Queen's University

Surveillance seminar attracts international participants


Graduate students and junior faculty from 16 different countries have gathered at Queen’s this week for the Surveillance Studies Summer Seminar (SSSS).

“We’ve always encouraged international participation in the SSSS as we do in all aspects of our research program,” says David Lyon, director of the Surveillance Studies Centre (SSC) at Queen’s. “What happens in Canada does not necessarily occur in other parts of the world.”

The seminar fosters an intensive discussion of crucial issues in surveillance studies with participants completing and presenting research-related group work. Dr. Lyon, Queen’s professor David Murakami Wood, and University of Ottawa professor Val Steeves will facilitate the group discussions.

Queen’s graduate student Sachil Singh is looking forward to the seminar anticipating it will help him make international comparisons vital for his research.

“Global interactions and contexts are key as I seek to understand the role of consumer surveillance in the South African credit card industry. What happens in that specific industry is being informed by the global context,” says Mr. Singh, who is originally from South Africa and a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology.

The biennial seminar, which began in 2007, allows young researchers in the emerging field of study to make lasting international connections.

“I recently learned about a research collaboration and co-authoring project on supermarket loyalty cards—a rich source of personal data for marketing surveillance—that was originally sparked when the two researchers met here for SSSS,” says Dr. Lyon.

Since the last SSSS, social media surveillance has come to the forefront, and the issue is sure to be discussed at great length over the five-day seminar. With Facebook alone boasting 500 million users, it has become a multi-level platform for all kinds of sophisticated surveillance.

Surveillance Studies Summer Seminar.

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Last updated at 4:55 pm EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
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