By Majsa Storbeck
Participating in the Common Sessions of the Common Study Programme in Critical Criminology, held at Hamburg University from the 14th to the 17th of May 2023 under the theme 'Rethinking the dangerous in scary times,' was a fruitful experience.
During this event, I had the opportunity to present my research proposal on surveillance experiences. The Common Sessions, established in 1984, have grown into a premier scholarly forum for critical criminology, providing a common instructional framework and a platform for exchanging ideas among fifteen participating universities in Europe and the United States. As a student-oriented program, the Common Sessions encourage the discussion of critical criminology, expanding the notion of crime and harm beyond narrow definitions set by the State. This inclusive approach allows for the free flow of scholarship and promotes collaboration between member schools. By participating in these sessions, I had the privilege of contributing to the ongoing dialogue and advancing our understanding of critical criminology, making it a valuable experience in my academic journey. During my presentation, I provided an overview of the existing literature on surveillance and counter-surveillance, focusing on the ethical considerations and employing the ELSA methodology. I introduced the contemporary discipline of surveillance and its intersection with AI, as well as how protestors may navigate increased attention. The concept of the "spiral of surveillance and counter-surveillance" was discussed, emphasizing the dynamic interplay between the watchers and those being watched. Furthermore, I explored potential ethical dilemmas inherent in this research, and subsequently introduced the ELSA methodology as a solution to address these concerns, promoting co-creation and inclusivity throughout the research process. The Common Sessions provided an invaluable platform for exchanging ideas and advancing critical criminology, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have participated.