All consuming surveillance: surveillance as marketplace icon

Kirstie Ball*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    With consumers and their activities routinely visible through online, mobile and social media, to both their peers and to corporations, this article examines surveillance as a marketplace icon. Surveillance is central to the construction of consumers and markets. Many contemporary marketing practices are surveillant as they rely on the collection, analysis and application of consumer data to place advertising, define market segments and to nudge consumer behaviours. Consumer surveillance is also an enactment of corporate power, attempting to align individual preferences with corporate goals. The historical origins of surveillance and the emergence of the surveillance–industrial–entertainment complex are explored, which highlights how surveillance, as well as a process for defining markets is also an object of consumption. The future sees a huge struggle for consumer data between two great centres of surveillance power – the state and the corporation – as they battle over data use for national security.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)95-100
    Number of pages6
    JournalConsumption Markets and Culture
    Issue number2
    Early online date29 Apr 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Consumer surveillance
    • Marketplace icon
    • Markets
    • Power
    • Surveillance
    • Surveillance–industrial complex


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