Opening the Black Box: The Work of Watching

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-10-29
  • Publisher: Routledge
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Social control has, in recent times, undergone a series of technological transformations. Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) which has become a common feature of the urban landscape is one such innovation. Substantial capital is invested in vast networks of surveillance cameras in a bid to shape behaviours, manage risk and maintain order. Although one might be inclined to perceive such technologies as inanimate objects, Opening the Black Boxsituates them in a wider social context and offers an alternative perspective, taking the reader on a journey from life under the camera to life behind the lens. While considering the everyday experiences of the camera operators responsible for viewing, interpreting and assessing a multitude of mediated images, the reader is introduced to an intriguing set of social processes. In particular, the complexity of interaction among humans, machines and the wider system is shown to stimulate cultures of control, conflict and emotionality. Overall, the book emphasises both the seductive and traumatic nature of watching reality and the social implications emerging as a consequence.

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