Alistair Niemeijer about his PhD thesis ‘Surveilling Autonomy, Securing Care’

Surveillance technologies (ST) such as video surveillance, GPS tags and movement sensors are increasingly being used in residential care for vulnerable people, even though they raise various concerns. What does morally good care with surveillance technologies entail? 

Alistair Niemeijer is a PhD researcher at the VU University Medical Center Amsterdam (the Netherlands). He tries to answer this question in his PhD thesis ‘Surveilling Autonomy, Securing Care – exploring good care with surveillance technology in residential care for vulnerable people’. He does so by exploring actual practices of surveillance technologies using several empirical methods, instead of departing from specific theories of good care.

His thesis consequently shows that both the ideology and actual use of ST by caregivers and clients are highly ambivalent, showing the need for sound normative evaluation at a much earlier (design) stage.

In this short video, Alistair Niemeijer explains his research in a nutshell.

About the author: Tessa Roberts-Smorenburg

Tessa Roberts-Smorenburg

Tessa Roberts-Smorenburg (1987) graduated as a master in Ethics of Care and Policy at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht (NL) in 2015. She currently holds the double position of ethical consultant, and policy advisor in the Centre on the Quality of Life and Survivorship, at the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek hospital in Amsterdam (NL). This centre accommodates the physical/psychosocial, supportive and survivorship care for cancer patients. As a sociotherapist she worked in direct contact with patients in psychiatric clinics. Her previous experience at TAAK brought her in contact with visual artists and care institutions to whom she provided an ethics of care perspective during research and project development for the programme “Art & Care”.

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