• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Do modern surveillance systems represent new systems of power?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Do modern surveillance systems represent new systems of power? It has been suggested by various writers that modern surveillance systems do indeed represent a new system of power. In this essay, the previous systems of power that were in place will be discussed, and how surveillance systems have developed so that they can be seen as a new system of power. The way in which surveillance has been utilized over time is important to understand; this will also be examined. Firstly, a clear definition of what is meant, loosely, surveillance means (Abercrombie et al 2000) 'keeping watch over,' 'guarding' or supervising,' however, in sociology, surveillance has a more conceptual meaning and refers to the relationship between information and power. Surveillance systems are more often than not, used for the purpose of corporate companies, the state or an individual, the object that is generally been surveyed is an individual or organisation. Often, it is the nation state that conducts the surveillance, such as keeping information on the citizens of the nation state. It has previously been suggested (Lyon 1994) that there is a distinct relationship between information and power. As the use of surveillance increases, the amount of information available increases, thus the amount of information available to individual/groups/nations, which then increases the amount of power that is obtainable. ...read more.

Middle

discusses the importance of Gemeinschaft, which loosely translated means community. In pre-modernity societies, community and kinship were important to maintain social order. The use of surveillance systems have been increasing since the 19th Century when police first began patrolling 'the beat' (McLaughlin & Munice 2000) in order to reduce crime and in hope of becoming more accessible to the public. Moreover, by making a police presence felt, it could be suggested that this is one of the earliest forms of using surveillance as a system of power. The police are still used as a form of surveillance in the present day; however, this is an accepted form of surveillance and people do not largely see this as a system of power that infringes upon civil liberties and is there legitimatised, whereas, the afore mentioned monitoring of consumption patterns could be seen as hyper-surveillance (Boggard 1996). However, some sociologists (Rose 1989) argue that there has to be coercion within society for these types of surveillance to have effect. Rose (1989) discusses the way in which systems of social control, such as administration and record keeping, are only maintained by the co-operation of the population, Rose called these processes 'governing the soul'. Durkheim also argued that social order could only be maintained through a 'conscience collective.' ...read more.

Conclusion

It is now possible to put electronic tags on a person, therefore knowing where that person is at all times. Modern surveillance systems have been shown to be a relatively new system of power, albeit, previous systems of power did also include surveillance without the technical advancements that have been achieved, some writers (Orwell: 1949) had suggested that a totalitarian approach had been achieved. Modern surveillance system have shown to not always be as effective as we might think, even with the vast amount of technology that is available, surveillance systems have failed. There are still large amounts of benefit fraud and tax evasion remains undetected by the nation state. This shows that although surveillance systems have brought about changes in the way that power is obtained, it not always effective. As discussed previously, power can only be obtained through the agreement of the population, not just through surveillance. It is not possible to avoid surveillance, therefore, as the amount of information about you becomes available, Lyon (1994) would say, this leads to the more power that can be exerted over you. To conclude, it would be easy to consider that modern surveillance systems do indeed represent new systems of power, although, it has been shown that some of these surveillance systems have been know to fail. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Information Systems and Communication section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Information Systems and Communication essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Database Coursework on a Vehicle Rental System: Analysis

    5 star(s)

    Date to be returned is obtained via the calculation outlined in system requirement 13. Processes: - A query will be performed in which all of the current rental records are displayed 17. List of overdue Rentals displayed onscreen/printed Inputs: - Rental ID, Customer ID, Vehicle ID, Model, Daily Rental Price,

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Ecommerce Case Study

    This may just be a local newspaper or could be a national or even international. This will help cuckoo games get recognised and can help with the reputation of the company. Using the local media to do a page on your business will help to build reputation and encourage customers to check out your website.

  1. Peer reviewed

    Computer Crime

    5 star(s)

    * Animal Management * Supply Chain Management * Asset Management (retail assets, Libraries, etc) * Hospital Operating Room - keep track of surgery tools * Contactless Payment * And more Because the RFID tagging system is becoming so popular and widely used, concerns and controversy are beginning to rise as to how much privacy the holder has.

  2. The Impact of Mobile Phones on social Interaction

    However, input from the focus group showed that although this may have initially been the case when SMS first became common, nevertheless as the service and its popularity grew, the language became much more unified and such symbols that were originally used to differentiate communities are now commonly recognised and

  1. Computers in Hospitals. Computers can be used in Hospitals for two main purposes ...

    This removes the element of bias, and can arrange appointments quickly. Decreasing human involvement, this can lead to errors happening such as input errors. Notes can now be delivered to the correct clinic. This is because you can place your note into a certain variable and the computer will check where it needs to be sent to.

  2. Information: G061 - Systems and Communication

    For example, pages on the World Wide Web and CD-RW. Static (e.g. CD-ROM) Dynamic (e.g. Websites) There is a limited amount of information available. The WWW provides a large volume of information. Does not require Internet access. Only people with Internet access can access the information.

  1. Health Book

    It is from this an individual's privacy can be broken and personal information leaked. Over the years more and more people have become concerned with their personal information's privacy and from this concern the Privacy Act of 1988 was born.

  2. Information Systems

    If the information being collected is irrelevant then it would have been a waste of Amazons time collecting it. TASK 2 Sources of Information needed by Amazon SOURCE INFORMATION NEEDED BY AMAZON Financial Some of the information held by the financial department includes: - How much is being spent by Amazon - E.g.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work