Surveillant media

Technology, language, and control

Authored by: Rodney Jones

The Routledge Handbook of Language and Media

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138014176
eBook ISBN: 9781315673134
Adobe ISBN:


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Most work on language and media has focused on media as means of disseminating information. Less attention has been paid to media as means of gathering information, especially information from or about individuals who might not be aware that it is being gathered. Media have long been implicated in strategies of control engaged in by governments and other powerful institutions. The powerful use media to control what Giddens (1984: 262) calls society’s ‘authoritative resources’: the means through which representations of ‘reality’ and ‘truth’ are created and transmitted. Just as important, however, is media’s ability to reveal ‘truths’ about citizens, workers, students or anyone else whom society wishes to monitor and control. In fact, the modern state is built upon both of these functions of media: its information-disseminating function and its information-gathering function.

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