- Social Control
- Colonialism, Race, Gender
Dr. Scott Thompson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Saskatchewan, Research Fellow of the Surveillance Studies Centre, and has served as Associate Editor of the journal Surveillance & Society. Having been called 'one of Canada’s most accomplished scholars in the field of criminology and surveillance' and ‘the genuine historian of Surveillance Studies,’ Scott primarily uses historical case studies in order to explain and address current and pressing issues in the areas of Criminology, Sociology and Surveillance Studies. His publications include work on surveillance and colonial/First Nations relationships, surveillance and the control of liquor consumption (www.puncheddrunk.ca), National Registration and Identity Cards in Canada and the United Kingdom, Big Data national security initiatives and partnerships, the adoption of Unmanned Air Vehicles ( UAV / UAS ) by government and industry in Canada, and the taking up of ‘new’ surveillance technologies by police services. He started his current position at the University of Saskatchewan in 2017, having completed a SSHRC Banting post-doctoral fellowship at the Surveillance Studies Center (Queen’s University, Department of Sociology), and his doctoral degree at the University of Alberta in Sociology.
Dr. Thompson has been invited to speak and comment on government policy by Public Safety Canada (at the Unconscious Bias, Diversity, and Inclusion in National Security Expert Symposium; as well as at The National Cyber Security Directorate), for the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (Meeting of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Information and Privacy Commissioners) as well as for BC's provincial Strategic Policy and Legislation Branch, and their Privacy, Compliance and Training Branch. He is also an active member of the UofS Speakers Bureau giving regular community talks on race and stereotypes as well as surveillance and privacy issues. He is the winner of the CSN-REC (Canadian Studies Network) Prize for Best Article for his work ‘Real Canadians: Exclusion, Participation, Belonging, and Male Military Mobilization in Wartime Canada, 1939-45,’in volume 50 of the Journal of Canadian Studies, as well as a recipient of the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union (USSU) Teaching Excellence Award.
Dr. Thompson is currently the primary investigator on a new SSHRC funded grant investigating the police use of "carding," or "street checks," entitled "Why/How is the Person Suspicious?: Surveillance, Community, Law, Racialization, and the Police Practice of Carding in the Prairie Region." This project involves a multidisciplinary team including: Dr. Julie Kaye, Prof. Glen Luther, Dr. Kevin Schneider, Prof. Sarah Buhler, and Dr. Zadia Codabux. He is also PI on the SSHRC funded “Unmaking ‘Indians’: Tracing the Governmental Root Causes of Stereotypes Regarding First Nations, Inuit and Metis Peoples in Canada,” and is a collaborator on ‘The Big Data Surveillance’ project, a five year, $2.5 million SSHRC Partnership Grant.
He teaches in the areas of Surveillance, Criminology and Penology.
Photograph by David Stobbe.
Governance Law Survelliance Technology
Thompson, Scott and Gary Genosko (2009) Punched Drunk: Alcohol, Surveillance and the LCBO 1927-1975. Fernwood Publishing: Halifax.
Thompson, Scott (forthcoming) “Real Canadians: Exclusion, Canadian Citizenship, Belonging and Mobilization in Wartime Canada, 1939-1945.” Journal of Canadian Studies 50(2): #.
Saulnier, Alana and Scott Thompson (2016) “Police use of UAVs in Canada: A Procedural Justice Framing.” Police Quarterly 39(4): 680-693.
Thompson, Scott (2016) “I am Zombie: Mobilization in WWII Canada and Forced ‘Zombie’ Performances 1939-1947.”Canadian Journal of Sociology 41(4): 465-492.
Thompson, Scott and Alana Saulnier (2015) “The ‘Rise’ of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in Canada: An Analysis of Special Flight Operation Certificates (SFOCs) from 2007 to 2012." Canadian Public Policy 41(3): 207-222.
Thompson, Scott and Ciara Bracken-Roche (2015) “Understanding public opinion of UAVs in Canada: A 2014 analysis of survey data and its policy implications.” Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems 3(3): 1-20.
Thompson, Scott (2014) “Making Up Soldiers: The Role of Statistical Oversight and Reactive Path Dependence in the Effectiveness of Canada’s WWII Mobilization Program 1940-1943.” Surveillance & Society 12(4): 547-565.
Gary Genosko and Thompson, Scott (2006) “Administrative Surveillance of Alcohol Consumption in Ontario, Canada: Pre-Electronic Technologies of Control.” Surveillance & Society 4(1/2): 1-28.
