Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Surveillance Society
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 2 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay 1 (2,500 words)  1 Essay of 2,500 words  50%
Semester Assessment Essay 2 (2,500 words)  1 Essay of 2,500 words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 1 (2,500 words) - to a new title  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 2 (2,500 words) - to a new title  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Analyse and demonstrate an awareness of how everyday life is subject to a broad variety of surveillance methods.

Crticially evaluate a range of materials relating to surveillance technologies and their implications.

Demonstrate an understanding of the socio-historical development of surveillance and to investigate a specific issue in detail.

Assess the implications of new, digital technologies and how they relate to questions of surveillance and to think about issues such as 'resistance'.

Brief description

Surveillance is an integral component of modern society, and its proliferation has been aided by the increasing sophistication of digital technologies. This module will introduce key concepts and issues relating to surveillance, including concerns about privacy, a rethinking of notions of private and public, the tensions between ‘control’, ‘protection’ and ‘power’, current debates about identity cards, and moves towards resistance or ‘counter-surveillance’.

Key ethical, historical and theoretical dimensions to surveillance within society will be explored. A number of different surveillance technologies (including CCTV and market research tools) will be examined, and questions will be asked about the implications of using and representing ‘surveillance’ in popular culture.


Course delivery:

10 x 2 hour Lecture-Workshops


1. Introduction: Locating Surveillance Theoretically & Socio-Historically

2. Changing Conception of the "Public" and "Private"

3. Panopticism

4. Surveillance, Consumerism and the Web

5. CCTV: Technological Development, Urban Spaces and "Urban Policing"

6. Identity Cards and Biometrics

7. Surveillance & Conspiracy: September 11th and Beyond

8. Representation: Surveillance and Popular Culture

9. Surveillance and Performance: Resisting Big Brother

10. Myths of Socia Control: From the Stazi "Police State" to Reflections on Contemporary Surveillance

Key issues relating to these topics will be discussed during seminars. Students will be asked to engage in a variety of tasks, from group discussion, presentations as well as debate.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Students¿ written communication skills will be developed over the two pieces of assessed work that they produce. They will be encouraged to produce arguments about the subject, using appropriate language and style and structuring their argument and writing effectively. Students will develop their oral communication skills through sessions which will encourage both individual contributions and group discussion, and, in some cases, students may be asked to give brief presentations (in groups). Students will also be encouraged to answer and to ask questions in lectures.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will develop their critical thinking skills, and their ability to apply, evaluate and compare contrasting theoretical and critical perspectives and methods. Through small group discussions, students will be given opportunities to develop an awareness of the opinions of others and to reconsider initial ideas if necessary, to apply and test theoretical claims and arguments, and to articulate and communicate their ideas.
Information Technology Students will be given opportunities to develop their skills using electronic search and retrieval of sources both on the web and on the AU LIS in the research they undertake. Students will develop their research and referencing skills when analyzing, evaluating and referencing materials from the web and related sources, and will focus on the selection of materials appropriate to the task. E-mail and the module's own website will be the main forms of communication and information sharing in this module, so students will be encouraged to actively engage in using these.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will be encouraged to take increasing responsibility for managing their own learning by preparing work independently. Students will be encouraged to build upon the knowledge gained from lectures through developing skills in self study (supported by general and specific reading lists and other resources). Students will be encouraged to develop their confidence in articulating and discussing their ideas (individually and in groups) in sessions.
Problem solving Students should be able to identify tensions and debates in the field. They will be encouraged to engage with, compare and evaluate existing critical thought and theory, and to identify and select the most appropriate material (academic reading, films, advertisements and other materials) to use in their assessed work.
Research skills Students will be given the opportunity to develop their research skills and to use these in their assignments. Students will be encouraged to evaluate, analyse, interpret and reflect upon a variety of primary sources in their assessed work and in class.
Subject Specific Skills See QAA Subject Benchmark Statement Communication, media, film and cultural studies (2008)
Team work Some activities will enable students to work within a small group, and to discuss and compare ideas.


This module is at CQFW Level 6