PhD completed 2021
Constitutive Surveillance and Social Media
Starting from the premise that surveillance is the ‘dominant organising practice’ of our time (Lyon), this thesis establishes a framework of ‘constitutive surveillance’ in relation to social media, taking Facebook as its key example. Constitutive surveillance is made up of four forms: economic, political, lateral, and oppositional surveillance. These four surveillance forms—and the actors who undertake them—intersect, compound, and confront one another in the co-production of social media spaces. The framework of constitutive surveillance is structured around a Foucauldian understanding of power, and the thesis shows how each surveillance form articulates strategies of power for organising, administering, and subjectifying populations. After outlining the four surveillance forms, each chapter unpacks the relationship of one form to social media, building throughout the thesis an extensive critical framework of constitutive surveillance.