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Surveillance at workplace and at home: Social issues in transforming care work with mobile technology

Riikka Vuokko (Åbo Akademi University, Åbo, Finland)

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society

ISSN: 1477-996X

Article publication date: 4 April 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how surveillance facilitates new power relationships.

Design/methodology/approach

This longitudinal qualitative study is predicated on observations of the home care workers interacting with their managers and clients. The emerging picture was complemented with interviews of the participants. The home care workers were chosen as being crucial in the construction of new everyday relationships, and their interpretations were given most value in presenting how surveillance and monitoring relationships are constructed as embedded mundane practices and as emerging from practical needs.

Findings

The paper discusses an implementation and use case of surveillance capable technology in a social home care setting. The findings suggest discrepancy of how surveillance is being interpreted by different participants depending on their positioning in the context of use.

Originality/value

The study presents a case study where surveillance issues emerge not only at the workplace but also in the domestic sphere. The paper explores the workers' role in defining surveillance at the workplace, and questions the limits of legitimate surveillance in the social care context concerning vulnerable citizens as clients.

Keywords

Citation

Vuokko, R. (2008), "Surveillance at workplace and at home: Social issues in transforming care work with mobile technology", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 60-75. https://doi.org/10.1108/14779960810866800

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited