A Prosperous 'Business': The success of CCTV through the eyes of international literature

Germain, Séverine
January 2013
Surveillance & Society;2013, Vol. 11 Issue 1/2, p134
Academic Journal
This article deals with a paradox: video surveillance becomes widespread, in more and more numerous social and national spaces, while its effects in terms of crime prevention and\or law enforcement and community reassurance are not demonstrated. Through a critical analysis of the international literature on CCTV, this article attempts to identify the reasons advanced to explain the 'success' of this technology. Three kinds of approach, which embody three ways of defining the political and social impact of CCTV, can be distinguished: Surveillance Studies, impact analyses and use studies. This paper discusses these works and the answers they bring to the understanding of CCTV development. It claims that micro-level case study analysis allows us to grasp subtly the locally observable mechanisms by which new actors can be enrolled in the device and new legitimizations are made possible.


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