Social Science Information 58 (4):701-713 (2019)

Frej Thomsen
The Danish Institute for Human Rights
The concept of surveillance has recently been complemented by the concept of sousveillance. Neither term, however, has been rigorously defined, and it is particularly unclear how to understand and delimit sousveillance. This article sketches a generic definition of surveillance and proceeds to explore various ways in which we might define sousveillance, including power differentials, surreptitiousness, control, reciprocity, and moral valence. It argues that for each of these ways of defining it, sousveillance either fails to be distinct from surveillance or to provide a generally useful concept. As such, the article concludes that academics should avoid the neologism, and simply clarify what sense of surveillance is at stake when necessary.
Keywords Surveillance  Sousveillance  Conceptual Analysis  Power  Ethics
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2019
DOI 10.1177/0539018419884410
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

An Eye for an Eye: Proportionality and Surveillance.Kevin Macnish - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (3):529-548.
The Generalized Sousveillance Society.Jean-Gabriel Ganascia - 2010 - Social Science Information 49 (3):489-507.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Just Surveillance? Towards a Normative Theory of Surveillance.Kevin Macnish - 2014 - Surveillance and Society 12 (1):142-153.
Response.Kevin Macnish - 2014 - Surveillance and Society 12 (1):175-181.
Being Watched: The Ethics of Targeted Surveillance.Kevin Macnish - 2013 - The Philosophers' Magazine 63:84-90.
Sorveglianza e potere nella Unione Europea.Elisa Orrù - 2015 - Filosofia Politica 29 (3):459-474.
An Eye for an Eye: Proportionality and Surveillance.Kevin Macnish - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (3):529-548.
Indiscriminate Mass Surveillance and the Public Sphere.Titus Stahl - 2016 - Ethics and Information Technology 18 (1):33-39.
Privacy in the Shadow of Nanotechnology.Chris Toumey - 2007 - NanoEthics 1 (3):211-222.


Added to PP index

Total views
111 ( #80,902 of 2,326,142 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
66 ( #8,474 of 2,326,142 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes