Although there are a lot of other features in contemporary society such as information, neoliberalism, globalization, capital, etc., surveillance in general and Internet surveillance in particular are crucial phenomena. The overall aim of A Critical Contribution to (Internet) Surveillance Studies is to clarify how we can theorize and systemize economic surveillance (on the Internet). Surveillance studies scholars like David Lyon (1994, 119-158; 2001, 40-44) stress that economic surveillance such as monitoring consumers or the workplace are central aspects of surveillance societies. The approach that is advanced in this work recognizes the importance of the role of the economy in contemporary surveillance societies.
This work constructs theoretically founded typologies in order to systemize the existing literature of surveillance studies and to analyze examples of surveillance. Therefore, it mainly is a theoretical approach combined with illustrative examples. This thesis contains a systematic discussion of the state of the art of surveillance and clarifies how different notions treat economic aspects of surveillance. In this work it is argued that the existing literature is insufficient for studying economic surveillance (on the Internet). In contrast, a typology of surveillance in the modern economy, which is based on foundations of a political economy approach, allows to systemize economic surveillance and to analyze surveillance in the spheres of production, circulation, and consumption. Constructing a theoretically founded typology of economic surveillance is important in order to undertake a systematic analysis of surveillance in the modern economy.
Finally, some political recommendations are drawn in order to overcome economic (online) surveillance. The thesis can be fruitful for scholars who want to undertake a systematic analysis of surveillance in general and Internet surveillance in particular in the modern economy and who want to study the field of surveillance critically.
Keywords: surveillance studies, Panopticon, information society research, Internet, political economy, economic surveillance, workplace surveillance, pre-employment screening, intellectual property surveillance, consumer surveillance