Power and the Image: CCTV and Televisual Governance

Heydon, Jeffrey Douglas. 2016. Power and the Image: CCTV and Televisual Governance. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

The text addresses the ways in which camera surveillance and, primarily, Closed Circuit
Television (CCTV) is used to support the efficacy of governmental authority. The primary
concern is the extent to which the video image has become integral to the exercise and the
legitimization of the use of power and to provide support for State prosecutions and
surveillance with particular reference to Canada and the United Kingdom. The thesis begins
by introducing a short history of the use of CCTV in government, followed by a selection of
example cases that illustrate the use of CCTV in British and Canadian court cases. The text
then moves on to a theoretical evaluation of CCTV as a complement of the processes of
governing and the establishment of what, in line with Foucault, I call the ‘institutional gaze’.
In so doing it will show how the determination of the subject and the observer is also
profoundly affected by this form of electronic media. The relationship between the individual
and police and security services, the effect that media has on the way that space is perceived
and how the camera has become an integral component of carrying out policing and security
programs in contemporary life are major themes. McLuhan, Baudrillard, Virilio, Foucault
and Derrida, among others, are consulted in order to evaluate the relationship between
viewer, subject and space. Overall, the thesis is an evaluation of the experience of media, the
determination of its impact and continuing influence on systems of power and the application
of these determinations to the routine procedure of policing and prosecuting. The analysis
shows how what is typically thought to be a linear and generally inert process of camera
surveillance is in fact very complex and demands a nuanced appreciation for the effect media
has on our understanding of the world around us.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):



Surveillance, Sousveillance, CCTV, Closed circuit television, Media theory, Policing, Police, Crime, Camera, British case law, Canadian case law, Violence, Foucault, Derrida, McLuhan, Baudrillard, Speed camera, Panopticism, Security, Urban, Urbanity, City, Cities, Tracking, Data, Interpretation, Visual culture, Visuality, Media studies

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Centre for Cultural Studies (1998-2017)


30 April 2016

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

13 May 2016 15:24

Last Modified:

12 Sep 2022 11:11



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