Book Reviews for Windows into the Soul: Surveillance and Society in an Age of High Technology
By Gary T. Marx, Professor Emeritus, MIT  |  Bio  |  Back to Main Page
This book is not easy reading, but it is thought provoking
Short excerpts    |    Full reviews    |    Additional material not published in the print edition

Short excerpts

See also Gary T. Marx's satirical(?) review of real and imagined reviews

Find brief reviews by author last name: A-E  |  F-J  |  K-R  |  S-Z

Author A-E

David L. Altheide, Information, Communication and Society
This is a very important book... The 44 items of "Techno-Fallacies of the Information Age" (Chapter 12) are stunningly insightful.... He lucidly navigates the conundrums through the experience of a fictitious character, Rocky Bottoms... Just when you think you have clarity on the individual and societal impacts of surveillance, Professor Marx seems to say, "yeah, but..." And it is the "but" that really gets your attention, such as the final chapter (14), "Windows Into Hearts and Souls: Clear, Tinted, or Opaque Today?" Read full review

J.A. Beicken, Choice Magazine
"In his most recent and grandest work on the subject, Marx (emeritus, MIT) wrestles with the behemoth that is surveillance... He offers a conceptual map for scholars to tackle the murky moments of the new surveillance, from Snowden to polygraphs. Employing unorthodox methods for sociology, including fictional chapters, the work is an important contribution to surveillance studies and to the field of sociology as a whole. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries." Read full review

Paul Bernal, Times Higher Education Supplement
"A challenging, thoughtful, erudite and at times very entertaining book. It is a work that draws on Marx's long experience, detailed empirical research and intense scholarship, but weaves these things together without the loss of coherence of narrative that so often dogs academic work... The coverage is breathtakingly broad and the book is a long one, supplemented by additional material on Marx's website... Not only an important book but a necessary one." Read full review

Marcella Siqueira Cassiano, Asian Review of Criminology
"Windows into the Soul offers comprehensive and critical reflections on the shapes and trends of human surveillance... Marx outlines his analytical uncertainties to the reader [this] makes Windows refreshing and even more insightful because it leaves the discussion unfinished, enticing the reader to pose new questions and alternative ways of organizing the phenomenon and the field... Marx's might have intended for Windows to be an encyclopedic-conceptual handbook of surveillance for researchers of the field, but it also turned out to be a rigorous and inspiring exemplar of Weber's methodological strategies." Read full review

Antonia Cioancă, The Romanian Journal of Society and Politics
"'Windows into the Soul' offers a broad and complex image in a rather fragmented and dynamic field of inquiry... The book offers an excellent analysis of the contemporary structures, processes, and goals of surveillance... provides highly valuable materials for building unhurried judgments about surveillance in contemporary society." Read full review

Jeffrey Clapp, Law and Literature
"Marx's approach to his subject is exhaustive and can feel exhausting. However, one use for these materials is immediately apparent: as aids to teaching. For a class on surveillance studies, it is hard to imagine any more generously gathered—and easily excerpted—précis of the kinds of questions that can, do, or might arise about surveillance." Read full review

Ron Corbett, former probation official, U Mass Lowell
"Professor Marx's magisterial study of the role of surveillance in society is not just an epic contribution to the sociological literature but a useful tutorial for criminal justice practitioners. Those of us with careers in criminal justice have watched the creeping role that advances in surveillance technology have played in "looking in" on suspects and, later, tracking offenders under correctional supervision. Marx's waterfront-style coverage of the frequently unnoticed ethical and professional dilemmas embedded in the growing use of surveillance provides a useful antidote to the reflexive use of ever more intrusive devices. Reading Windows will inform and guide all criminal justice officials who want to exploit technology's help while keeping in mind its real potential to be a double-edged sword."

Craig Curtis, New Political Science
"Gary T. Marx' book, Windows into the Soul, provides a telling look into the underlying normative principles of a free society faced with incredible advances in technology coupled with a new and extremely worrying global terrorism threat... Marx examines the question of just how we should think about technological surveillance in a democratic society... Marx is a notable scholar with an impressive body of work in this area. His expertise shows throughout, as does his encyclopedic knowledge of the classic works and principles of social science... The quality of the ideas and the questions posed are very enlightening and well worth the effort to read... The best part of the book comes in the final chapter. It is here that the moral, ethical, and normative theoretical issues are laid out in a well-organized fashion." Read full review

Amitai Etzioni, author of Privacy in a Cyber Age
"Just when you think that you have read everything necessary about the surveillance state, comes this exceptional volume by a leading scholar that provides a whole book full of new insights and observations into an age old subject. Drawing on psychology, sociology, and keen observations, this is a text you will not want to miss."

Author F-J

Claire Gartland, EPIC Alert
"In Windows into the Soul, Marx takes a critical social science approach to the study of surveillance and social control. Marx's exploration of the field of surveillance studies is cumulative and inclusive, involving empirical, theoretical, ethical, and practical questions. References to literature, cinema, and pop culture are woven throughout the book, adding humor and illustration to Marx's close study of a fascinating topic... Marx concludes that the ideal is 'a positive information society based on fairness, dignity, care, openness, trust, security, autonomy/participation, and communality, rather than a negative surveillance society based on unfairness, commodification, coercion, secrecy, suspicion, insecurity, domination/repression, and atomization." Read full review

Peter Grabosky, Criminal Justice
"The first word that came to mind while reading this book was cornucopia. After decades of research on surveillance, Gary Marx has delivered an abundant harvest indeed. The book is much more than a straightforward treatise. It borders on the encyclopedic, and is literally overflowing with ideas, observations, and analyses. Windows into the Soul commands the attention of anyone interested in surveillance, past, present, and future. The book's website contains a rich abundance of complementary material. An additional chapter consists of an intellectual autobiography discussing the author's interest in, and personal experience with, surveillance over the course of his career. Because of its extraordinary breadth, the book should appeal to a wide readership... it will be of interest to scholars of deviance and social control, cultural studies, criminal justice and criminology. But the book should be read well beyond the towers of academe. The security industry, broadly defined to include private security and intelligence companies as well as state law enforcement and intelligence agencies, would benefit from the book's insights. So too should it be read by those in the information technology industries, including the manufacturers of the devices and applications which are central to contemporary surveillance, and which are shaping our future." Read full review

Keith Guzik, Society Magazine
"Gary T. Marx's (2016) magnum opus, Windows into the Soul, comes at an opportune time.... Marx's capstone on his decades-long engagement with the topic helps identify points of obstruction in the field. And in doing this, the book offers key paths forward for scholars studying surveillance and offers disciplinary lessons that any social scientist would benefit from....[In] breaking surveillance down into its constituent elements and detailing their composition—Marx's work is simply without peer. Each chapter of the book is dedicated to a different broad dimension of surveillance." Read full review.

