SP Seminar Series

Stéphane Leman-Langlois, School of Criminology,
Université de Montréal, "The Local Impact of CCTV on the
Social Construction of Security", January 17th, 12:30pm.

Stéphane Leman-Langlois
Assistant Professor
School of Criminology
Université de Montréal

The Local Impact of CCTV on the Social Construction of Security

Thursday, January 17th
Location: Mackintosh-Corry Hall, Room D411
Time: 12:30pm to 1:30pm

The use of closed circuit television in public spaces has given rise to a sizable amount of literature, which generally falls into four broad categories. First, many authors have probed the effects of increased surveillance on various aspects of civil society. The second category, under the "crime science" program, presents numerous efforts at measuring the impact of CCTV surveillance on local and aggregated crime rates. The third category of CCTV literature is modest by comparison and includes studies of the uses made of CCTV by operators and the social organization of surveillance work.

The last category is one we are trying to establish with the present research: ordinary people's reaction to the transformation of surveillance, not in legalistic or moralistic terms of privacy or rights but specifically regarding their conception of security. There are few precedents in this area, with the notable exception of Ditton (2000). Ditton's research focused on perceptions of security in areas under CCTV surveillance among respondents who did not themselves live under cameras. Within that population, perceptions of security or fear of crime remained unchanged by the installation of CCTV. This leaves essentially untouched the fundamental questions of whether or not all citizens have comparable conceptions of security and the specific function of cameras.

Everyone welcome!