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Negotiating Surveillance Technologies in Parenting and Healthcare

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The implicit ambiguity of surveillance as both control and care has been a key theoretical issue in social science research on surveillance practices and technologies since the foundational work of Michel Foucault. This issue also reflects a prevalent socio-technical perspective in which a central factor in considering technology’s effects on society and relationships is always contextual and situational. This paper will explore the ambiguities of surveillance in light of two current research projects focusing on the use of technologies for care and control in vulnerable groups in the contexts of parenting and healthcare of elderly with dementia. By way of these two case studies, we will emphasize how virtual (and sometimes actual) struggles lie in the ambiguities between care and control brought about by surveillance technologies. These two research projects offer insights into the need to balance safety, dignity and the right to privacy when it comes to surveillance of vulnerable groups such as children and elderly with dementia. In the article, we examine how parents and caregivers struggle with reconciling the use of surveillance technologies with the maintenance of a trustful and considerate relationship with those they look after.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year2021
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021
EventThe 9th biennial Surveillance & Society conference of the Surveillance Studies Network - Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 7 Jun 20219 Jun 2021


ConferenceThe 9th biennial Surveillance & Society conference of the Surveillance Studies Network
LocationErasmus University Rotterdam
Internet address

    Research areas

  • surveillance

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