Donna Halper, IEEE Technology and Society Magazine
"The book provides a thoughtful discussion about the ethics of surveillance, as well as the balancing act governments and corporations maintain... this book meets a very pressing need: it provides a thorough and fair examination of different theories about surveillance, and allows the reader to benefit from exposure to multiple perspectives. Marx knows he is dealing with a complex and constantly changing subject, and he does not try to offer simplistic solutions. Rather, his approach in writing Windows into the Soul is to encourage further conversation and further research. This is definitely a book that both academics and non-academics will want to discuss." Read full review

Robert Hauptman, Journal of Information Ethics
"Windows into the Soul offers a framework for surveillance structure, organization, practice, function, process, culture (including lengthy fictional scenarios), and ethical considerations round out... a "magisterial" study... This is Marx's strongpoint: a taxonomic completeness in many categories couched in a precise and expansive terminology, presented in many detailed charts and tables... There is so much diverse material in this encyclopedic overview that the publisher expunged chapters on art, music, advertisements, policy, and other topics, some of which are available on the University of Chicago Press's website. Here one will discov er a total of 156 additional pages often beautifully illustrated." Read full review

Mireille Hildebrandt, author of Smart Technologies and the End(s) of Law: Novel Entanglements of Law and Technology
"Marx's Windows into the Soul addresses the one-way mirror stacked up to provide law enforcement and business enterprise with penetrating knowledge of anyone anywhere. In his magnificent style of inquiry Marx zooms in on the myriad ways by which this multi-focal mirror is engineered, instituted, and maintained. Expanding on his broad and deep knowledge of the capillaries of emerging surveillance engines, taking an analytical approach in the tradition of Goffman, Marx incorporates a pertinent acuity in relation to both technical and cultural aspects. He takes empirical research to another level. Ushering the reader beyond the current fascination for solutionism and Big Data fetishism, this book raises rigorous empirical questions, while testing the hidden assumptions of supposedly neutral solutions. A great read for all who need to know how back-stage operations inform front-stage presentations in the wondrous world of private and public surveillance."

Bruce Jacobs, International Criminal Justice Review
"The book is detailed, well-written, and smartly organized. Academic readers will appreciate the conceptual categories and taxonomies Marx uses to assemble the chapters and themes within the chapters. Academic readers also will appreciate the detailed footnotes and citations to studies as a way to organize many of the broader libertarian and justice-related issues the book identifies." Read full review

Sue C. Jansen, Secrecy and Society, Vol. I No. 2, February 2018
"No review can begin to do justice to this grand synthesis of a lifetime of critical social science research on surveillance... Marx dresses his encyclopedic quest in sharply crafted prose that has astrong but 'humbly skeptical' voice full of wit and wisdom, which informs, surprises and intrigues as he culls examples and insights from sources ranging from Shakespeare to Superman... Marx has proposed a laudable normative standard for democratic surveillance, much as Jurgen Habermas has developed one for democratic communication. They provide platforms for critics and activists to call out violations of democratic ideals." Read full review

Robert Jervis, author of Why Intelligence Fails: Lessons from the Iranian Revolution and the Iraq War
"For better and for worse, surveillance is now central to politics and our lives, and Marx's magisterial survey is essential to understanding its multiple forms and facets. Simultaneously personal and learned, it is full of ideas and connections. To call it eye-opening would not only be too much of a pun but would be an understatement—it is mind-opening. Marx gives us no easy answers, but ensures that we will ask better questions."

Author K-R

J. Robert Lilly, Northern Kentucky University
"Marx's book is a brilliant summary of a vast literature and a clear and much needed conceptual clarification in the still emerging field of surveillance studies. His sage writing is very lucid, entertaining and informative. It's a great singular read or an excellent companion to other well received and relevant surveillance studies including Joseph Turow's The Aisles Have Eyes."

David Lyon, author of Surveillance after Snowden
"Marx, a leading figure in surveillance studies for more than twenty-five years, has at last published his maxime magnum opus, Windows into the Soul. The book breaks new ground and establishes some of the parameters of this expanding disciplinary area. It reflects his broad vision, expansive imagination, infectious curiosity, commitment to sensitive scholarship and to social justice, grasp of several cognate disciplines, awareness of the significance of popular culture, and an irrepressible sense of humor and grace. Marx's perceptions are uncompromising and he engages, rather than shying away from, difficult issues. This work will continue to inspire new generations of surveillance scholars—whatever their disciplinary backgrounds or theoretical perspectives."

Kevin Macnish, Surveillance and Society
"Anyone who has listened to Gary Marx talk, or spent any time on his website, will know what a truly prodigious knowledge and understanding he has of surveillance in contemporary society. This book... is demonstrative of this impressive grasp on the subject. Marx's framework is both practical and approachable... Windows into the Soul is of tremendous value. In addition, the work is entertaining throughout with a number of cartoons, references to popular culture, and a rich sense of irony. This is a valuable work that provides an analytic framework for approaching Surveillance Studies while avoiding the temptation to find simple solutions or offer easy judgments. It should find its way onto the shelves of every serious scholar and student of surveillance."

Brendan McQuade, Critical Sociology
"Marx's thorough effort to parse the intricacies of different surveillance processes is admirable and, often, suggestive. Unfortunately, Marx never uses his proposed conceptualization to approach any empirical problem." Read full review

Fran Morente, Revista de Investigaciones Politicas y Sociologicas (translated from Spanish)
"Gary T. Marx, emeritus professor at MIT, has spent a lifetime devoted to sociology in capital letters... Windows into the Soul is a compendium and deep reflection drawing on the laboriously elaborated fruit of a lifetime of work... As Marx points out at the beginning of the book: "the artist knows that something worthwhile lies within, but only immersion in the work can reveal it" (Marx, 2017: IX). The book is therefore a humble, but necessary, demolition of the epistemological barriers that inhibit understanding surveillance—whether these involve prejudice or annoying inaccuracies." Read full review  |  Read full review in the original Spanish

Courteney O'Connor, London School of Economics Review of Books
"There are two phrases which I think well represent both the book and the field of surveillance itself. The first is that 'surveillance is neither good nor bad, but context and comportment make it so' (320). The second is that 'modern democratic society is a farrago in a cauldron of conundrums accompanied by myths shielding harsher realities' (309). I most definitely recommend this book to academics, security practitioners and those interested in surveillance and security." Read full review

Priscilla M. Regan, Society
"Marx's research and writing are very much in the tradition of Lewis Mumford, an historian and philosopher, Erving Goffman, a sociologist, and Seymour Martin Lipset, a political scientist and sociologist—all intellectual giants of the twentieth century whose scholarship revealed and explained much about post World War II society and whose insights continue to inform how we view the world today. Gary T. Marx's concern that social scientists have been overly concerned with narrow methodologies and speaking to the informed audience sharing their perspective derives from his respect for the earlier social scientists who asked large research questions and systematically evaluated the evidence. It is this type of scholarship that makes a long-lasting intellectual contribution. I suspect Windows into the Soul will as well." Read full review

Hanna Reichel, Criminologia (translated from German)
"Sociologist Gary T. Marx is one of the pioneers in surveillance studies....Thirty years after his famous publication on undercover police he has now published a second, far reaching monograph....Windows into the Soul impresses the reader through its content, as well as through its analytic stringency and the density of the material offered....With ease, Marx approaches the complex and difficult questions of contemporary surveillance culture. Without any doubt, this must be defined as his "Opus magnum" and rightfully so. However, in the reading it is much lighter and more entertaining than such a heavy title would make the reader believe." Read full review

Marc Rotenberg, editor; Privacy in the Modern Age: The Search for Solutions
"Few scholars have done more to shape the public understanding of the surveillance society than Marx. Drawing on theory and interviews, law and culture, Greek philosophers and rock and roll lyrics, Marx has made interesting and accessible the world of the watcher and the watched. Windows into the Soul carries forward a lifetime of inquiry and exploration. More than any other scholar, Marx has placed the study of surveillance before the public in a way that is rich in insight and filled with light touches."

