Smart Video Surveillance in Smart Cities: Deconstructing Surveillance and Security Discourses

Project Details


The main objective of the research project is to analyse the discourses that surround the implementation of 'smart' video surveillance technologies, and their affordances in 'smart cities'. It intends to identify the main promises and drivers behind official discourses of smart city programmes in three Belgian cities: Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent. Two hypotheses from the literature will
be tested:
1) 'Surveillance theatre': that the concept of smart cities and the implementation of surveillance programmes have a 'performative' role;
2) Surveillance capitalism: that the main driver behind the implementation of the surveillance programmes is not security of citizens or reducing crime but is economic. The hypotheses will be tested for the three cities through critical
discourse analysis of policy documents, social media and interviews with the different stakeholders and confronting the found discourses with relevant literature. Despite abundant scholarship in surveillance, smart-cities, and security and the performative role of crime control, there are several gaps in the literature that this research intends to fill:
1) influence of surveillance capitalism on smart city policy making;
2) comparative research; and
3) analysis of the drivers of the technologies. The research intends to advance theory within criminology, surveillance studies, urban governance and security
studies and influence policy-making and public debate.
Effective start/end date1/01/2131/12/24


  • Smart cities
  • Surveillance
  • Discourses

Flemish discipline codes

  • Causes and prevention of crime
  • Criminology not elsewhere classified
  • Private policing and security services
  • Safety, prevention and police
  • Social geography


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