The social impact of closed circuit television (CCTV) inside mental health wards

Desai, Suki

Social sciences
October 2019

Thesis or dissertation


Rights
© 2019 Suki Desai. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
Abstract

CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) camera use has been a feature of the mental health ward since the 1990s. However, how CCTV surveillance is simultaneously controlling and caring inside the mental health ward has been missing in sociological research. In addition, the use of cameras is also impacted by the nature of patients being cared for inside the ward, that is, those subjects who have a limited cognitive capacity because of the nature of their mental health condition, to understand the panoptic effects of the cameras.

Ethnographic research, inside three psychiatric intensive care units (PICUs), was undertaken in order to examine the actual use of cameras.

Research findings are centred on the perception of violence and mental disorder, the ability of the cameras to undermine the ‘face’ and ethics of care, and subjective experiences of patients. Data analysis is influenced by Foucault’s triangulation of sovereign power, disciplinary power and governmentality and how CCTV shapes patient and staff behaviour, how it coheres with other techniques adopted inside the ward and Foucault’s analysis of pastoral power. The findings suggest that CCTV cameras can be used to the benefit of patients inside the ward, for example, in undertaking less intrusive observations when patients are placed in seclusion. However, their uses can also result in a range of unintended outcomes for patients, for example, through their capacity to criminalise mental health difficulties and potentially minimise the life chances of those people who are already marginalised in society because of their mental health status.

Publisher
Department of Social Sciences, The University of Hull
Supervisor
McCahill, Michael; Holdsworth, Julia
Qualification level
Doctoral
Qualification name
PhD
Language
English
Extent
1 MB
Identifier
hull:17756
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