Person holding a cell phone

Call for contributions to Open Access anthology about online surveillance

CALL FOR PAPERS | 20 April 2021

Preliminary title: Everyday Life in the Culture of Surveillance


  • Coppélie Cocq, Umeå University 
  • Jesper Enbom, Umeå University 
  • Stefan Gelfgren, Umeå University 
  • Lars Samuelsson, Umeå University

Contact: Stefan Gelfgren (

Format: Open Access, double-blind peer-reviewed anthology 

Important dates:

  • Deadline for extended abstracts: 24 June 2021
  • Deadline for full submissions: January 2022
  • Peer review: Spring 2022
  • Expected publication: Autumn 2022


Background and aim 

Today, personal data is gathered through the welfare state and healthcare providers; societal infrastructure (electricity, water, demographics, voter statistics, etc.); and voluntarily sharing of our data through use of smartphones, wearables, social media, streaming services, games, and more. Data is gathered, coordinated, and analysed to gain insights into our everyday lives; thus, members of contemporary digitalised societies live in what David Lyon refers to in his book of the same name, The Culture of Surveillance (2018). 

With ubiquitous surveillance the “new normal”, Nordicom and external editors invite contributions for an anthology focusing on the cultural, mundane, and everyday-life aspect of online surveillance – in Lyon’s words, “the participation and engagement of surveilled and surveilling subjects” (2018: 6).

Studies addressing the Nordic countries and their contexts and perspectives will be of particular interest, but studies focusing other countries may also be considered (not least if they are of a theoretical, philosophical, or universal character – an example could be online surveillance from a human rights perspective). A central question to be explored is how online surveillance is perceived and handled by citizens in the Nordic countries – whether it is through acceptance, adaptation, and resistance. Among others, the following are questions to be posed: 

  • What can legitimise the collection and use of personal data, from the perspective of private citizens? 
  • What is perceived as surveillance in our digital age, that is, when does information sharing on social media platforms, for instance, become uncomfortable and risky? 

Whereas attitudes and actions of “ordinary” citizens will be an important theme for the book, contributions focusing on ethical or philosophical questions are also welcome, and so are contributions focusing on policies surrounding online surveillance. The following are potential questions that could be approached, among others: 

  • What ethical aspects of data collection do researchers and policy-makers need to address or compromise with when compiling, sharing, publishing, and analysing large datasets based on private data? 
  • What limitations and potentials does surveillance culture impose in terms of democratisation?    

We anticipate contributions from a variety of disciplines, but especially encourage contributions from the humanities and cultural studies sphere. An ambition with the book is to put forth humanistic perspectives on surveillance and the emergence of surveillance cultures.    



Those with an interest in contributing should write an extended abstract (max. 750 words) where the main theme (or argument) of the intended chapter is described. The abstract should contain the preliminary title and keywords (3–5). How the chapter fits with the overall aim of the anthology – to examine and analyse online surveillance in the Nordics – should be mentioned. 

  • Deadline for extended abstracts: 24 June 2021. Please contact Stefan Gelfgren ( for further information.

Scholars invited to submit a full chapter will be notified by e-mail in August 2021. Guidelines for how individual chapters are to be structured and formatted (including style of referencing) will be provided to all scholars invited to submit a full chapter. 

  • Deadline for the submission of full chapters (approx. 7,000 words): January 2022 (exact date to be decided later). 

Rounds of reviews and revisions are planned to take place during the first half of 2022, and a full manuscript is to be submitted to Nordicom before the summer (2022). 

Please note: The dates are preliminary. The ambition is, however, to publish the book in 2022.


About the publisher

Nordicom is a centre for Nordic media research at the University of Gothenburg, supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Nordicom publishes all works as under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence, which allows for non-commercial, non-derivative types of reuse and sharing with proper attribution. All works are published Open Access and are available to read free of charge and without requirement for registration. Nordicom and the author retain copyright.