Surveillance Studies PhDs Sought

Two Scholarships at the PhD level (starting September 2016) are available in the Department of Sociology at Queen’s University to work on a project, funded through a SSHRC Partnership Grant on “Big Data Surveillance” under the supervision of David Lyon and/or David Murakami Wood. The project is a multi-disciplinary and comparative analysis of the development and impact of big data analytics in many domains: security, consumer, health, welfare, electoral, intelligence, employment and others.The project is coordinated through the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University.

1. Big Data Surveillance and Security Intelligence

This PhD would examine some aspect of big data surveillance and Canadian (and other) security intelligence services. Candidates with a background in Political Sociology, Sociology of Organisations, Socio-legal Studies etc. and a particular interest in the study of espionage, the intelligence services or political policing, are encouraged to apply.

2. The Technology of Big Data Surveillance

This PhD would focus on sociotechnical aspects of big data surveillance. We encourage candidates with a background in Science and Technology Studies, Social Studies of Technology, Social Studies of Computing, Sociology of Technology, Software Studies etc. with a particular interest in algorithms, code and analytics. Although a social science approach is essential, a combination of social sciences, computer sciences, and practical experience in computing would be desirable.

In either case, candidates should be suitably qualified students with a MA (or equivalent) in Sociology or related Social Science discipline, and should have theoretical and empirical interests in surveillance studies, privacy and civil liberties. We particularly value professional experience in human rights, civil liberties and the regulation of surveillance and privacy and are prepared to consider professional experience alongside standard academic qualifications.

Students will be funded through a combination of fellowship, research assistance, and teaching assistance funds, to a value of at least $20,000 CDN a year for four years.

In coming to the Department of Sociology at Queen’s, doctoral students will be joining a strong and supportive PhD program based in a department that values excellence in research and teaching. In addition to regular teaching assistant training and support, students will have other opportunities for professional development, such as research training, support for conference presentations and workshop participation, and field research support. Students will also be a part of the Surveillance Studies Centre, with a vibrant intellectual community, including bi-weekly seminars, ad hoc reading groups, occasional public lectures, conferences and workshops.

Applicants must apply for the PhD program in the Department of Sociology and specify their interest in working on this project. The deadline for full consideration for the program is 1st February 2016.

Informal enquiries should be made to David Lyon and/or David Murakami Wood.