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8131 Communication Technologies and Change | Surveillance Assemblage

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Discuss "Surveillance Assemblage"

Write about Surveillance Assemblage that need to include 3 points:

1. A short summary of the reading
2. Key terms & concepts
3. Apply to real life


From the notes, surveillance assemblage is where people work and operate together in creating new advanced systems and increasing their number. The aim is to increase surveillant capacity in monitoring movement of people. It also maintains order. Its operation is characterized by abstracting bodies of human being and separate them into flows (Barnard-Wills and Wells 2012).

">Surveillant assemblage is a visualizing device and much used on body of human being. It leads the society and develops it according to Foucault and might also be unfair to the society because not all members will be prone to the condition. Orwell said that surveillance was a way of maintaining a form of hierarchical social control.

The improvement of surveillance led to monitoring of people, behavior, images, groups, and police also to maintain conformity and order by use of computer devices and systems which are integrated together.

Key terms and concepts

  • Surveillance- This is observing and monitoring activities to direct and protect people (Pridmore and Zwicks 2011). This led to improvement of self-discipline which contributed to productive development of modern lives. It also ensures privacy.

  • Assemblage- It includes entities working and functioning together and they become united. For example systems and people. They must not be confused as they are part of state formation.

  • Panopticon- It is an architectural design of a proposed prison. It was designed to oversee prisoners in individual cells which were isolated. It was used for observation and articulating their behavior. Guards monitored inmates from the central tower without their consent.

  • Social theory- With the improvement of surveillance technology and increase of computer technology, people are able to monitor the population of people.

Real life application 

According to Lyon (2010), surveillance assemblage has been widely in various institutions and organizations which include;

  • Used by police to monitor investigate crime data from crime scenes. They also use it to link forensics and fingerprints in their systems for investigations. This helps police to get evidence of a crime with ease which would be used in a court of law.

  • Used to monitor pets by implanting chips on their body. They also show the pet’s details and any other information connected to the pet such as its history. It can also have details of ownership and medical data. They also tell the pet’s whereabouts and movement. This means that they cannot be easily stolen or taken away.

  • Used to monitor the movement of employees in an organization and the activities going on in the organization. This helps the organization to be more productive and achieve its objectives by ensuring that quality work is done by employees and effectively.

  • Used in hospitals to protect and monitor infants by putting electronic bracelet on their wrist or ankle. They are unique such that once activated, the nurses and doctors can enter details and they give an alarm when a young one is taken close to a protected area without a password.

  • Used in schools to thwarts intruders who might be trespassing or with bad intention like stealing and also it helps to protect the insiders from any threats. It also protects the students at night from any danger(Rich 2010).


Barnard-Wills, D. and Wells, H., 2012. Surveillance, technology, and the everyday. Criminology & Criminal Justice, 12(3), pp.227-237.

Lyon, D., 2010. Surveillance, power and everyday life. In Emerging digital spaces in contemporary society (pp. 107-120). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

 Pridmore, J. and Zwick, D., 2011. Marketing and the rise of commercial consumer surveillance. Surveillance & Society, 8(3), pp.269-277.

Rich, E., 2010. Obesity assemblages and surveillance in schools. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 23(7), pp.803-821.

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