Surveillance has been of interest to critical psychologists in two distinct ways: as a matter of practical; and political concern in relation to civil liberties and as a theoretical concern in relation to the construction and policing of societal norms and the ways in which subjectivity is shaped in the context of these norms.
Surveillance has often been conducted by governments against people seeking reform or overthrow of repressive regimes – people often from marginalized communities. All states conduct surveillance on their citizens, at least indirectly through the gathering of personal data (e.g., a population census), but, generally, the more repressive the regime, the more intrusive the level of surveillance. The former East Germany’s secret police – the Stasi – managed to recruit, by some estimates, a sixth of the population as informers. This level is perhaps even higher in North Korea and this has obvious implications for subjectivity – the ways of being produced...
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