James B. Rule, British Journal of Criminology
"From the beginning, Gary T. Marx played a critical role in shaping these deep shifts in the tectonic plates underlying our theoretical [surveillance] landscape... In Undercover (Marx, 1988), perhaps his most celebrated work, he developed a searching analysis of situations where police investigators assumed the identities of participants... That work is properly hailed as a masterpiece for its sensitive accounts of the effects of these activities... All these analytical and moral virtues are on display in Windows into the Soul. In many ways, this is a still more ambitious work than its predecessors. Here, he aims to present nothing less than a conspectus of lessons learned about surveillance over a long and distinguished career, a career devoted not only to empirical studies but also to deep reflection on the changing roles of surveillance and their significance for key values." Read full review

Author S-Z

Minas Samatas, author of Surveillance in Greece
"Gary T. Marx's latest book Windows into the Soul is a treasure—a joyful, entertaining sociological work reflecting a lifetime of study. It brings wisdom, experience, enthusiasm and humor to complex issues affecting everyone. The book is useful and fun to read, containing provocative chapters such as those on work monitoring ("The Omniscient Organization") and national security/law enforcement ("Rocky Bottoms.") Furthermore, it makes great use of images and music to illustrate how we experience surveillance through popular culture. This is a book for the general reader as well as the specialist."

Bruce Schneier, author of Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
"In a world punch-drunk on data, with both governments and corporations—not to mention private persons—increasingly recording and correlating our every move, Windows into the Soul is an important and timely book. With his decades of academic and policy experience, there's no one better than Marx to examine and explain surveillance in all its facets and complexities." Sara Shay, MIT Technology Review
"Marx walks readers through how to evaluate all the new data that today's surveillance technologies can collect, and he examines the issues that data can raise. He uses social-science research and his own interviews and observations to explore and explain the ethical, political, and cultural arguments that are used to justify and oppose surveillance efforts—and to look at their effects on people's social, personal, and professional lives." Read full review

Robert E. Smith, Privacy Journal
"Marx, a retired MIT scholar of the scrutiny of individuals through new and sophisticated technology, has written a book revisiting his conclusions after a long career as a sort of Sixties-oriented sociology expert on surveillance and its impact on individuals' autonomy and privacy... Marx has always peppered his scholarship with whimsy and wit, and his latest work is no exception." Read full review

William G. Staples, Contemporary Sociology
"The book is an important and timely statement on the subject; but more, it is a tour de force of Marx's trademark witty intelligence, engaging writing, and insightful social commentary... It is a provocative and bold summation of a life's work that challenges us to eschew inflated pronouncements and focus our attention on understanding the context and consequences of the new technologies and surveillance mechanisms that permeate our lives." Read full review

Justin E. C. Tetrault, Policing and Society
"Gary T. Marx has played a vital role in anchoring surveillance studies as a distinct and important area of research.... Marx's playful writing and crisp articulation make surveillance and social control approachable and coherent for inquiring minds and researchers old and new.... Marx has a presence in Windows that awards the book personality and wit, as pages are brought to life with humour, pop culture references, cartoons, and stories (both fictional and real)....the text is a must-read for anyone entering the field." Read full review

Robert Thornton-Lee, Surveillance and Society
"Windows into the Soul is a distillation of the best of sociology and surveillance studies, it probes, it provokes, and it presents an account of the many tensions at the heart of surveillance... Windows is the product of a career's worth of knowledge, experience, and research that enables Marx to move seamlessly between empirical work, satirical accounts, and theoretically grounded discussions... Marx has crafted an exceptionally crafted piece of sociological writing which constantly reminds us of the demands and questions we must ask of ourselves, of technology, and of society." Read full review

Kevin Walby, American Journal of Sociology
"What Marx does in Windows into the Soul is create parameters for the social scientific study of surveillance in the 21st century... Windows into the Soul is a snapshot of the work of an original, wide-ranging scholar who has done much to develop the study of surveillance." Read full review

Nils Zurawski, Kriminologisches (translated from German)
"Gary T. Marx begins his book with a quotation from the English version of Franz Kafka's penal colony: 'It's a remarkable piece of apparatus.' In fact, this is a remarkable book... The detailed [fictional] stories make his analysis vivid, while serving to clearly develop his own reasoning. It is unusual, at least for German readers, to get an analysis presented in this way, especially since the stories are not gloomy dystopias. Gary T Marx develops and clearly writes these sociological fictions with a great sense of irony and accuracy." Read full review  |  Read full review in the original German

Find brief reviews by author last name: A-E  |  F-J  |  K-R  |  S-Z

Full Reviews

See also Gary T. Marx's satirical(?) review of real and imagined reviews

J.A. Beicken, in Choice Magazine
Sociologists have grappled with the increasing presence of surveillance in everyday life. Early notions about surveillance from Orwell to Huxley suggested apocalyptic doom. In his most recent and grandest work on the subject, Marx (emer., MIT) wrestles with the behemoth that is surveillance, attempting to synthesize the burgeoning field of surveillance studies while maintaining skepticism of its tendency toward pessimism about the implications of surveillance technologies' exponential growth. The book can be summed up with one sentence: "Surveillance is neither good nor bad but context and comportment make it so (most of the time)." (emphasis in original) Where Foucault saw increased social control, Marx acknowledges the fallibility and duality of surveillance as well as the increased possibility of resistance or neutralization. In his conceptual text, Marx is primarily interested in what the new surveillance means for knowledge. As such, he offers a conceptual map for scholars to tackle the murky moments of the new surveillance, from Snowden to polygraphs. Employing unorthodox methods for sociology, including fictional chapters, the work is an important contribution to surveillance studies and to the field of sociology as a whole.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.

Back to short excerpts

Marcella Siqueira Cassiano, in Asian Review of Criminology
American sociologist Charles Wright Mills once warned us that good social analyses require the continued examination and interpretation of existing materials to substantiate general statements about the shape and the trend of the subject (2000, 201–202). An exemplar of what Mills called Bgood work, Gary T. Marx's Windows into the Soul: Surveillance and Society in an Age of High Technology offers comprehensive and critical reflections on the shapes and trends of human surveillance.

Throughout the book's four sections, Marx achieves his goal of providing the reader both a conceptual map and an encyclopedic reference source of surveillance in modern Western society. Part one dissects surveillance as a social action (Weber 1978) into a series of static components. This discussion facilitates the assessment and analysis of the core concepts related to surveillance as a static category and as a process (38–39).

Part two locates surveillance practices in the real world Bas an ongoing series of events (113). Part three offers sharp and precise ideal types (Weber 1978) concerned with surveillance. In these abstracted and fictitious typologies, Marx explores different scenarios involving distinct surveillance agents: employer, parent, voyeur, and government. Organized into four chapters, this is the strongest section of these Bwindows^ into surveillance because it presents the study topic as an assemblage of intersecting meaningful social actions involving surveil- lance agents and sometimes resisting subjects.

