Digital Citizenship and Surveillance| Surveillance Culture: Engagement, Exposure, and Ethics in Digital Modernity

David Lyon


This article argues that to make sense of surveillance today, the concept of surveillance culture should be added to the conceptual tool kit. This goes beyond the important concerns of the surveillance state and surveillance society to examine how today’s subjects make sense of, respond to, and—in some cases—initiate surveillance activities. Building conceptually on Charles Taylor’s work, the concepts of surveillance imaginaries and surveillance practices are proposed as a means of analysis of how surveillance is engaged today. Previous studies have hinted at surveillance culture both explicitly and implicitly, but more is needed. This article explores further one illustrative dimension—that of online practices of sharing. These practices are seen, in turn, in relation to visibility and exposure. Finally, the concept of surveillance culture is shown to be relevant to current discussions ethics and of digital citizenship.


surveillance, surveillance culture, online information, digital citizenship

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