Projects

Childhood, Intimacy and Surveillance Practices (2016-2018)

This project investigates the use of surveillance and tracking technologies in intimate contexts of everyday life. It focuses on how children are engaged in self-monitoring, how they are surveyed, and how these practices are negotiated, resisted and subverted. The systematic scholarly inquiry into these issues has the potential to significantly improve our understanding of the motives and consequences of the deep infiltration of technology into contemporary life in a networked world.

The project emphasizes in-depth empirical analysis and theoretical discussion of surveillance and tracking as it is carried out and experienced by children and their significant social relations. As such, the project investigates two different surveillance practices which may overlap and intersect in various ways:

Negotiating family tracking. Why and how are tracking technologies (e.g. with regards to location, social media activity, cultural consumption, etc.) used in families and how are these technologies potentially changing the relation between parents and children? How are parents and children engaged in tracking, care, and governance of the self, and how is this practice embedded in cultural notions of health and life quality?

Schools as surveillance settings. How do technologies such as mobile phones, online communication platforms between teachers and parents, social media and other surveillance-enabling services all contribute to the tracking of and by school children and shape their perceptions of privacy?

The project is mainly focused on grasping the perspective of users with the analytical purpose of understanding the motivations and implications of tracking practices in the intimate context of everyday life. This entails a qualitative approach. At the same time the emergence of a “culture of tracking” challenges the prevailing conception of surveillance. When individuals proactively use tracking technologies, surveillance relates to individual experiences, motivations, and perceptions. These practices undermine the theoretical understanding of the individual as a passive receiver of surveillance to that of an active initiator. It is therefore an important goal of the project to use the selected practices as vehicles for the development of new and more adequate concepts of surveillance and tracking. 

Read more here.

Documentary: Surveillance Culture in Denmark (2016-2017)

Anders Albrechtslund and Btihaj Ajana have received 100.000 DKR from AUFF in order to create a documentary on the surveillance culture in Denmark. The documentary argues that we live in a culture in which surveillance is everywhere. However, surveillance is not necessarily a negative phenomenon and arguing that we are living in a surveillance culture is not an orwellian proposition. Instead, the documentary depicts the many different forms surveillance takes pertaining to the relations between citizens and government, corporations and consumers, as well as between partners, family members and friends. The documentary is expected to be finished in June 2017.  

Surveillance in Denmark (2010-2013)

Surveillance in Denmark investigates surveillance practices in two contexts: Danish police work and housing associations. These organisations were chosen as foci as they were responsible for much of the new surveillance which was being implemented in the Danish society at the time. Based on actor-network theory and post-phenomenology this project describes how the two organisations shape surveillance technologies and how they are being shaped by them. In total, the research project contains five sub-projects, which are described in detail here

Surveillance in urban spaces (2008-2011)

Denmark has recently introduced legislation to allow for more surveillance in urban spaces and, as such, the country is part of an international tendency. New legislation was established in 2007 to allow for significantly more CCTV. Further, individuals carry smartphones and other devices which introduce new actors and ways to perform surveillance in urban spaces. These developments generate tensions in the distinction between public and private, and challenge our basic understanding of surveillance. The project is guided by the following research questions: How do surveillance practices change the relation between public and private? What role does temporal context (e.g. daytime shopping and nightlife) play for surveillance practices in specific places? How is surveillance perceived by different actors (authorities, business owners, citizens, tourists, etc.)? How do different surveillance technologies and practices converge in urban spaces? Denmark has recently introduced legislation to allow for more surveillance in urban spaces and, as such, the country is part of an international tendency. New legislation was established in 2007 to allow for significantly more CCTV. Further, individuals carry smartphones and other devices which introduce new actors and ways to perform surveillance in urban spaces. These developments generate tensions in the distinction between public and private, and challenge our basic understanding of surveillance. The project is guided by the following research questions: How do surveillance practices change the relation between public and private? What role does temporal context (e.g. daytime shopping and nightlife) play for surveillance practices in specific places? How is surveillance perceived by different actors (authorities, business owners, citizens, tourists, etc.)? How do different surveillance technologies and practices converge in urban spaces?

PI: Anders Albrechtslund