Watched and watching
O'Connor reviews the book Liquid Surveillance, by Zygmunt Bauman and David Lyon.
In recent years Zygmunt Bauman has released several co-authored books that take the form of a conversation. In this latest offering he joins with David Lyon, Professor of Sociology from Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, to debate the social consequences of surveillance. Bauman's thesis about the liquid-modern world, of which insecurity and impermanence are eerie hallmarks, is contrasted in the book with the ubiquitous notion of always being watched. Though brief, the text engages with an impressive scope of content. Lyon competently sets the questions and pushes Bauman to offer more than he might if writing independently. Their discussion includes military drones, closed-circuit TV cameras, passport control, internet browsing and perhaps with most topical interest, social networking. In the light of revelations made by whistle blower Edward Snowden, this book provides enlightening reading, dealing less with the mechanisms and more squarely with the ethics and impacts of contemporary surveillance.
Copyright © 2013, Paul O'Connor
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O'Connor, P. (2014). Watched and watching. Cultural Studies, 28(2), 352-355. doi: 10.1080/09502386.2013.853094