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Surveillance, Power and Modernity: Bureaucracy and Discipline from 1700 to the Present Day

Surveillance, Power and Modernity: Bureaucracy and Discipline from 1700 to the Present Day

Christopher Dandeker

ISBN: 978-0-745-61342-0

Jul 1994, Polity

256 pages

Select type: Paperback

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As a result of the writings of Foucault, surveillance has come to be seen as a phenomenon of major importance in modern societies. But there are few, if any, studies which relate the concept of surveillance to that of bureaucracy, thus connecting Foucault to Max Weber. Dandeker's text breaks new ground in re-examining the framework of Weber's analysis of bureaucracy in the light of problems of surveillance. The author also provides a critique of a variety of other theories of the significance of bureaucracy in the modern world. The core of the book is concerned to offer a detailed analysis of the use of bureaucratic surveillance in the state and the economy. The author gives particular attention to the role of warfare in the expansion of surveillance. The text brings together problems that ordinarily are treated in substantial separation from one another, including analyses of staff and line in organization theory, military service and the formation of prisons and asylums.


1. Bureaucracy, Surveillance and Modern Society.

2. Surveillance: Basic Concepts and Dimensions.

3. Military Power, Capitalism and Surveillance.

4. Bureaucratic Surveillance in a 'Society of Strangers':.

The State and Social Control in Modern Capitalism.

5. Capitalism, Surveillance and the Modern Business Enterprise.

6. Conclusion: Capitalism, Surveillance and Modernity.


'An excellent, scholarly piece ... many will find a place for it on their 'sociology of organisations' courses.' Sociology
  • This is a critical discussion of the competing theories relating to the significance of bureaucracy in modern capitalism and provides a systematic account of the links between surveillance and modernity
  • Discusses the effects of bureaucratic surveillance on the social psychology of everyday life
  • Analyses the role that welfare has played in the development of bureaucratic surveillance in the 19th and 20th centuries
  • Integrates discussions of line and staff in organization theory and military science.