Research | Queen’s University Canada

Surveillance Studies Centre

Surveillance Studies Centre

Camera surveillance, ID systems, biometrics, social media, border and airport controls – surveillance of many kinds is increasing rapidly throughout the world. The Surveillance Studies Centre (SSC) is committed to conducting high-quality research to understand these complex and politically challenging developments.

Part of a broad network of individuals and institutions working on the subject, the Surveillance Studies Centre is a multi-disciplinary research centre that grew out of the Department of Sociology at Queen’s University. The SSC looks at all types of surveillance, not just those that are technologically-based. The centre does not regard surveillance as inherently sinister, but deeply ambiguous and always questionable – privacy is important, as are civil liberties and human rights. The SSC advances surveillance studies through workshops, lectures and seminars, empirical work, a visiting scholar program, publishing, community outreach, work with policy and activist groups, and student training.

The SSC’s current major work is a five-year big data surveillance project made possible by a Partnership Grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, the primary funding agency supporting the Centre. The SSC is the home base for SCAN (Surveillance Camera Awareness Network), and Queen’s also hosts Surveillance and Society, the online journal of the Surveillance Studies Network, with which the SSC has a close relationship.

  • Partnerships
  • Student Opportunities

Although most of the work is pan-university-based, the SSC also partners with a number of other organizations, including Canada’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, and other groups concerned with data protection and the responses of civil society to expanding surveillance.

Nothing if not international, the SSC has partners, collaborators, and long-term relationships with surveillance studies groups in Latin America, Japan, a number of European and Scandinavian countries, the US, and elsewhere.

SSC graduate students and post-doctoral fellows come from Canada and around the world (e.g. Europe, Turkey, Japan, China, Australia, and South Africa). The SSC also runs a biannual Surveillance Studies Summer Seminar for graduate students.