The last section of the book discusses a series of commonly used fallacious^ justifications (269–275) for using surveillance. It also offers an Bethical roadmap in the format of a questionnaire, to assess the potential harms that surveillance can cause to the watcher (278); a dimension that, in comparison with the watched, is little explored in the field. This roadmap serves as a reminder for surveillance researchers to review their assumptions and claims (326), so they can avoid technophobia or technophilia (323–326). Windows into the Soul draws on a multitude of resources to map the strategies and processes involved in efforts to discover information about individuals, groups, and contexts. Marx focuses therefore on the means of surveillance (20), with an emphasis on the techno- logical devices used to create and extract information. He marks a distinction between surveillance that operates through sensorial organs and forms of surveillance that occur through automated digital means. However, such devices do not operate seamlessly and must overcome assorted obstacles and restrictions—a recognition that helps to round out many existing definitions of surveillance (Lyon 2007; Jenkins 2012; Smith 2012; Haggerty and Trottier 2015). The definitions currently available tend to be more descriptive and somewhat neutral, rather than analytical and critical.

Marx organizes surveillance into nonstrategic and strategic, arguing that the latter characteristically encompasses tools and rules, as means intended to manage surveillance. The management of strategic surveillance requires tools that create or prohibit conditions of visibility and legibility and rules around the use of such tools (16). While the tools facilitate surveillance, the rules provide legitimacy. Further, he subdivides strategic surveillance into traditional surveillance, typical of preindustrial societies, and new surveillance, the type seen today and the principal subject of surveillance studies.

Relying on Weber's methodological strategy, Marx conceptualizes traditional and new sur- veillance by creating a fictional typology that accentuates their individual characteristics (50–51). In doing so, Marx isolates a few characteristics, such as tools and rules (58), for which he finds no clear and substantial evidence for contrasting both types of surveillance (57–58).

His hesitation to claim tools and rules to a lesser extent, as a distinctive characteristic of the new surveillance, raises questions about his argument: the central and distinctive characteristic of the new surveillance (46–52) stems from technical means (i.e., tools) that can convert extracted and created information into digital formats, allowing real-time data management and interpretation (49). However, by outlining his analytical uncertainties, Marx leaves the discussion unfinished, enticing the reader to seek alternative ways of theorizing nontraditional forms of surveillance.

Marx's analysis of the historical progression of surveillance leads to a nuanced examination of the dimensions of surveillance that remain fundamentally unchanged, such as the goals of surveillance. In addition to discovery and verification of information, Marx argues that surveillance serves a multiplicity of often interconnected and overlapping conceptual goals: compliance, record keeping, strategic advantage, safety, profit, self-knowledge, and curiosity.

Achieving such goals entails managing various nonmutually exclusive kinds of personal information about a Bcore identity^ (102) that are context-sensitive, such as public, private, and sensitive. Thus, an effective analysis of surveillance also requires the researcher to account for the following: the settings where surveillance takes place; the types of surveillance; the types of compliance; the substance and nature of the information collected through the many types of surveillance; and the strategies to resist and counter-resist surveillance.

Surveillance, regardless of its forms and goals, must be interpreted in action as a social process that includes continual resistance and counter-resistance. Thus, Marx's analysis includes not only surveillance technologies and techniques per se but also how surveillance practitioners and subjects feel and experience watching and being watched. In this vein, Marx warns his readers that the tools to extract and create information can overlap with the data collection process (108). However, surveillance subjects tend not to be aware of this overlap as they seldom have access to the data.

Seemingly aware of the transformation of surveillance in Asian societies, Marx reports that he conducted interviews in China and Japan. However, he does not refer to these materials in the book, nor does he explain how these interviews might have contributed to his insights. With exception of a few brief comments about China (3, 134, and 334), Windows into the Soul focuses on the shapes and trends of surveillance in the West, especially the USA. However, Marx's book can trigger insights in scholars researching the transformation of governance, deviance, and surveillance in Asian societies.

Many of Marx's arguments, if not most, apply to the transformation of surveillance in China, where data collection and creation have become increasingly softer (46), embedded in daily activities, and stored in real-time. However, with respect to the relationship of surveillance and the notions of privacy and publicity (23–25 and 27–28), one can argue that surveillance in China operates differently than that in North America. While the new surveil- lance tends to blur the boundaries between public (society) and private (self) in North America, it tends to accentuate the boundaries between society and self in China by forging, forcing, and reinforcing new and old identities (cf. Jeffreys 2009; Wang 2005).

Marx intends Windows into the Soul to be an encyclopedic-conceptual handbook for researchers in surveillance studies. In fulfilling this goal, it also serves as a rigorous and inspiring exemplar of Weber's methodological strategies. Researchers seeking to experiment with a sociological toolkit designed to scrutinize behaviors and motives in search of meaningful similarities will certainly benefit from this book.

Haggerty, K. D., & Trottier, D. (2015). "Surveillance and/of nature." Society & Animals, 23(4), 400–420.
Jeffreys, E. (2009). China's governmentalities: Governing change, changing government. London: Routledge.
Jenkins, R. (2012). "Identity, surveillance and modernity." In D. Lyon, K. D. Haggerty, & K. Ball (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Surveillance Studies (pp. 159–166). Abingdon: Routledge.
Lyon, D. (2007). Surveillance studies: An overview. Cambridge: Polity.
Mills, C. W. (2000). The sociological imagination. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Smith, G. J. D. (2012). "Surveillance work(ers)." In D. Lyon, K. D. Haggerty, & K. Ball (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Surveillance Studies (pp. 107–115). Abingdon: Routledge.
Wang, F.-l. (2005). Organizing through Division and Exclusion: China's Hukou System. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Weber, M. (1978). Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Back to short excerpts

Robert Hauptman, in The Journal of Information Ethics
Gary Marx has devoted much of his professional life to the study of surveillance, and Windows into the Soul gestated for at least 20 years. The topic was of some interest as early as Bentham's hypothesized Panopticon and the many actualized applications that it engendered, in hospital design for example. Warren and Brandeis peripherally touched on surveillance in their famous 1890 article and in 1967 Alan Westin produced his influential study of privacy. There followed innumerable prescient and useful works on both privacy and surveillance including pointed encyclopedias, none of which managed to stem the tide: Surveillance increased, which resulted in privacy encroachments unimaginable just a few decades earlier. Marx insists that technology is the cause and the new surveillance the result. We are inhabited and controlled by a new more potent form so pervasive that we have given in and voluntarily offer our help. Some people fret and complain about privacy arrogations and the harm they do, but even these folks do not mind sharing data and information to conveniently accomplish insignificant things such as identifying, purchasing, minor selling and earning, or the acquisition of meaningless lagniappes and, naturally, they present the world with highly personal data, information, and images on social media and the Internet. Most people unthinkingly and uncaringly share codes, financial data and sources, social security numbers, passwords, and even extremely sexually oriented images and videos. Because of all of this they lose their identities, savings, or dignity, and suffer embarrassment (or ecstasy).

