James Gacek

PhD student
Edinburgh Law School
Old College
University of Edinburgh
External web page:

Working Title of PhD: Localizing Locatability: Surveillance Struggles and Experiences of Electronic Monitoring Practices in Edinburgh, Scotland
Year commenced PhD study: 2016
Institution/Organisation: Edinburgh Law School, University of Edinburgh
Funding Source: Cameron PhD Studentship
Full or part-time: Full-time
PhD Supervisors: Richard Sparks and Richard Jones

Electronic monitoring (EM) has become touted as one of the primary solutions to burgeoning prison populations. However, there is a need to examine EM not merely as a technology implemented within offender/community supervision, but as one node within a series of pathways and networks of surveillant schemes, entangling people and places within shifting surveillance strategies and measures. There exists a research lacunae wherein studies seek to examine how ‘surveillance from below’ is conceptualized within place-specific geographies and between criminal justice actors and professionals.

Through interviews with offenders and criminal justice professionals and practitioners, this study undertakes a further examination of the interrelationships between surveillance, punishment, and geography by posing the research question: “How do actors engage with surveillant technologies within place-specific locations?” In effect, this study supplements the clarion call for more research to specifically engage with people, places and institutions which entangle and co-create the experiences of ‘surveillance from below’. Indeed, such a research question initiates several sub-questions, such as ‘what is the difference between a city’s locale and its location, and how does EM factor into this understanding?’ ‘how do offenders experience EM within their city or community spaces?’ ‘how do private security companies experience EM within their city or community spaces?’ ‘how do notions of time, space, and routine impact an actor’s ability to interact with their locale, pre- and post-EM?’ and finally, ‘what do new advances in EM inform us about shifting notions of surveillance, punishment, and crime control?’

Keywords: electronic monitoring, surveillance, punishment