Supervised meeting week 7

The first goal of last Tuesday’s session was to specify our research scope. Even if we kept a general question “What is the cost of living online in the 21st century?”, we decided to orientate our research towards the notions of society of control and surveillance state.

Then, we discussed about our presentation structure. The current plan is to divide the presentation into 3 parts. The first one would be more theoretical, the second one analytical and the third one would contain a focus group. We also tried to find ideas to make our presentation more interactive: we thought of using tools like live time polls.

As we did not get the ethical approval yet, it is not sure that we will be able to do a focus group. While waiting for a final response, we plan to work independently on the two first parts to not waste time.

This introduces the second main discussion we had during the supervised meeting: how do we distribute the parts and themes among each group member? How do English, Geography or Politics interfere here? George gave us this as a homework for the next session and asked us to have a presentation plan ready.


The rest of the supervised meeting consisted in a brainstorming where George asked precisions about our ideas. Several interesting questions came out:

  • On which geographical area should our research focus? We are thinking to focus on the West and China, China applying possibly Western’s ideas of surveillance more explicitly.
  • How brutal is the functioning of the online life, can the individual notice that he potentially lives in a society of control?
  • What is the importance of language in the application of a society of control? Do the language used in the ‘terms and conditions” provide an insight of manipulations from the power structures?
  • How do gender, race or sexuality interfere with this notion of surveillance state? Do humans interact differently with it?
  • Can some political theories be applied to this presentation? Possible theories are realism, authoritarianism and liberalism.

Most importantly, George reminded us to permanently think about linking our findings to the notion of conflict, to avoid being out of topic.

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