Windows into the Soul offers a framework for surveillance "structure, organization, practice, function, and process." Surveillance sources both traditional (data derived from unaided senses) and the new (data derived technically from multiple sources) are extensive. Surveillance for Marx is an extremely far-reaching complex of diverse activities, many of which do not at first glance appear to fall under the surveillance rubric, because social control is only part of the picture but here they nonetheless are. A large chart on cost, operation, timing, and 31 other dimensions indicates how drastically the new surveillance departs from the older form, but the goals (control, discovery, protection, verification, selling, and many others) remain constant. Additionally, less evident goals and the connections among all possibilities as well as the setting in which the various types of data are collected must be considered. And it is here that Marx provides three more extensive charts listing types of collected material (individual, shared, mobile, beliefs, etc.) as well as dimensions of information (accessible, biological, alterable, etc.) in innumerable subdivided categories. All of this occurs in a social context and thus there exist "...norms that sustain respect for the person by protecting zones of intimacy..." although it is sometimes difficult to perceive these in our surveilled environments. Social processes, culture (including lengthy fictional scenarios), and ethical considerations round out what has correctly been called a "magisterial" study. In the latter section, we find 44 techo-fallacies divided into five categories as well as an ethical framework for individual surveillance through the posing of a series of 40 questions in nine distinct categories.

This is Marx's strongpoint: A taxonomic completeness in many categories couched in a precise and expansive terminology, presented in many detailed charts and tables tells the story that he fleshes out in a 400 page narrative so overwhelming with interfering, observing, recording, testing, archiving (not to mention smelling, scanning, and snooping) that one wonders whether anything we do or say is truly private or secretive or protected. If government is harmfully invasive, corporations are worse, and unsuspected individuals may be in a position to do the most harm. There is so much diverse material in this encyclopedic overview that the publisher expunged chapters on art, music, advertisements, policy, and other topics, some of which are available on the University of Chicago Press's website at . Here one will discover a total of 156 additional pages often beautifully illustrated. (It must have been heart-rending for Marx to have this material removed from the physical book.)

This is usually the end of the sordid tale: We are under attack and there is little that can be done to counter the onslaught; everyone wants to know out secrets, protect us from ourselves, and sell us more junk. But here is a really big surprise: There are many ways in which the surveilling ogre can be defeated in personal relationships, under governmental scrutiny, and from corporate hegemony (in employment, consumer, and medical situations)--in person, on the street, and in cyberspace. Challenges come from "civil liberties, consumer, and worker organizations." A chart offers "Twelve neutralization moves" (avoid, distort, block, refuse). Marx holds that surveillance is a neutral entity and that context and comportment are the determining ethical factors. His final charts offer 17 points that enhance a broad surveillance (informational society, technical progress, reward-seeking subjects), but 13 that counter them (protective technologies, improved resistance, new normative protections, contraction). Marx neither affirms nor denies and yet,

The ideal ought to be a positive information society based on fairness, dignity, care, openness, trust, security, autonomy/participation, and community, rather than a negative surveillance society based on unfairness, commodification, coercion, secrecy,suspicion, insecurity, domination/repression, and atomization.
Nevertheless, the trend appears to favor oversight and we are now not far removed from an Orwellian dystopia with everyone watching (scrutinizing, to be more precise) in one way or another.

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Kevin Macnish, in Surveillance and Society
Anyone who has listened to Gary Marx talk, or spent any time on his website, will know what a truly prodigious knowledge and understanding he has of surveillance in contemporary society. This book, which David Lyon has described as Marx's maxime magnum opus, is demonstrative of this impressive grasp on the subject.

Windows into the Soul, a deliberate misquote of Elizabeth I (pg. 1), divides into four parts. The first two of these provide an excellent framework for analysis of surveillance, the third a collection of satirical stories that illustrate concerns with much of contemporary surveillance, and the fourth the beginning of a normative analysis. Taking these in turn, the first two parts offer a structure for analysis of what Marx has long called the "new" surveillance. Early on he distinguishes this from traditional surveillance, although it is not clear exactly where the distinction lies. This has a tendency of leading the reader to question whether a particular example given is really "new" or traditional, which can become a distraction. It was not obvious to me why much of the analysis in this section could not equally be applied to 19th century means of surveillance, or even those of Elizabeth I, as to the 21st century. However, it is certain that Marx has in his sights the particular target of contemporary surveillance practices.

Part I considers the contexts and structures of surveillance, the means of surveillance, the goals of surveillance, and the types of data collected. In considering means, for example, Marx raises questions regarding how comprehensive the surveillance is, who collects it, where they collect it, and what technology they have available. Turning to goals, he lists twelve concepts ranging from compliance through profit and symbolism to curiosity and self-knowledge. Here he is critical of Foucault and of those who follow Foucauldian analysis somewhat slavishly (pg. 64). While recognizing that power is unquestionably one goal of surveillance, Marx is keen to point out that it is not the only goal, nor necessarily even the most important.

Marx makes the point that "a central argument of this book is that understanding and evaluating surveillance require attention to the setting" (pg. 86), a theme to which he frequently returns. He holds that setting is crucial in drawing normative conclusions, such that "surveillance is neither good nor bad but context and comportment make it so" (pg. 284). While this is almost certainly true, his taxonomy of those contexts (consent, care, and coercion) is confusing. Surely surveillance can be consensual and caring, or caring and coercive. While "consent" and "coercion" may be a genuine dichotomy, these deal with the perspective of the surveilled subject, while "care" refers to the intention of the surveillant.

Part II of the book reads as a continuation of Part I in providing an analytic structure of surveillance, moving from static to dynamic analysis. The focus remains on providing an analytic framework through looking at alternative approaches such that actions can be categorized and understood. Here Marx takes up the changing nature of surveillance and resistance to surveillance (and responses to that resistance). He asks, for example, how goals and subjects of surveillance change over time. In this, he notes a softening of surveillance in society, contrasting Orwell's dystopia against Huxley's in recognition that surveillance does not always come about as a result of coercion but also as a result of seduction. The fact remains that many of us are as guilty in offering up reams of data about ourselves to states and corporations as those states and corporations are in helping themselves to the same.

Drawing from Erving Goffman (a clear influence throughout), Marx notes this softening in a progression of surveillance practice from maximum security prisons to non-custodial settings and activities, a "trend toward the maximum security society" (pg. 131), and suggests that Langdon Winner's function creep may be more a matter of a "surveillance gallop." At the same time, he is careful to balance these trends with evidence of a contraction of at least some surveillance practices, refusing in the process to be drawn into a simplistic "pro-" or "anti-" stance and in the process bringing home the centrality of context.

The satirical stories in the middle of the book provide a radical change in tone before Marx returns to his analytic purpose in chapters on techno-fallacies and ethics. These last are heavily abridged chapters which amount to little more than lists of concerns and an appeal to the reader to reference the complete versions on his website. In some ways this was a shame and, while a practical response to pressure to keep a book to publishable length, I would rather have seen the satirical chapters sacrificed to an online location for a fuller development of the analytic approach. I suspect that I might be in the minority, though, as the stories do make Marx's points strongly in a way that analytic prose cannot. However, I also suspect that relatively few readers will move beyond the abridged chapters to read the online explanations. I hope that my scepticism is misplaced, as this would be a loss.

While the subjects of these last chapters are not new for Marx, he does introduce novel material in the space that he has, including an impassioned plea for academics to avoid becoming activists (pgs. 273-75). He takes pains to argue for the distancing of the academic from too great an emotional engagement in the subject such that her judgment (and pronouncements) risk being clouded by bias, while also recognizing that one cannot be entirely divorced from the world one inhabits. Hence he also attempts to move beyond distanced reflection to offer normative criteria for ethical analysis. In this he focuses on the ethics of the surveillant rather than of the structure or of the surveilled subject, but without demonising the former or lionising the latter. As with his earlier approach, and consistent with his analytic approach throughout the book, he takes a ground-up view, rather than seeking over-arching theories that will explain everything. I am sympathetic to this approach, although I do think that greater coherence is possible here than Marx is willing to concede.

