Stiftelsen för forskning inom områden med anknytning till Östersjöregionen och Östeuropa

Balancing Integrity and Legal Security: A Comparison of Popular Surveillance in Germany, Sweden and Poland

Ämne: Statsvetenskap
Projektledare: Fredrika Björklund
Startår: 2008
Projekttyp: Projekt

This project intends to describe the development and use of surveillance technology in three states in the Baltic Sea area, Germany, Poland and Sweden, and to analyse how public institutions direct the deployment and use of surveillance technology under public and private command. Central research questions concern: a) For what purposes, how and to what extent are surveillance cameras used in the different countries? b) How are democratic aspects concerning personal integrity and security balances in these contexts? c) To what extent can the specific features of popular surveillance in the three countries be explained by variables emanating in state-theoretical, institutional and surveillance theoretical approaches respectively? d) What do the above-mentioned approaches have to say about the potential conflict between the conceived need for surveillance and important democratic principles appearing on the different national arenas?

The project departs from theories aimed to demonstrate how and explain why public institutions tend to perceive a demand to increase the surveillance capabilities of law enforcement agencies as well as of private actors. Further we aim at analysing the relevance of technological control of citizens in terms of consequences for the state-citizen relationship. The two sub-projects are to develop their specific theoretical approaches that are to be jointly applied in the empirical research. a) State theoretical and philosophical aspects of the technological control of the citizens. This theoretical approach is developed in subproject A. The content of surveillance is related to recent theoretical and philosophical discourses on state practises. b) Institutional theory, which is developed in subproject B. The project aims to intercept the discussion in the social sciences about the “new” institutionalism, and to make an own contribution to its development. c) Specific theories related to surveillance. They relate to different aspects of surveillance in the ways sketched in detail in the application.

The empirical research focuses on the development, structure and effects of technological systems asparts of a larger “control constellation”. Two approaches are used: the Social Shaping of Technology ( SST) approach and the “constellation analysis”.

The project is carried out by two senior researchers and a doctoral student at Södertörns högskola in cooperation with partners at The Centre for Technology and Society, Berlin.