Associate Professor Gavin J.D. Smith

Associate Professor of Sociology

I joined ANU in 2012. I was previously a Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy at The University of Sydney and a Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology at City University London. Prior to joining the academy, I completed an ESRC-funded PhD (2009) at The University of Aberdeen on the culture of CCTV operation. I hold from the same university an MA in Sociology and an MRes in Social Research Methods.

While in Sydney, I helped establish The Surveillance and Everyday Life Research Group, an interdisciplinary collective of scholars interested in the cultural drivers and impacts of surveillance practices. The group's activities have resulted in special issues/sections of Surveillance & Society (2013), Critical Public Health (2013) and Body & Society (2016).

I am an international collaborator on The New Transparency Project (an MCRI project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) and an editor of Surveillance & Society. I am on the executive board of the Surveillance Studies Network. I have previously been a Research Associate in the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford, and a Visiting Researcher at Concordia University, Canada. I am currently a Visiting Fellow in the School of Social and Political Science at The University of Edinburgh. I am also a Research Associate in The Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism, City University London, and an International Research Associate in the Centre for Business Information Ethics, Meiji University, Japan. I am regularly consulted by the media on surveillance and security matters.

Research interests

I am a generalist sociologist interested in the social impacts of digital technologies, data practices and dataveillance.

My research looks at how and why particular bodies and behaviours come to be codified as defective, by whom, and the effects of these discourses and related measures on subjectivity and resultant modes of social action.

To this effect, I analyse the political economic processes and cultural circumstances responsible for the creation—and consequent governance—of 'excessive' behaviours that pertain to acts of food, alcohol and drug consumption, violence, speeding, body management and data-sharing.

I also look at how individuals and groups creatively struggle against forces and technologies which operate to marginalise or dominate them. I am therefore interested in cultural practices of resistance that seek to either undermine the legitimacy or subvert the power of particular systems of authority.

I have written extensively about how digital data are a transformative medium and force both compressing and stretching social life and relations. 