There is a good sense of balance throughout Windows into the Soul. It presents a picture neither of doom and gloom nor of a rosy, utopian "end of history," but, in Marx's own words, "it depends." In the final chapter he presents a list of evidence to suggest that we are rapidly approaching a surveillance Armageddon, which is immediately followed by a list demonstrating that we are moving away from a dystopian future. In an entertaining twist, both lists are introduced with quotes from the same psalm.

Critics may argue that Marx's proposed analytic framework is neither logically exhaustive nor is it necessary. There might be exceptions to his categories, although based on his experience I suspect that he would argue not. It is not even clear that a single act of surveillance might not fall under several different categories (an act, for instance, may have a number of goals, not all of them consistent). However, any metaphysician can point to a number of ways in which the world can be "sliced." The point is not necessarily to identify the correct way but to find that which is most useful. Taking this perspective, Marx's framework is both practical and approachable (unlike that of many metaphysicians) and is one that I can see many coming to use in their own analyses. For this reason alone I think that Windows into the Soul is of tremendous value. In addition, the work is entertaining throughout with a number of cartoons, references to popular culture, and a rich sense of irony.

This is a valuable work that provides an analytic framework for approaching Surveillance Studies while avoiding the temptation to find simple solutions or offer easy judgments. It should find its way onto the shelves of every serious scholar and student of surveillance.

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Hanna Reichel, in Criminologia (translated from German)
Sociologist Gary T. Marx is one of the pioneers in surveillance studies. He was one of the first to warn in 1985 that the visions of George Orwell may become a reality in what he called the "Surveillance Society" 1. His term the "New Surveillance" became crucial for identifying the change from statistical, person-oriented surveillance based on observations to a type of supervision that was carried out based on a dynamic, nationwide, data-based technology 2. Thirty years after his famous publication on under-cover police work 3. he has now published a second, far reaching monograph. This makes his thinking available to specialists, as well as to those with a broader interest in the subject.

Using the tools of symbolic interaction (e.g., dramaturgical analysis) learned from his teacher Erving Goffman), Marx deals not merely with contemporary technological and political developments, but with the broader "culture of surveillance", (xi). This term captures the socially created meanings regarding how surveillance technologies are perceived and applied. The goal of the book is "to advance understanding of the social and ethical aspects of personal information control and discovery as a naturally bounded, analytically coherent field". (x)

With respect to the obvious question "are you for it or against it?" Marx' answer is as distinct as it is distinguishing: "What I am for is understanding it... A central task for this book, then, is to suggest why surveillance by itself is neither good nor bad, but context and comportment make it so"(10). Marx' search is organized into four parts "that capture the rich empirical variation in surveillance settings and behavior and that feature the complexity of social orders, while nonetheless revealing patterns" (10). Part I "Concepts: The Need for a Modest but Persistent Analycity" (11–112) presents ideas about the social structure of surveillance regarding its, types and goals. The somewhat shorter Part II "Social Processes" (113–172) contrasts with the static categories of the first part and identifies types of resistance.

Part 3 "Culture and Contexts" (173–264) is the main part of the book, not merely because of its size. Marx has used his wide-ranging experience in order to work out four case studies that are detailed and complex. As ideal types those are admittedly fictitious, yet still they represent a realistic crystallization of social and cultural ways of dealing with surveillance. The scenarios include in a program to supervise work in a high-tech company ("the Omniscient Organization"), the manifesto of the child-protection initiative ("Parents Insist on Surveillance Help Inc."), the psychiatric file of the voyeur ("Tom I. Voire") plus the speech of the entrepreneur and chair of an association for surveillance studies ("Rocky Bottoms"). These are theoretically constructed, but not simply invented out of dreams: They concentrate on hopes and fears, on ambivalences and potential dangers when people deal with surveillance technologies. This is done in a serious and knowledgeable way, often culminating in irony.

The concluding normative part IV , "Ethics and Policy" (265–322) does not offer value judgment. on surveillance techniques. Rather, again, it offers various classifications intended to prepare for drawing conclusions about coming individual cases. Fourty-four "techno-fallacies of the information age" (267), as well as reflections on reverse "fallacies" of the technophobes and on general "fallacies" of the scientific community are presented. These make clear how inconsistent and muddled debate often is. In addition Marx offers questions for identifying factors that would lead the average person to view a surveillance practice as wrong, or at least questionable (277).

In summary, the book is less a systematic monograph reporting the results of a research project, rather it can be characterized as reporting the results of decades of a scholarly involvement with cultural and societal practices of surveillance. Marx used a "relatively unstructured and opportunistic format" (7). with regard to the way interviews were conducted. The method of analytic induction based on empirical cases leading to theoretical abstraction informs the presentation, however the reader can not really identify with that procedure methodologically. The connection between the individual chapters is sort of loosely knitted. Frequently, Marx refers back explicitly or implicitly to earlier publications. Some of the material which there was not room for in the book is made available to the interested reader in the internet.

Part IV has been shortened so drastically that in its current form, it offers more of a promise than a real finished text: Marx presents his fallacies in a naked list without explanations. As a consequence, the categories are cryptic. Marx develops no great theory and no single, clearly defined conceptual framework. He pursues no hypothesis that leads any further than the insight that we need to look at complex problem areas in a differentiated, structured way, rather than reaching quick judgments. In doing that he does his readers a great service. He uses the results of his many years of high quality, scholarly work, primarily as an analytic tool for orientation without pressing his own judgments.

In the service of these intentions two methodological principles dominate the book in its various sections: Classification and visualization. Marx is devoted to distinguishing and systematizing individual aspects of the subjects areas. He offers long lists dissecting concepts, subjects and problems into sub-aspects, types and variants. For the reader this is a useful instrument for finding orientation in a complicated discipline, and it contributes much toward cooling down a heated debate, yet the reading is quite dry over stretches of text, even though the insights are frequently eye-opening.

His classifications permit Marx to present a surprising quantity of rather diverse material in a controlled way and to develop conceptualizations for future work on specific questions. This not only demonstrates impressively the broad and deep experience which Marx has at his disposal, but makes those experiences fertile for future generations of readers who, as a consequence, can build on this constructively and in a sustained way.

The second methodological means Marx applies (which is in some ways opposed to the first) —is artful visualization or illustration. In order to achieve that he frequently relies on unconventional material not usually associated with scientific work. Aphorisms taken from literature or pop music not only mark beginnings of chapters, but almost at every section, comics and internet-memes illustrate the popular imagination. In conjunction with the ideal-typical stories, they creatively fortify impressive theoretical insights in a fictive, but highly realistic way. This is all done with a twinkle of the eye. This includes empirical experiences in connection with surveillance in every day life, at the work-place and in business. This opens up for reflection facets that are bizarre, ambivalent, or dangerous.

Windows into the Soul impresses the reader through its content, as well as through its analytic stringency and the density of the material offered. With ease, Marx approaches the complex and difficult questions of contemporary surveillance culture. Without any doubt, this must be defined as his "Opus magnum" and rightfully so. However, in the reading it is much lighter and more entertaining than such a heavy title would make the reader believe.


