The Surveillance Power Continuum

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Asif ZALFACKRUDDIN, University of Guelph, Canada
In modern society, two concepts that have become interdependent are surveillance and power. In large part, this is due to rapid advancements in technology that have not only changed the way we think about surveillance and power, but have also changed how surveillance and power operate. However, academics continue to struggle with accepting a uniform definition of the concept of surveillance and understanding the impact of surveillance power. The problem academics face in regards to agreeing upon a uniform definition of surveillance is that surveillance has become a blanket concept that covers many acts and actions. Therefore, it is imperative to deconstruct the blanket concept of surveillance into three distinct categories: traditional surveillance, sousveillance, and dataveillance. The difficulty academics face in regards to understanding the impact of surveillance power is that surveillance power is no longer a phenomena fixed to physical space. Technology has changed the landscape of society, creating three distinct worlds where social interaction can take place: the physical, the digital, and the cyber worlds. As a result, understanding surveillance power means understanding the goals, visibility, actors, and boundaries associated with it as it is applied to each world. Drawing upon a Foucauldian and Castellian framework, this research aims to shed light on the interdisciplinary impact of surveillance power in a rapidly evolving technological society. Preliminary findings suggest that surveillance power exists in a fundamentally different form as it travels from the physical world, to the digital world, and finally to the cyberworld.