Twitter: @gavin_jd_smith

  • O'Malley, P & Smith, GJD. (2020) 'Smart’ Crime Prevention? Digitization and Racialized Crime Control in a Smart City. Theoretical Criminology, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1362480620972703.
  • Choy, M, Sturgiss, E, Goodyear-Smith, F & Smith, GJD (2020) Digital Health Tools and Patients with Drug Use Disorders: Qualitative Patient Experience Study of the Electronic Case - Finding and Help Assessment Tool (eCHAT), Journal of Medical Internet Research, vol. 22, no. 9, pp. 1-8.
  • O’Malley, P & Smith, GJD (2020) ‘Pre-crime, control and mass preventive justice’ in B. Arrigo and B. Sellers (Eds.) The Pre-Crime Society: Crime Culture and Control in the Ultramodern Age. Bristol: Bristol University Press.
  • Smith, GJD (2020) The politics of algorithmic governance in the black box city, Big Data & Society, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 1-9.
  • Sturgiss, E & Smith, GJD (2020) Promoting interdisciplinary research through transversality - an aid to communicating more effectively with health sociologists, Family Practice, vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 283-285.
  • Lee, A, Mackenzie, A, Smith, GJD & Box, P (2020) Mapping Platform Urbanism: Charting the Nuance of the Platform Pivot, Urban Planning, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 116-128.
  • Box, P, Lee, A, Smith, GJD, Mackenzie, A, Sanderson, T, Reeson, A, Duenser, A & Fleet, R (2020) Data Platforms for Smart Cities: A Landscape Scan and Recommendations for Smart City Practice. Canberra: CSIRO, https://doi.org/10.25919/5e7504a8de92f.
  • Sturgiss, E, Agostino, J & Smith, GJD (2019) Conversations about obesity need to be realistic and informed, Australian Journal of General Practice, vol. 48, no. 5, pp. 247-247.
  • Smith, GJD and Vonthethoff, B (2018) Health by Numbers? Exploring the practice and experience of datafied health. In Lupton, D (Ed.) Self-Tracking, Health and Medicine: Sociological Perspectives. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
  • Smith, GJD (2018) 'Data doxa: The affective consequences of data practices', Big Data & Society, 5(1): 1-15, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/2053951717751551.
  • Lupton, D & Smith, GJD (2018) ''A Much Better Person': The Agential Capacities of Self-Tracking Practices', in B. Ajana (ed.) Metric Culture: Ontologies of Self-Tracking Practices, London: Emerald Publishing.
  • Smith, GJD, Bennett Moses, L and Chan, J (2017) 'The challenges of doing criminology in the Big Data era: towards a digital and data-driven approach', The British Journal of Criminology, 57(2): 259-274, available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azw096.
  • Smith, GJD (2017) Theorising digital media cultures: The politics of watching and being watched. In Tumber, H and Waisbord, S (eds) The Routledge Companion to Media and Human Rights. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp.126-135.
  • Smith, G.J.D. and P. O'Malley (2017) 'Driving politics: data-driven governance and resistance', The British Journal of Criminology, 57(2): 275-298, available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azw075.
  • Smith, G.J.D. and B. Vonthethoff (2017) 'Health by Numbers? Exploring the practice and experience of datafied health', Health Sociology Review, 26(1): 6-21, DOI: 10.1080/14461242.2016.1196600.
  • French, M. and G.J.D. Smith (2016) 'Surveillance and Embodiment: Dispositifs of Capture', Body & Society, 22(2): 3-27, DOI: 10.1177/1357034X16643169.
  • Smith, G.J.D. (2016) 'Companion Surveillance and Surveillant Subjectivities: On the Seduction of Seeing and Being Seen', Media Fields Journal: Critical Explorations in Media and Space, 11, 'Surveillance States', http://mediafieldsjournal.squarespace.com/companion-surveillance/.
  • Smith, G.J.D. (2016) 'Life through a Lens: risk, surveillance and subjectivity', International Journal of Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 5(1): 82-97, DOI: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v5i1.281.
  • Smith, G.J.D. (2016) 'Surveillance, Data and Embodiment: On the Work of Being Watched', Body & Society, 22(2): 108-139, DOI: 10.1177/1357034X15623622.
  • Smith, G.J.D. (2015) 'Life in the Goldfish Bowl', Inside Story, http://insidestory.org.au/life-in-the-goldfish-bowl.
  • Smith, G.J.D. (2015) Opening the Black Box: The Work of Watching, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge
  • Smith, G.J.D. (2014) 'Les répercussions sociales de l’e-living', in P-Y. Badillo and D. Roux (eds) Le futur est-il e-media?, Paris: Economica, pp. 168-175.
  • Smith, G.J.D. (2014) 'Surveillance Technology and Policing', in G. Bruinsma and D. Weisburd (eds) Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice, New York: Springer Science and Business Media, pp. 5094-5104, DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_256
  • French, M. and G.J.D. Smith (2013) '‘Health’ surveillance: new modes of monitoring bodies, populations, and polities', Critical Public Health, 23(4): 383–392.
  • Smith, G.J.D., M. San-Roque, H. Westcott and P. Marks (2013) 'Surveillance Texts & Textualism: Truthtelling and Trustmaking in an Uncertain World', Surveillance & Society, 11(3): 215-221
  • Smith, G.J.D. (2012) 'Visibility Cultures and Transparent Subjects: Governing through Revelation', Emerging and Enduring Inequalities, The Australian Sociological Association Peer-Reviewed Conference Proceedings, Brisbane: The University of Queensland
  • Smith, G.J.D. (2012) 'Surveillance Workers', in K. Ball, K.D. Haggerty and D. Lyon (eds) Routledge Handbook of Surveillance Studies, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 107-115
  • Smith, G.J.D. (2012) 'What Goes Up, Must Come Down: On the moribundity of camera networks in the UK', in A. Doyle, R. Lippert and D. Lyon (eds) Eyes Everywhere: The Global Growth of Camera Surveillance, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 46-66
  • Haggerty, K.D., D. Wilson and G.J.D. Smith (2011) 'Theorizing Surveillance in Crime Control', Theoretical Criminology, 15(3): 231-237
  • Smith, G.J.D. (2009) 'Empowered Watchers or Disempowered Workers? The ambiguities of power within technologies of security', in K.F. Aas, H.O. Gundhus and H.M. Lomell (eds) Technologies of Insecurity: The Surveillance of Everyday Life, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge-Cavendish, pp. 125-146
  • Smith, G.J.D. (2007) 'Exploring Relations Between Watchers and Watched in Control(led) Systems: Strategies and Tactics', Surveillance & Society, 4(4): 280-313
  • Smith, G.J.D. (2007) 'Violent Night: Urban Leisure and Contemporary Culture', Urban Studies, 44(10): 2053-2056
  • Smith, G.J.D. (2007) 'The night-time economy: exploring tensions between agents of control', in R. Atkinson and G. Helms (eds) Securing an Urban Renaissance: Crime, Community and British Urban Policy, Bristol: The Policy Press, pp. 183-202
  • Smith, G.J.D. (2004) 'Behind the Screens: examining constructions of deviance and informal practices among CCTV control room operators in the UK', Surveillance & Society, 2(2/3): 376-395