  1. Marx, Gary T. "The Surveillance Society: The Threat of 1984-style Techniques." in The Futurist 6 (1985): 21–26.
  2.    "What's New about the New Surveillance? Classifying for Change and Continuity," in Surveillance and Society 1 (2002): 9–29.
  3.    —Undercover: Police Surveillance in America. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.
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Robert E. Smith, in Privacy Journal
Gary T. Marx. Retired MIT scholar on the scrutiny of individuals through new and sophisticated technology, has written a book re-visiting his conclusions after a long career as a sort of Sixties-oriented sociology expert on surveillance and its impact on individuals' autonomy and privacy. Windows into the Soul ($35 paperback from University of Chicago Press) Marx has always peppered his scholarship with whimsy and wit, and his latest work is no exception.

He argues, "Financial gain drives much surveillance. This is most explicit in the case of collecting agents who are in the business to do surveillance for others. The goal for private investigators and the large information or data-warehousing and analysis industry is imply profit. They are hired guns whose goal is to sell data (and related services) apart from the ends of the purchasers. New data, public-record information, and data already gathered for other purposes are collected, repacked, and sold. The amount of information for sale is astounding. A second goal is as entertainment, publicity, symbolism, and curiosity." Marx has always peppered his scholarship with whimsy and wit, and his latest work is no exception.
*Privacy Journal, Vol. 42, no. 12

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Justin E. C. Tetrault, in Policing And Society: An International Journal of Research and Policy, Volume 27, 2017 - Issue 2
In its infancy during the 1970s, surveillance scholarship struggled to distance itself from dystopian fiction and alarmist journalism—the topic was often dismissed as sensational, marginal, and atheoretical, undeserving of academic inquiry (p. xiv). Gary Marx has played a vital role in anchoring surveillance studies as a distinct and important area of research, and in Windows into the Soul, Marx lends his experience to the now-maturing discipline that he helped to spearhead (most notably Marx 1988; see also Marx 2016). Windows is the culmination of Marx's work in the field, and includes rich empirical data comprised of over 400 interviews with surveillance subjects, practitioners, manufacturers, merchants, activists, and lawmakers—in addition to courtrecords, government reports, and periodicals. Marx's playful writing and crisp articulation make surveillance and social control approachable and coherent for inquiring minds and researchers old and new.

Marx's latest text is about surveillance and studying surveillance, detailing contemporary issues, trends, and consequences of surveillance (beyond familiar privacy concerns), while imparting an analytical toolbox for identifying and conceptualising research problems. However, this is not to suggest that surveillance is inherently negative, as the foundation of Marx's approach is that 'surveillance by itself is neither good nor bad, but context and comportment make it so' (p10, italics in original). Accordingly, culture and values are central to Marx's analysis, as surveillance practices are harmful or helpful depending on their social context and what we value as surveillance subjects. Subsequently, readers looking for a detailed account of surveillance technologies and practices (like biometrics and spying or intelligence operations) may come up short, as—while not absent—Marx is less interested in the question of how we do surveillance, than what surveillance does to us. Windows is a sociological work that explains how surveillance is embedded in Western culture, and how such processes affect human relationships and behaviours.

Marx has a presence in Windows that awards the book personality and wit, as pages are brought to life with humour, pop culture references, cartoons, and stories (both fictional and real). This variety makes for an entertaining read and quickly dispels the Orwellian stereotype, making surveillance relatable as a fixture of everyday life. While there is no overarching thesis that guides the text, one objective of Windows is to illustrate the banality of data collection and social control. Like race, gender, or class, the social dynamics of watching and being watched are so entrenched in Western culture that readers may wonder what is outside of surveillance. Its ubiquity and fluidity is why Marx mostly refuses strong conclusions and broad positions about what surveillance is, and what it does (it is also why Marx prefers 'the sociology of information' to 'surveillance studies').

While patterns and trends are identifiable (such as 'new' and 'old' surveillance or 'hard' and 'soft' surveillance), Marx implores readers to exercise caution when developing arguments and distinctions around the topic.While Marx's style is sharp and refreshing, his observations are familiar. Marx is not interested in revolutionising surveillance studies with Windows—he's already done that. Instead, he is guided by a 'conservative spirit' keen on tidying up the field (p.326). Like a concerned parent, early pages radiate his discontent with what is sometimes a messy and fragmented discipline. He puts it bluntly: 'concepts must be better defined and ideas better stated' and 'one must avoid the danger of making distinctions that only a social scientist could love' (pp. 6, 54). Subsequently, academic jargon is nearly absent in Windows, which some may see as a strength or weakness. Seasoned surveillance scholars, for instance, will either love or hate that Marx leafs through Foucault's panopticon (see p. 64) and mostly omits treasured surveillance concepts like 'dividuals' (Deleuze 1992), 'liquid surveillance' (Lyon 2010), and 'simulation' (Bogard 1996). Marx does not ignore these ideas, but rather, he uses his own (simpler) vocabulary, and in doing so, he admittedly offers a 'sweeping glance', rather than an in-depth analysis of such processes (p. x).

For Marx, surveillance studies must be 'defined around concepts and stories' (p. 6, italics added), which is how Windows is organised. The first half of the text is spent articulating trends, themes, and varieties of surveillance, and Marx is skilled at developing complex social processes into terminology and scenarios easily followed by newcomers to the field—something rare in surveillance studies. The second half of Windows employs satirical fiction to illustrate the impact of surveillance on culture and behaviours.

Combining humour with serious analysis, these stories are based on Marx's decades of experience in the field and are the most enjoyable parts of the text. One chapter satirises the 'surveillophilliac' parenting industry, where children are 'investments to be protected' by designing-out bad behaviours (p. 201). Another chapter reads as a national security document championing unfettered surveillance as the future of governance, complete with a screening programme titled LOMBROSO (Legal Offensive on Murder: Brain Research Operation for the Screening of Offenders) (p. 251). While some readers may be put off by this marriage of fiction and social science, Marx reminds us that fictional works were crucial for making surveillance matter to 'the idea of democracy, the dignity of the person and the kind of society we are becoming or could become' (p. xiv). Thus, Marx's stories feel appropriate here, and work well as pedagogical devices. Like Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World, Marx's fictional narratives could be real, and are meant to provoke discussion about the values and possibilities regarding the direction of society (Huxley 2007, Orwell 2008). For instance, how much surveillance is appropriate for raising children (Chapter 8)? When should we limit information-sharing across public, private, and national institutions (Chapter 11)? How are we affected by secret surveillance only intended for consumption by the collector (Chapters 9 and 10)? There are no easy answers here, and Marx does not aim to provide them. Instead, the text is meant to equip readers with the tools to identify and wrestle with such issues.

Windows provides a 'language and conceptual guide' for understanding surveillance structures and processes (p. xv), and those teaching the topic may find it valuable to supplement Marx's concepts and stories with key readings from the field (he also provides additional material through links to his website). As a teaching resource, Windows may work best for intermediate-undergraduate- and graduate-level courses. The text will provoke discussion while offering students an extensive vocabulary to evaluate the issues. However, the number of concepts can be overwhelming at times (particularly in the early chapters), and readers may struggle to distinguish 'surveillance creep' from 'surveillance seep', 'surveillance gallop' (p. 133), 'surveillance strip', 'surveillance occasions' (p. 138), and 'surveillance slack' (p. 304)—to use some examples. Moreover, these terms often overlap and intersect, and few are universal. Put another way, Marx's distinctions might be too clean, and some may see these concepts as clutter rather than cleanliness (an absent glossary of terms makes this less forgivable).

