KRIM4957 – Surveillance: Data, technologies, practices

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Surveillance is an ever-expanding practice which criminologists need to be equipped to address and assess. The course introduces and discusses different logics of crime control and the management of populations by means of surveillance. It will walk the students through key surveillance theories, moving from classic theories about the visual via recent re-theorizations of surveillance that take account of new information technologies and big data, as well as practices of resistance to surveillance.

Core themes include

  • the relation between the surveillor and the surveilled,

  • different forms of surveillance, meaning what media and tools are used for surveillance, in which contexts surveillance takes place, and who participates in surveillance,

  • which kinds of crime surveillance addresses and how it contributes to the definition of crime,

  • the effects and the limits of surveillance,

  • the legal dimension and consequences of surveillance practices.

The theoretical part of each session will be complemented and illustrated by matching cases of surveillance practices and politics. Examples can also include elements from the arts (esp. literature, art, film). The course syllabus contains readings from criminology and critical security studies, including classic readings, but also postmodern accounts of surveillance, philosophy and STS.

Learning outcome


The course builds a solid knowledge base about different approaches to and logics of surveillance. At the end of the course, Master students are expected to have a thorough understanding of and be able to discuss the following topics:

  • How have surveillance theories and logics changed over time?

  • Which kind of data, technologies and practices have emerged, and what are their effects on society at large (taking legal, political, and social aspects into account)?

  • What kind of understanding of crime does surveillance imply?

  • What are the limits of surveillance and are there forms of resistance?


At the end of the course, MA students are expected to

  • be able to place the different surveillance theories in historical context and discuss the theoretical knowledge vis-à-vis recent news;

  • evaluate the latest developments in terms of their ethical, political, societal and legal impacts;

  • apply the learned contents to assess the tendencies of future developments in this fast-moving field;

  • think creatively about case studies on surveillance, suggest and develop relevant example research questions and projects


At the end of the course, MA students

  • have enhanced their knowledge about different surveillance phenomena

  • developed their capability to use the relevant theoretical knowledge and vocabulary to assess different criminological phenomena;

  • have deepened their knowledge about analytical tools, which will help them to study phenomena critically and develop their own standpoints on security practices. Tools and insights can also be transferred to other key areas studied in criminology.


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If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with KRIM2957 – Surveillance: Data, technologies, practices




Students are graded on the basis of a 4-day take-home exam that they deliver electronically in Inspera.

Size: Maximum 3600 words (roughly 9 pages). Front page, contents page (optional) and bibliography are not included. If footnotes are used in the text (at the bottom of each page), they are included in the 3600  word limit. Papers that exceed the 3600 word limit will be disallowed.

Any exam at the University of Oslo are being checked for both correct word count and incidents of cheating.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English.You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Marking criteria 

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Explanations and appeals

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Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2019


Autumn 2019

Teaching language