David Lyon

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Professor David Lyon in Rotterdam.

David Lyon (born 1948) is a Canadian professor of sociology.

Surveillance society[edit]

  • But the term surveillance society does have connotations that at least hint at possible negative consequences, in ways that unambiguously optimistic talk of "information societies" and "knowledge-based economies" does not. My point is rather that such societies are in part constituted by a surveillance dimension.
    • §2, p. 29
  • Comint represents the effort to gain access to, intercept and process every important modern form of communication, in every significant sphere, and in many countries.
    • §6, p. 95
  • What a contrast with the lives of ordinary people at the start of twenty-first century! Today, everyday life is constantly monitored.
    • Part III, p. 105
  • The panopticon produces subjects with desires to improve their inner lives. In contrast the superpanopticon constitutes objects, individuals with dispersed identities, who may remain unaware of how those identities are construed by the computer. We are once again back with disappearing bodies.
    • §7, p. 115
  • How long can surveillance theory ignore the implications of this? It seems entirely appropriate to add to the surveillance impetuses of the nation state, capitalism and bureaucracy, the imperatives of an implicit cultural commitment to omniperception. [...] The driving desire to dragnet yet more detailed data is both as old and as ominous as the aspiration to be "as God".
    • §7, p. 125
  • What persists into postmodern conditions is an abiding infrastructural dependence on communication and information technologies. They are undoubtedly viewed in the popular and political imaginations as far more beneficial than baleful to humanity. That they will continue to expand their influence is beyond doubt, short of some global catastrophe.
    • §8, p. 139
  • Surveillance today is a means of sorting and classifying populations and not just of invading personal space or violating the privacy of individuals. In postmodernizing contexts surveillance is an increasingly powerful means of reinforcing social divisions, as the superpanoptic sort relentlessly screens, monitors and classifies to determine eligibility and access, to include and to exclude.
    • §9, p. 151


  • David Lyon, Surveillance society: Monitoring everyday life, Open university press, 2001. ISBN 9780335205462