Core Module Information
Module title: Surveillance & Society

SCQF level: 10:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: SSC10112
Module leader: Francesca Soliman
School School of Applied Sciences
Subject area group: Social Science


Description of module content:

This module will begin by looking at the growth of the nation state and early forms of surveillance and how these have been challenged, refined and adapted over time. We will look at the Enlightenment and the corresponding development of civil society, notions of individual liberty and freedoms that accompanied the bourgeois revolutions of Western Europe and whether or not these ideals have been compromised with the growth of industrial capitalist society and the need for work discipline, time management and control. Within our analysis of organisational society we will look at models of rationalisation, bureaucratisation, networking and the supposed rise of `big brother’ and `total institutions’ drawing on the work of Weber, Foucault, Goffman, Heidegger, Castells, Lyons and others. This will then lead into an analysis of traditional and new forms of surveillance drawing out the key techniques and technologies used and the social and cultural consequences that flow from them. The work of Beck and Giddens on `risk society’ and Bauman on the fluidity and indeterminacy of contemporary social life along with the work of Furedi on the `culture of fear’ will provide useful heuristics that will enable us to develop a critical discourse of surveillant practice. The psychological impact of surveillance on individual identity and interaction will be explored in depth along with the debates on technological determinism and humanism, social networking, living on-line and embedded computing. The implications of the recording of practically all human interactions and the consequent inability of the social sphere to `forget’ will be examined in detail in the latter part of the module and the hypothesis that increasingly intense surveillance is contributing to the metastasis of neurosis will be explored and debated in class.

Learning Outcomes for module:

Upon completion of this module you will be able to
LO1:Critically evaluate the key dynamics and processes conditioning the growth of surveillance cultures in our society with emphasis on the contested nature of surveillance techniques.
LO2:Critically appraise the significance of the liberal enlightenment ideals and how they have been compromised by the logics of capital accumulation, time management and control.
LO3:Critically evaluate sociological literature on specific surveillance technologies, systems and cultures.
LO4: Demonstrate an appreciation and critical understanding of both `data mining’ and `systems creep’ along with the dangers such systems of accounting and surveillance pose.
LO5:Develop a critical understanding of the impact of surveillance technologies on human psychology and behaviour.
LO6:To develop study, computing, written, oral communication and presentation skills.

Full Details of Teaching and Assessment
2022/3, Trimester 2, Face-to-Face, Edinburgh Napier University
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: Face-to-Face
Location of delivery: SIGHTHILL
Partner: Edinburgh Napier University
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Francesca Soliman
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
LOs 1-6 - Each taught input uses a variety of audio-visual resources, group discussion and activity to foster student engagement. Tutorial tasks, including student presentations, are used to ensure a balanced approach to learning and development is being adopted. A range of material will be made available on Moodle to facilitate the completion of tutorial tasks and assist and guide the students in their independent learning.

LOs 1,3 & 4 give an appreciation of the dynamics of market societies and organisational cultures and the ways in which they condition surveillance which is relevant for a number of careers that students may pursue.

LOs 1-6 Require students to research both independently and in groups, manage their time effectively and communicate effectively in both oral and written form.

Formative Assessment:
LOs 1-6 Students discuss relevant material in tutorials using research questions, core and additional reading material and tutorial tasks provided beforehand. Tutorial discussions provide a useful medium for formative feedback. Moreover, the practice of public speaking and voicing opinions builds student confidence.

Summative Assessment:
LOs 1-6 Summative assessment in the form of two written essays tests the ability of students to reflect on different aspects of the module. The assessments are designed to ensure that content from across the module is covered. Oral and written communication skills are developed in formative assessment in tutorials and summative assessment

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Lecture 12
Independent Learning Guided independent study 164
Face To Face Tutorial 24
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Essay 50 1,2,3,4,5 &6 7 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 2500
Essay 50 1,2,3,4,5,6 14 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 2500
Component 1 subtotal: 50
Component 2 subtotal: 50
Module subtotal: 100

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
SSC10112 Surveillance and Society