Module details for The Social Construction of Surveillance and Cybercrime


Using a perspective that sees technologies as socially constructed this module introduces students to the study of surveillance and cybercrime. It offers an analysis of the ways in which surveillance, cybercrime and cybersecurity can be seen as socio- technical assemblages.


The aim of this module is to provide the student with: a critical understanding of surveillance and cybercrime in the contemporary world and their effect on the lives of individuals and groups. The module uses a perspective that sees technologies as socially constructed. With this perspective and relevant case studies presented in lectures and readings, students will be encouraged to reflexively challenge the boundaries of technology and society, applying confident and creative thinking to academic and industry debates.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Demonstrate knowledge of the social construction of technologies.

2.  Demonstrate knowledge of the ways in which surveillance concepts are tied with surveillance technologies.

3.  Critically explore and understand how the internet and digital technologies change how we conceptualise crime and security.

4.  Critically understand the interdisciplinary nature of the phenomena of cybercrime and surveillance.

Indicative Content

1 Concepts on the Social Study of Technology

such as (a) Social Construction of Technology (b) Technological Determinism (c) Actor-Network Theory.

2 Case Studies in Surveillance

such as (a) Automation of surveillance (b) Algorithmic Surveillance (c) Dataveillance.

3 Case Studies in Cybercrime and Security

such as: (a) malware software (b) security policies and mechanisms (c) Encryption (d) the Dark Web (e) manipulation of trust and reputation.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 24
Tutorial/Seminar 10
Practical Activity 0
Assessment 80
Independent 86
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.