New findings published on the experience of surveillance
Huge congratulations go to St Andrews CRISP Researcher Meghan McNamara who has achieved her first publication. In the words of her supervisor and co-author, Professor Steve Reicher, Meghan is definitely one to watch! Released last week in Frontiers in Psychology the paper is entitled ‘The Context-Variable Self and Autonomy: Exploring Surveillance Experience, (Mis)recognition, and Action at Airport Security Checkpoints’. It sets out the findings of Meghan’s doctoral research which focused on the experience of surveillance in airports. Using empirical evidence she establishes a key difference in the way that people experience the surveillant aspects of airport security. When individuals were wrongly labelled as suspicious or threatening at airport security, they felt alienated and so felt the need to adapt their behaviour. This was not the case for individuals who were correctly recognised as non-threatening. Meghan argues that this results in a decline of individual autonomy, first in terms of individual’s ability to self-determine and second, in terms of their ability to act freely. The work advances understanding of the surveilled subject, further exploring the connection between experienced and imposed selfhoods under surveillance. Meghan’s research emphasises the damage that is done by imposing incorrect judgements about selfhood in security settings. You heard it here first!