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Panopticism, play and the resistance of surveillance: case studies of the observation of student internet use in UK schools

Hope, Andrew (2005) Panopticism, play and the resistance of surveillance: case studies of the observation of student internet use in UK schools. British journal of sociology of education, 6 (3). pp. 359-373. ISSN 1465-3346

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Abstract

The introduction of Internet access into over 30,000 UK schools has led to the adoption of a variety of disciplinary policies, procedures and practices. Critically engaging with writings on panopticism, this paper explores the surveillance of student online activity. It is noted that Internet surveillance in schools includes control through physical observation and limited use of computer databases. For from being passive subjects of observation, some students actively resisted surveillance through physical concealment, virtual concealment and 'sousveillance'. Noting that an often-ignored feature of panopticism is entertainment, it is suggested that student resistance of Internet surveillance is best understood in terms of play and the desire to test authority.

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