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Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Fall 2008

SOC 321K • Surveillance and Social Control

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

This course will provide an overview of theories in the sociology of social control, with a focus on risk, power, ethics and surveillance. We will examine historical transformations in social control and the distributions of power in U.S. and global contexts, with attention to gender, race and class. Course topics include: slavery; prisons and punishment; the gaze, voyeurism and reality television watching; the Internet; travel and state borders; privacy; biometrics and the body.

Students will be encouraged to develop critical reading and analytical skills. Through the use of film (The Experiment, Enemy of the State), the Internet and other visual media, students will be challenged to better understand how surveillance practices inform modern life.

Grading Policy

Participation and Journal 20%
Mid-Term Exam 30%
Research Project 20%
Final Exam 30%


A Course Reader will consist of articles and chapters, including excerpts from the following texts:

Giorgio Agamben, Sovereign Power and Bare Life, Palo Alto, CA: Standford University Press, 1998
Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks, New York: Grove Press, 1967
Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, 1979
bell hooks, Ain't I A Woman: black women and feminism, Boston: South End Press, 1981
Erica Meiners, The Right to be Hostile: Schools, Prisons and the Making of Public Enemies, New York: Routledge, 2007
Torin Mohanan, Surveillance and Security: Technological Politics and Power in Everyday Life, Edited Volume, New York: Routledge, 2006


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