Photo-sharing as Participatory Surveillance

Clare Victoria Southerton, Maja Sonne Damkjaer, Anders Albrechtslund

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


This chapter systematically analyses emerging practices of sorting, sharing and storing digital photos in everyday family life. The purpose is to investigate what motivates the use of digital technologies in families and examine how parents describe and perceive their digital practices. Our study draws on empirical data from in-depth interviews with 17 Danish families over six months in 2017 and focusses on the changing affordances of family photographs. Both parents and children use their digital devices, particularly smartphones, as cameras to document their lives and to share photos with others. However, the interviews show that parents feel uncertainty about the future of their photos, both in terms of potential uses and misuses of their images and concerns regarding how to preserve their images. This chapter argues that the tensions and negotiations brought about by these uses of digital technologies in the family to connect through visibility can be seen as a part of participatory surveillance culture (Albrechtslund 2008).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultures of Participation : Arts, Digital Media and Cultural Institutions
EditorsBirgit Eriksson, Carsten Stage, Bjarki Valtysson
Number of pages19
Place of publicationAbingdon
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)9780367218386
ISBN (Electronic)9780429266454
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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