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Title: Between discipline and control : cinematic engagements with contemporary transformations in the surveillance society
Author: Muir, Lorna
ISNI:       0000 0004 2726 0005
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis examines how cinema engages with changing surveillance practices, and the hypothesised paradigm shift from discipline to control. The first part of the thesis outlines those changes in terms of three crucial areas in any discussion of surveillance – the organisation of the body, space and time. Since its publication in the 1970s, Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish has been a continuous influence on much social theory. However, recent developments in surveillance practices suggest that the Foucauldian model of discipline may no longer be the most appropriate theoretical framework within which to discuss contemporary modes of surveillance. In Postscript on Control Societies, written in 1990, Gilles Deleuze offers a possible new paradigm (the control society) through which to explore emerging trends in surveillance practices, often linked to the increasing use of digital technologies. While the paradigm of control does not simply replace that of discipline, it does help us to understand the development and amelioration of disciplinary structures. The second part of the thesis offers an original perspective on ongoing debates in surveillance studies concerning discipline and control, by investigating how this shift is articulated and reflected upon in a diverse range of films (from mainstream productions such as Enemy of the State to avant-garde ‘essays’ such as Harun Farocki’s Ich glaubte Gefangene zu sehen) which explicitly engage with changes in surveillance practice. It focuses specifically on the cinematic representation of the body, space and time in the context of the hypothesised transition from discipline to control, and addresses a series of important questions for cinema’s engagement with surveillance: can cinema, with its reliance on the visual image, address the emerging surveillance society which is increasingly invisible and, if so, what strategies does cinema use to achieve this; and, what is the implication of such strategies for the cinematic spectator? In conclusion, the thesis reflects on how cinema shapes our understanding of the emerging surveillance society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Electronic surveillance ; Cinema ; Film-making ; Information technology