sabato, Gennaio 22, 2022

Surveillance and Shame in Dave Eggers’s The Circle


Shame is a complex and controversial emotion, but there are commonly accepted notions of shame which revolve around questions regarding exposure, appearance and visibility. As Jonathan Finn notes, through digitalization and camera surveillance in public spaces, surveillance has become a “way of seeing, a way of being” (2012). Thus, the question of visibility — or invisibility — is as inherent to the concept of surveillance as it is to that of shame. Social media users tend to contribute to disempowering exhibition by sharing their personal information in the online public domain. In other words: today’s “Funopticon” (Lewis 2017) is all about self-exposure. Shame, on the other hand, is generally perceived as an affect that emerges from fear of exposure. But how sustainable is this notion of shame in light of contemporary digital ‘surveillance culture’ (Lyon 2017)? I will examine shame against the backdrop of digital surveillance in Dave Eggers’s The Circle (2013), while also drawing comparisons to our contemporary condition in the culture of surveillance.