November 12, 2001

-- The lecture paper is now online! you can also download the pdf file --


David Lyon is a Professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. David Lyon’s research, writing, and teaching interests revolve around major social transformations in the modern world. Questions of the information society, globalization, secularization, surveillance, and postmodernity all feature prominently in his work.

Technology and society: The main currents of Lyon’s work concern the emergence of so-called information societies in Europe, North America, and Pacific Asia. Particular aspects of these include the social origins and consequences of processing personal data -- that is, surveillance -- including digital, video, biometric, and genomic data. Lyon is research director of an international Surveillance Project based at Queen’s, investigating surveillance, risk management, and social ordering in global information societies.

Books on this theme include The Electronic Eye: The Rise of Surveillance Society, Polity / Blackwell 1994, Surveillance Society: Monitoring Everyday Life, Open University Press 2001, and a projected third volume on negotiating, resisting, and limiting surveillance. With Elia Zureik, David Lyon co-edited Computers, Surveillance, and Privacy, Minnesota, 1996. Surveillance as Social Sorting, edited by Lyon, will be published by Routledge in 2002. In a related area Lyon is currently writing a book on the sociology of cyberspace.

Post/Modernity: Research on new technologies and on contemporary religion also raises questions about the mutating shape of modernity and about how sociology could and should be done in these changing circumstances. Lyon produced a short book on Postmodernity (Open University Press / Minnesota, 1994, revised and expanded edition, 1999) which argues that the expansion of new media and consumerism justifies rethinking modernity from these angles. This in turn has implications for the ways that social theory and analysis is done.

David Lyon is a member of the editorial boards of Information Communication, and Society, The American Behavioral Scientist, Information Technology, Education, and Society, and Science and Christian Relief.