Many films critiquing the perpetuation of surveillance in contemporary society simultaneously highlight the apparently essential role(s) it plays in resolving social problems – problems that were often created by the technologies themselves. Such films construct surveillancescapes of various kinds – from the physical, to the psychological, to the virtual – and hold considerable importance in mediating understandings of technology, society and humanity. In this paper, we employ content and textual analyses of various films to reveal a rich ideological fabric that engages with vexed questions of identity, agency and ‘reality.’ We analyse an array of filmic representations of surveillance, arguing that significant contradictions lie at the heart of much mainstream cinema, and evaluating the medium’s potential for ideological subversion. An examination of the growing trend by filmmakers to either focus explicitly on surveillance or provide brief, naturalised portrayals of new media use for surveillance purposes highlights the crucial role of film in the development of hegemonic societal power structures. Through this process, we ask the question: who is actually watching whom?
Field of Research
200101 Communication Studies
Socio Economic Objective
970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
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