Surveillance and the ‘Monitoring’ of Citizens by the State

  • Imran Awan
  • Keith Spiller
  • Andrew Whiting
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Risk, Crime and Society book series (PSRCS)


This chapter discusses monitoring and the surveillance techniques and theoretical approaches that have been used to examine the process. Our focus is the actualisation of the Prevent Strategy, in itself a form of monitoring and surveillance, where those in authority record the activities of students and make decisions on their interpretations of the ‘risk’ credential of their students. Furthermore, the widespread application of monitoring and surveillance techniques has been posited to cause a number of socially dangerous consequences which stem from its ability to discriminate between different population groups within its multifarious domains of application (see Gandy, Ethics Inf Technol 12(1): 29–42, 2010). Surveillance, per se, can be understood as an organising principle which relies on the observation of a domain, and the data resulting from that observation is then used to enable regulation, governance, or management (Lyon, Surveillance society: monitoring everyday life. Open University Press, Buckingham, 2001: 2). The Prevent Strategy gives rise, reason, and authority to, how, as we argue, institutions such as universities monitor their charges and perform roles of surveillance by monitoring students for evidence of radicalisation or terrorist intent. We do, however, remain attentive to the necessary workings of monitoring; for instance, private sector and governing authorities at all levels of scale rely on surveillant techniques to control the risks associated with their activities. The chapter offers an overview of the theoretical underpinnings of monitoring and the agendas that inform the Prevent Strategy applied in an educational context; as the chapter progresses, we discuss concepts of bureaucracy and technology, risk control, and responsibilisation in furthering our thoughts.


Surveillance Monitoring Consequences Theoretical approach Universities 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Imran Awan
    • 1
  • Keith Spiller
    • 2
  • Andrew Whiting
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Applied CriminologyBirmingham City UniversityBirminghamUK
  2. 2.Birmingham City UniversityBirminghamUK

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