Post-panoptic pedagogies: The changing nature of school surveillance in the digital age

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Selena Nemorin


The aim of this paper is to explore critically the everyday conditions of surveillance in the contemporary secondary school context. Using a classical ethnographic approach, it seeks to unpack the range of surveillance practices and processes that are at work within schools as institutional settings, and how these are encountered and experienced by students, teachers, administrators, and other members of a school community. The main concern is with the hypothesized evolution of panoptic to post-panoptic surveillance and whether or not surveillance in schools emulates such developments, specifically with regards to the levelling of power hierarchies as a result of the incorporation of both vertical and horizontal modes of surveillance. To offer concrete examples of this shift in models of surveillance, this paper examine three manifestations of surveillance in schools: CCTV, mobile phones, and e-learning and content management platforms as modes of dataveillance, a particularized form of surveillance that has come to characterize modern surveillance functions. The primary question that drives this research is what evidence is there for these functions/modes of surveillance, and how are digital technologies implicit in their operation?

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Author Biography

Selena Nemorin, Monash University

Dr Selena Nemorin is a Research Fellow in the Faculty of Education at Monash University.

Her research interests include digital sociology, philosophy of education, critical theories of technology, surveillance & society, and Maker education. Selena has worked previously on research projects exploring educational equity and inclusion, the experiences of internationally educated female teachers and their integration into K-12 schools, as well as human rights policies and procedures in post-secondary institutions.

She is currently working on a three year ‘Discovery’ research project funded by the Australian Research Council: Making a Digital Difference? An Investigation of New Technologies in Digital Schools.

She tweets @digiteracy