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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the Department of Computer & Information Sciences involved in mathematically structured programming, similarity and metric search, computer security, software systems, combinatronics and digital health.

The Department also includes the iSchool Research Group, which performs leading research into socio-technical phenomena and topics such as information retrieval and information seeking behaviour.

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Fantasy island: a labour process critique of the 'age of surveillance'

Thompson, P. (2003) Fantasy island: a labour process critique of the 'age of surveillance'. Surveillance and Society, 1 (2). pp. 138-151. ISSN 1477-7487

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Abstract

While surveillance has long been recognised as part of the armoury of managerial practices in the workplace, there has been increasing claims that electronic or panoptic surveillance is a new and successful model of control. This paper explores and challenges these claims by examining in detail 'hard' and 'soft' versions of the story through the work of Sewell and Zuboff respectively, before looking briefly at recent debates on call centres. It concludes by arguing that through there has been some shift towards surveillance practices, there is insufficient evidence that a combination of electronic panopticon and peer pressure is effective and distinctive enough to constitute a credible new model of control of the labour process. In addition, social scientists must be careful not to assume that developments in workplace surveillance are transferable to the broader social terrain, or vice versa.