NEW PUBLICATION - Living with Digital Surveillance in China

By Ariane Ollier-Malaterre

Living with Digital Surveillance in China: Citizens’ Narratives on Technology, Privacy, and Governance

By Ariane Ollier-Malaterre

CRISP edited Routledge Studies in Surveillance Book Series

Digital surveillance is a daily and all-encompassing reality of life in China. This book explores how Chinese citizens make sense of digital surveillance and live with it. It investigates their imaginaries about surveillance and privacy from within the Chinese socio-political system.

Based on in-depth qualitative research interviews, detailed diary notes, and extensive documentation, Ariane Ollier-Malaterre attempts to ‘de-Westernise’ the internet and surveillance literature. She shows how the research participants weave a cohesive system of anguishing narratives on China’s moral shortcomings and redeeming narratives on the government and technology as civilising forces. Although many participants cast digital surveillance as indispensable in China, their misgivings, objections, and the mental tactics they employ to dissociate themselves from surveillance convey the mental and emotional weight associated with such surveillance exposure.

The book is intended for academics and students in internet, surveillance, and Chinese studies, and those working on China in disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, social psychology, psychology, communication, computer sciences, contemporary history, and political sciences. The lay public interested in the implications of technology in daily life or in contemporary China will find it accessible as it synthesises the work of sinologists and offers many interview excerpts.

Table of Contents:


Part I: Privacy, Surveillance, and the Social Credit Systems

1. Privacy and Surveillance

2. Surveillance in China: From Dang’an and Hukou to the Social Credit Systems

Part II: Anguishing Narratives of Moral Shortcomings

3. Rules Will Raise People’s ‘Moral Quality’

4. National Humiliations and the Civilisation Dream

5. Saving Face: Privacy as Hiding Shameful Information

Part III: Redeeming Narratives of Digital Protection

6. The Government: Protection and Order

7. Technology as a Magic Bullet

Part IV: The Mental and Emotional Weight of Surveillance

8. Mental Tactics to Dissociate Oneself from Surveillance

9. Misgivings and Objections

10. Self-censorship


Appendix: Methods

Hb: 978-1-032-51774-2 | £130.00 / CA$220.00 

Pb: 978-1-032-51770-4 | £35.99 / CA$ 45.00

eBook: 978-1-003-40387-6 | £35.99 / CA$ 45.00

Order the book from Routledge here.

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More information about the Routledge Studies in Surveillance Book Series can be found here.