Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

The Electronic Eye

The Rise of Surveillance Society

1994
Author:

David Lyon

The Electronic Eye

Lyon looks into our mediated way of life, where every transaction and phone call, border crossing, vote, and application registers in some computer, to show how electronic surveillance influences social order in our day.

Lyon looks into our mediated way of life, where every transaction and phone call, border crossing, vote, and application registers in some computer, to show how electronic surveillance influences social order in our day.

A superb example of the sociological imagination and an important and balanced contribution to our understanding of surveillance and society.

Gary T. Marx, University of Colorado

Every day precise details of our personal lives are collected, stored, retrieved, and processed within huge computer databases belonging to big corporations and government departments. Although no one may be spying, strangers do know intimate things about us, often without our knowing what they know, why they know it, or who shares this information. This is the surveillance society. In The Electronic Eye, David Lyon looks into our mediated way of life, where every transaction and phone call, border-crossing, vote, and application registers in some computer, to show how electronic surveillance influences social order in our day.
The increasing impact of computers on modern societies is seen by some as very promising, but by others as menacing in the extreme. The Electronic Eye is a genuine contribution to the understanding of modern institutions in an era of globalizing electronic communication.

Contents
Preface
Situating Surveillance
Introduction: Body, Soul and Credit Card
Surveillance in Modern Society
New Surveillance Technologies
From Big Brother to the Electronic Panopticon
Surveillance Trends
The Surveillance State: Keeping Tabs on You
The Surveillance State: From Tabs to Tags
The Transparent Worker
The Targeted Consumer
Counter-Surveillance
Challenging Surveillance
Privacy, Power, Persons
Against Dystopia, Distance, Division
Beyond Postmodern Paranoia

The Electronic Eye

David Lyon is an associate professor in the department of sociology at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. He is the author of several books, including The Information Society.

The Electronic Eye

A superb example of the sociological imagination and an important and balanced contribution to our understanding of surveillance and society.

Gary T. Marx, University of Colorado

Lyon provides more detail about the use of technology for policy/security surveillance than is available in any work so far. His vision is one of hopeful optimism, tempered with just enough urgency to move people out of their complacency or fear.

Oscar H. Gandy, Jr., University of Pennsylvania

We know from Foucault that modernity was above all and from the start about surveillance. What can (and should) we add to this knowledge from the experience of living in our computerized and information-saturated society, prominent for the willing cooperation of the surveilled with the surveillors? Lyon asks, and then answers, this seminal question comprehensively and in utterly authoritative fashion.

Zygmunt Bauman, University of Leeds

I would suggest those whose responsibility is to teach, do research, or advocate policy concerning privacy and electronic surveillance read The Electronic Eye to expand their knowledge and ideas about the application of some of the social theories relating to this topic.

Journal of Consumer Affairs

David Lyon provides an introduction to the history, techniques, and theories of what he calls administrative surveillance—the rational ordering of society—in a simple, accessible way that makes this book a good choice for the undergraduate classroom.

Journal of Communication