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Exploring Surveillance Through Sociological Theories

Social theories help to understand different factors related to social life and the impact of these factors on people. Surveillance is the main topical problem of the societies of the Western region. Technologies related to surveillance are being improved for improving the social life of any person. In this study, The two types of sociological theories will be used for describing the term surveillance. So, it can be stated that "infrastructure theory of surveillance" and "postmodernism theory of surveillance" will be elaborated in the following section of this assignment. Surveillance refers to monitoring the activities behaviour or properly managing information by following an appropriate method which is helpful to direct or influence. People are being habituated to monitor others and watch their activities. The use of technologies for monitoring other people is increasing day by day. For example, CCTV cameras, cable wires monitor screens, power adapters and hard drives are used by other persons to navigate the detailed activities of others. It is negatively affecting the personal liberty and privacy of people in modern society. Moreover, in this essay, all the description of surveillance will be elaborated by taking the help of two sociological theories. The positive and negative effect of surveillance will be elaborated in this assignment in detail. The ethics related to it will be elaborated properly in the following section of the assignment.


Surveillance is essential to guarantee and ensure the safety e of people's lives. Any kind of criminal activities can be reduced by monitoring others which helps to protect society from criminal offences. In addition to that, terrorism activities can be stopped by watching the activity of other people (Rass et al. 2017). Moreover, sometimes it can create a negative impact on the people who are watched daily by others. It can create anxiety, emotional trauma and depression to them, which is unhealthy for a there any negative faults of surveillance, but for the safety concerns of the environment, it is essential to do the monitoring. Surveillance can be done by passively or actively (Turner, 2018). These are the two basic kinds of surveillance. There is a difference between surveillance and it is essential to maintain all the ethics related to surveillance for maintaining the privacy of the society members. There are many technologies that can be used for surveillance, like facial recognition cameras, and so on. These technologies help to monitor the activities of people in private or public spaces, and it also helps to properly identify any person.

According to "infrastructure theory of surveillance" nowadays every person is under surveillance, and the society is monitoring the behaviour of the public for reducing criminal activities. There are many areas where CCTV is used for monitoring the performance of others such as government institutions, border patrol, hospitals and schools. Bentham established a tower for controlling the activity of the prisoners, and from that tower, Bentham properly watched every single detail about the activity of them. However, he was criticised by others because people thought that the tower was built for defending the strength of the ruling class. People believe that the tower was not built for preventing any kind of criminal activities, and it was built to provide strength to the ruling class. Moreover, the activity of Bentham was really controversial to others, and it is used as a metaphor for the term surveillance (Mease, 2017). According to this theory the society e is being controlled by big brother's fear. Moreover, it can be stated that monitoring and recording of public behaviour have always been a controversial topic to others, and it is the big question of whether it is right or not. People think that privacy and civil liberties need to be protected and must not be harmed by any of the concerned higher authorities.

According to, "postmodernism theory of surveillance" it can be stated that social behaviour of a person actually impacts on society. Postmodernists think that realities change appearance, and the impact of it on social life is high. According to this theory, the author stated that surveillance is gradually penetrating into the lives of people. For example, phones, internet protocols and computer CCTV cameras are controlling the activities of people's lives. In recent reports, it has been analysed that COVID-19 virus is affecting the lives of normal people. So many organisations have prepared some applications which can track details of persons for getting information about the infected person of COVID-19. Monitoring is essential to indicate the detailed information about this pandemic disease which is actually serious for the life of many people of the society (Kozak, 2017). Perform this the lives and the homes of people are being watched by others by using different kinds of electrical equipment cable wires and so on. Swadesh technological equipment helps to gather information about different people, and it is the technical method which is used for maintaining the health regulations of the society. This theory is modern, and it helps to understand the importance of surveillance for maintaining the normal condition of society. So it can be stated that in some contexts, social control is essential for maintaining the regular life of people. It can affect the day to day lifestyle of people, but it is essential to secure the life of many people (Xu et al. 2017). The increasing surveillance is helpful to catch more crimes, but the ethics related to it needs to be maintained by the user (Helles and Flyverbom, 2019). The user needs to understand that there should not be any kind of harassment to the people whose activity is watched by others.

From the above discussion, it has been analysed that surveillance is essential to stop any kind of criminal activities as well as it can help to maintain the regular life of the people living in the society. All the description of these theories has been elaborated in the upper section, which helps to understand the concerned topic in depth. The use of technology in this field has been elaborated properly, which helps to identify the technological equipment related to the service. Moreover, it can be stated that surveillance needs to be done by maintaining all the ethics of it.

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Reference List

Helles, R. and Flyverbom, M., 2019. Meshes of surveillance, prediction, and infrastructure: on the cultural and commercial consequences of digital platforms. Surveillance & Society, 17(1/2), pp.34-39.

Kozak, T., 2017. Supply, Secrecy, and Surveillance: Experiences of Women who use Cannabis for Pleasure (Doctoral dissertation).

Mease, J.J., 2017. Postmodern/poststructural approaches. The international encyclopedia of organizational communication, pp.1-21.

Turner, F., 2018. The arts at Facebook: An aesthetic infrastructure for surveillance capitalism. Poetics, 67, pp.53-62.

Xu, J., Duan, L. and Zhang, R., 2017. Surveillance and intervention of infrastructure-free mobile communications: A new wireless security paradigm. IEEE Wireless Communications, 24(4), pp.152-159.

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