Welcome to The Sociological Cinema!
This site is designed to help sociology instructors incorporate videos into their classes. Check out our blog, look through our pics page, and search our growing database of video clips. Each clip is tagged with appropriate sociological themes and organized for busy instructors. We invite you to join the discussion and comment on how you have used the videos in your classes, and to submit a clip of your own. Enjoy!
Video of the Week
Recent reporting on the status of state surveillance programs inspired our video of the week. This week The Wall Street Journal reported that the Justice Department has been syphoning data from Americans' cell phones by using a device that mimics a cell phone tower. By flying the device over American cities, the Justice Department has been able to capture data from potentially thousands of people at a time. While not denying they capture the data of innocent Americans, the Justice Department claims they restrict their use of the device to hunting down criminals.
Revelations of this surveillance tactic are being made public just as the Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is advancing a bill to rein in the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programs. However, it’s anything but certain that the bill will clear the 60-vote threshold needed to advance through the legislative process.
What drives the growth of state surveillance, and what will be the consequences of such surveillance? These questions are being contemplated by more and more sociologists, many of whom draw from the work of French social theorist Michel Foucault, who suggested a panopticon might be a useful metaphor for grappling with the issue. For Foucault, surveillance is more than just means of exercising a top-down power. Rather, it facilitates a micro-physics of power that can be conceived of as swarming all around us ... Read more here, and check out our Pinterest board, which explores the issue of surveillance.