But there is a method to the madness—Marx's lexicon of small but precise concepts is intended to contrast the dubious generalisations frequently made in surveillance scholarship ('control society' comes to mind; see Deleuze 1992). In the tradition of Orwell, Marx is calling for clarity of expression (p. 308), and Windows is as much about doing good research as it is an overview of the field. His philosophy for inquiring about surveillance can be summed up in what he calls the 'perhapsicon': 'Perhaps, sometimes, perhaps even often, but sometimes never, and in addition, make room for counter evidence, conflicting values and outcomes and new factors' (p. 308). Marx has helped surveillance studies overcome various obstacles, and Windows is about furthering the discipline by overcoming conceptual ambiguity and unreliable grand theories. Scholars would be wise to heed Marx's advice, and the text is a must-read for anyone entering the field.

Bogard, W., 1996. The simulation of surveillance: hypercontrol in telematic societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Deleuze, G., 1992. Postscript on the societies of control. October, 3–7.
Huxley, A., 2007. Brave new world. 2nd ed. London: Vintage Canada.
Lyon, D., 2010. "Liquid surveillance: the contribution of Zygmunt Bauman to surveillance studies." International political sociology, 4 (4), 325–338.
Marx, G.T., 1988. Undercover: police surveillance in America. Berkley: University of California Press.
   —2016. Gary T. Marx, professor emeritus of sociology, M.I.T. [Accessed 10 November 2016].
Orwell, G., 2008. Nineteen eighty-four. London: Penguin.

This work was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada [grant number 752-2016-2115].
ORCID: Justin E. C. Tetrault

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Kevin Walby, in The American Journal of Sociology, Volume 122, Number 6 | May 2017
From security intelligence and police monitoring to the work of credit card companies and of health agencies, surveillance is inescapable today. Indeed, as Gary T. Marx contends, surveillance should be conceived of as a pervasive, generic social process. It is pervasive across economic, political, and cultural institutions. And surveillance is generic insofar as everyone experiences and participates in it though not all in the same ways. What Marx does in Windows into the Soul is create parameters for the social scientific study of surveillance in the 21st century.

Marx notes the rationale for Windows into the Soul is threefold. First, surveillance has changed recently and rapidly. Technology is the main—but not the only—driver of these new developments. Second, surveillance has become "softer" (p. xv). Most surveillance barely resembles the forms of hard social control associated with, for instance, totalitarianism. Third, private forms of information gathering and analysis now outstrip public or state surveillance in many ways. The state and private corporations also liaise as part of surveillance operations as never before. Marx suggests surveillance has changed much more than he had anticipated in his earlier works published in the late 1970s and early 1980s, hence the need for this new text.

The central argument in Windows into the Soul is that the pervasive, generic character of surveillance today requires the formation of something he and others call surveillance studies (p. 13). Chapters 1–4 are dedicated to listing a plethora of terms Marx feels should be foundational to surveillance studies (e.g., cosurveillance, new surveillance, external constituency surveillance, etc.; p. 39). Most of these are Marx's own terminology. He does not spend much time justifying why these concepts are an advance over those offered by other surveillance scholars or those found in sociology or social science more generally, or testing the analytical precision of these concepts. Neither does Marx dive into the trickier question of whether surveillance studies should be conceptualized as an area or subdiscipline within sociology, or more of a multi- or interdisciplinary field. There is a debate emerging about whether surveillance studies can or should be a subdiscipline of sociology, or whether it is best positioned as an interdisciplinary field that includes political scientists and communications scholars. I would have liked to see Marx weigh in on this issue.

Chapter 6 is a condensed version of Marx's well-known essay on resisting or "neutralizing" (p. 143) surveillance processes. Chapter 7 offers an analysis of new kinds of work surveillance, notably how surveillance practices are built into the labor process in contemporary workplaces. Next, chapter 8 considers trends in surveillance of children, including the "claims made by entrepreneurs selling surveillance to parents" (p. 201). Windows into the Soul then shifts orientation. Marx offers a few creative, fictional accounts of surveillance, some of which will be known to readers. For instance, the report on Tom I. Voire is followed up by an assessment of peeping in the 21st century. After that, Marx provides a satirical speech given by a surveillance professional to a group of other watchers. These realistic fictions delve into palpable tensions created by surveillance (notably, the desire to watch others and moral dilemmas of control) in ways that more analytical discussions sometimes fail to do.

The last two chapters explore ethical issues created by surveillance. These chapters will be of interest to scholars studying the application of surveillance technology, for instance, in criminal justice settings and to those teaching undergraduate students about the dilemmas of watching and being watched. Finally, the short coda pleads with surveillance studies scholars to move beyond the "fallacy of neutrality" (p. 270) and to investigate surveillance in ways guided by C. Wright Mills's engaged, critical scholarship, a political and normative position evident throughout the book.

Windows into the Soul provides a sort of synopsis of Marx's ideas about surveillance in contemporary society. As such, it is important because of the numerous contributions Marx has made to the sociology of surveillance in the past five decades. I do think that in his attempt to study surveillance in a broad manner, he may have overlooked some issues that his political and normative position would suggest cannot be missed. For example, in his earlier work, Marx investigated police surveillance and the consequences thereof. He has also studied surveillance and inequality, the differential monitoring of certain social groups, and the effects of this. Yet these two pertinent issues do not receive much attention in Windows into the Soul. Similarly, as Christian Fuchs ("How Can Surveillance Be Defined?" Matrizes 5 [2011]: 110–33) has pointed out, defining surveillance broadly as almost any kind of watching renders the concept somewhat inept. Marx could be found guilty of the same kind of conceptual philandering.

Overall, the terms introduced by Marx are probably not as analytically clear as some readers may wish. The arguments and claims may not be substantiated empirically in the way that some bibliophiles may have hoped. But if read as a set of prompts and questions to contemplate and borrow from, sociologists, political scientists, and communications scholars studying surveillance, voyeurism, spying, and the like will view this book as valuable. Windows into the Soul is a snapshot of the work of an original, wide-ranging scholar who has done much to develop the study of surveillance.

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Additional Material from Windows Into the Soul
To keep the price reasonable, the material below was cut from the print edition of Windows Into The Soul. In several cases it was cut entirely (two chapters on surveillance and popular culture, an autobiographical account of five decades of working on civil rights and civil liberties issues.) In other cases chapters were significantly shortened as with those on children, Tom I. Voire, techno-fallacies, and ethics. Deleted material can be found here. All excerpts are from Gary T. Marx, Windows into the Soul: Surveillance and Society in an Age of High Technology. University of Chicago Press, 2016.
"Your Papers Please": Personal and Professional Encounters With Surveillance

Children: Slap That Baby's Bottom, Embed That ID Chip and Let it Begin

The Private Within the Public: Psychological Report on Tom I. Voire

A Mood Apart: What's Wrong with Tom?

Culture and Contexts (introduction to the print edition)

Surveillance and Popular Culture: The New Surveillance in Visual Imagery

An Ethics for the New Surveillance

Techno-Fallacies of the Information Age

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