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Dr Garfield Benjamin received an award for his paper titled Playing at Control: Writing Surveillance in/for Gamified Society - about the links between gamification and surveillance in the way power is structured in digital society.

28th February 2020

A Solent University researcher has won one of four Surveillance Studies Network’s 2019 Early Career Researcher Awards for publications in Surveillance & Society.

Postdoctoral Researcher, Dr Garfield Benjamin, received the award for his paper titled Playing at Control: Writing Surveillance in/for Gamified Society - about the links between gamification and surveillance in the way power is structured in digital society, looking at theory as well as how it is represented in fiction.

"Surveillance & Society is the leading journal in surveillance studies,” he says. “It has a strong commitment to high quality work and open access.

“I am delighted to be one of the 2019 Early Career Researcher Award recipients, particularly in the company of great researchers from around the world."

In the paper, Dr Benjamin explains how activities are tracked - from education, to work, to shopping - and progress is monitored with rewards meted out. But this enforced acceptance of constant surveillance constructs a social narrative in which privacy ceases to exist, and the technological tools at work can easily be shifted from reward to control.

His article argues for expanding perspectives on the reach of game analysis to the broader connected networks of cultural and political systems, to assess ways of responding to the idea that the public is being played with and turned into characters in the gamified narratives of control-based surveillance societies.

Dr Benjamin's work seeks to embody Surveillance & Society journal's commitment to transdisciplinarity and promoting understanding across academic disciplines and in wider society, by using examples from fiction and popular culture to examine core theoretical arguments about the impact of surveillance and control in contemporary society.

Read the article in full