Prague SECONOMICS Discussion Papers 2014/3: The Xanadu of surveillance: Report on security perceptions in the British online media

Jessie Hronesova (ISASCR)
Tristan Caulfield (ABDN)
Petra Guasti (ISASCR)
Institute of Sociology Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague

This paper operationalizes the concept of risk, framing it in terms of the dangers and threats which affect security concerns in the UK. Furthermore, we focus on risks that are a product of modern science and society and analyze security through a constructivist prism mediated by social and cultural processes and realities. Epistemologically, we do not analyze security as “real” or “objective,” but as a constructed phenomenon. We study advanced technology and their consequences, such as cyber warfare. We also study security technology in particular, such as closed circuit TV systems and body scanners.

As a result of this focus, two institutions come into play: the state and the media. Due to its power, the state plays the key role in maintaining and increasing the security of its citizens through various security measures. But the understanding and acceptance of these measures is mediated by newspapers and broadcasters. Since there is currently little exhaustive research on how the media considers perceptions of security in their reporting, this paper hopes to make a substative contribution to the growing field of security studies.