
Social Forces
This book is very well written....It offers a fascinating chronicle of the rage to invent new forms of surveillance, as well as pithy conceptualizations that organize the empirical materials nicely. As such, it clearly meets Staples's stated goal of providing an accesible undergraduate textbook.
Contemporary Sociology
Lively and engaging. Instructors looking for a sociological treatment of an interesting contemporary issue will find that this book would provoke discussion and debate among studnets in undergraduate or graduate courses.
British Journal Of Criminology
The suggestion made by Everyday Surveillance that a 'quiet revolution' is occurring in which we are all targets is a thought provoking one. It reminds us that we all are responsible for encouraging surveillance by being seduced by its promises, fearing the consequences without it and heralding it as society's salvation. The book flags up some new directions in which the study of visual, informational and communication technologies might profitably head.(praise for previous editions)
Torin Monahan
This insightful and wonderfully accessible book shows howsurveillance has radically transformed just about every aspect of social life. Whetherathome, school, work, or in online worlds, surveillance defines and mediatesour experiences. This completely revised edition ofEverydaySurveillanceis the perfect guide for making sense ofthese changes and their consequences.
Simon Chesterman
George Orwell was wrong. The modern problem of surveillance isn’t Big Brother but the thousands upon thousands of “Tiny Brothers” that record and track our daily existence. William Staples offers a compelling account of the rise of private surveillance — complementing but also complicating the watchful eye of the State — and the equanimity with which this has been greeted by the public.
Kevin D. Haggerty
William Staples blends sophisticated social theorizing with a keen eye for the minute ways that surveillance touches our day-to-day lives. In the process he brings to light the often otherwise invisible powers of contemporary monitoring practices.
Gary T. Marx
William Staples offers an engaging, succinct, contemporary introduction to the micro-management of ever more areas of daily life through surveillance technology. While attuned to the depths of change, he does not lose sight of what remains unchanged. Ideal for a range of beginning social science courses!
Simone Browne
Through incisive analysis, Everyday Surveillance charts the various ways that surveillance shapes the postmodern moment: from the routinized gathering of data by “smart” technologies when we shop, work, travel, or protest, to new categories of punishment that blur the line between incarceration and freedom – where those under house arrest are subject to “participatory monitoring” with the expectation that they come to supervise themselves. Through interviews and observations, Staples offers a “sociology of the postmodern” that is a wide-ranging, historically grounded, and theoretically informed engagement with the techniques of surveillance and social control.
David Murakami Wood
The first edition of William Staples' Everyday Surveillance was an instant classic which played a significant part in establishing the field of Surveillance Studies. So it is a delight to see the publication of this almost entirely updated second edition, which not only deals with the transformations that have taken place since 9/11 but also with the increasing ubiquity of surveillance in everyday life through social practices, culture and technology. This is absolutely essential reading for anyone who wonders exactly how it is that surveillance came to be everywhere in our lives.
David Lyon
The beauty of this book? It's true to its title. Surveillance is demystified. It's not an occasional or remote occurrence but an intrinsic aspect of all our everyday lives. We are challenged to understand and come to terms with a culture of surveillance in which "Big Brother is us." Staples guides us between the multi-faceted vigilance of digital systems and the enhanced visibility of our mundane life-paths, noting subtle shifts from modern to postmodern practices. This book deftly draws attention to the key questions that we discount to our detriment.
British Journal of Criminology
The suggestion made by Everyday Surveillance that a 'quiet revolution' is occurring in which we are all targets is a thought provoking one. It reminds us that we all are responsible for encouraging surveillance by being seduced by its promises, fearing the consequences without it and heralding it as society's salvation. The book flags up some new directions in which the study of visual, informational and communication technologies might profitably head.(praise for previous editions)
Security Management
William G. Staples has authored an impressive, well-written, and exhaustive historical analysis of what he terms society’s ever-increasing ‘culture of surveillance’ and ‘postmodern surveillance practices.’ While extremely readable and eye opening, Everyday Surveillance . . . is a wide-ranging historical overview of the progression of surveillance and control tactics beginning in the 1700s and continuing all the way to the controversial surveillance tactics employed by government agencies today. . . .Ultimately, this book clearly and effectively challenges the reader to consider how technology has benefited or damaged society. Staples does not pass judgment or offer personal opinion on the techniques described throughout the book; however, he challenges the reader in the hope of creating public discourse regarding concepts of justice, transparency, societal control, and voyeurism. . . .This book should be viewed as an advanced sociological, historical, analytical, and at times philosophical discourse on a topic relevant to all security practitioners and society as a whole.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780742541092
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
10/18/2013
Edition description:
Second Edition
Pages:
251
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

William G. Staples is professor of sociology and founding director of the Surveillance Studies Research Center at the University of Kansas. He is author or editor of several books, including the Encyclopedia of Privacy and Castles of Our Consciousness, both CHOICE Outstanding Academic Titles, and Power, Profits, and Patriarchy, winner of an American Sociological Association Section Book Award.

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