Switch on the Big Brother! Investigating the educational gradients in acceptance of online and public areas surveillance among European citizens

Angelica M. Maineri*, P. Achterberg, R. Luijkx

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

In this study, we investigate whether, and why, individuals express different levels of acceptance of surveillance depending on their educational level, and whether this relationship varies with the level of digitalization and globalization expansion of their country. Additionally, we ask whether the type of surveillance (online surveillance vs cameras in public areas) conditions these differences. We build on two theoretical frameworks, one concerned with the resurgence of authoritarian values via the cultural backlash, and the other one explaining how different people analyse manufactured risks differently due to processes of reflexive modernization. In order to test the hypotheses, we employ data from the latest wave of the European Values Study (EVS) and implement multilevel multivariate regression models. Findings indicate that the lower educated individuals are more prone to accept online surveillance, due to their stronger authoritarianism and weaker reflexive mindset; however, there is no educational gradient in acceptance of video surveillance in public areas. Additionally, the countries’ levels of digitalization and globalization expansion do not condition the educational gradient in acceptance of surveillance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)628-656
Number of pages29
JournalEuropean Societies
Volume24
Issue number5
Early online date3 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the editor and anonymous reviewers for the constructive comments, and G. Cassani and E. Costantini for their suggestions on the analytical approach.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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