Dafnos, Tia, Scott Thompson and Martin French (2016) "Surveillance and the Colonial Dream: Canada’s Surveillance of Indigenous Protest." In Kevin Walby, Randy K. Lippert, Ian Warren and Darren Palmer (eds.) National Security, Surveillance, and Emergencies: Canadian and Australian Sovereignty Compared. Palgrave-MacMillan. 319-342.
Thompson, Scott (2014) “Available, Necessary or Unwanted: National Registration, Surveillance, Conscription and Governance in Wartime Canada 1914-1947.” In Kees Boersma, Rosamunde van Brakel, Chiara Fonio and Pieter Wagenaar (eds.) Histories of State Surveillance in Europe and Beyond. Routledge: London. 186-204.
Thompson, Scott (2009) “A Kind of Prohibition: Targets of the LCBO’s Interdiction List 1927-1975.” In Sean Hier and Josh Greenberg (eds.) Surveillance Practices and Social Problems: Power, Problems, and Politics. UBC Press: Vancouver. 59-86.
Thompson, Scott (2008) “Separating the Sheep from the Goats: The United Kingdom’s National Registration Program and Social Sorting in the Pre-Electronic Era.” In Colin Bennett and David Lyon (eds.) Playing the Identity Card: Surveillance, Security and Identification in Comparative Perspective. Routledge: London. 145-162.
Genosko, Gary and Scott Thompson (2006) “Tense Surveillance: Case Studies of Informatic Subjugation” In David Lyon (ed.) Theorizing Surveillance: The Panopticon and Beyond. Willan Publishing: England. 123-138.
Thompson, Scott (2017) “Why Should We Care About Methods – Particularly Historical and Access To Information Ones?” Surveillance Studies Summer Seminar 2017 - Surveillance in the Big Data Era. June 15th -21st . Kingston.
Thompson, Scott (2017) “Private Representations, Public Enforcement: The Use of Private Surveillance Technologies in the Enforcement of Law in Wartime Canada 1942-1947.” Presented at Critical Criminology / Representing Justice – A Joint Conference of Critical Perspectives: Criminology and Social Justice and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Justice. May 4th-5th 2017. Ottawa.
Thompson, Scott (2016) “Canada’s Approach to Cyber Security - Expert Roundtable.” Invited Roundtable participant, presented to The National Cyber Security Directorate, Public Safety Canada. November 16 2016. Kingston.
Lyon, David and Scott Thompson (2016) “From Small Data to Big Data: Insights into 18th Century Surveillance Research.” Invited Roundtable participant Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies: Surveillance/Secrets. October 28 2016. Kingston.
Thompson, Scott and Alana Saulnier (2016) "Every Police Force Will Want One: Developing Effective Policy Regarding UAS, Policing, and Privacy in Ontario." Presented to the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) - Emergency Preparedness Committee, UAS Working Group. September 7 2016. Toronto.
Thompson, Scott (2016) “Making Indians: Surveillance, Classification and Performance in Canada.” Post-Doc Research Showcase Reception Pecha-Kucha. September 21 2016. Kingston.
Thompson, Scott and David Lyon (2016) “Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) Headquarters and PPP Investment.” Presented at Big Data Surveillance Research Workshop. May 2016. Kingston.
Thompson, Scott and Alana Saulnier (2015) "Every Police Force Will Want One: UAV, Policing, and Knowledge Production in Canada." Presented at Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. May 30 - June 5 2015. Ottawa.
Dafnos, Tia and Scott Thompson (2015) "Surveillance and the Colonial Dream: Canada’s Surveillance of Indigenous Protest." Presented at Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. May 30 - June 5 2015. Ottawa.
Thompson, Scott and Alana Saulnier (2015) "The Rise of UAV Drones in Police Work: Regulations, Applications, Deployment and the Impact of Unmanned Air Vehicles on Policing in Canada, 1995-2015.” Presented at Critical Perspectives: Criminology and Social Justice. May 28-29, 2015. Ottawa.
Bracken-Roche, Ciara, David Lyon, Mark Mansour, Adam Molnar, Alana Saulnier and Scott Thompson (Alphabetical Order) (2014) “Privacy Implications of the Spread of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in Canada.” Presented at Annual Meeting of Unmanned Systems Canada. November 4-6 2014. Montréal.
Saulnier, Alana, Ciara Bracken-Roche, David Lyon, Mark Mansour, Adam Molnar and Scott Thompson (2014) “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Regulation in Canada: Privacy Concerns and Social Justice.” Presented at American Society of Criminology, November 19 - 22, 2014. San Francisco.
Thompson, Scott (2014) “Rhetoric and Participation Matter!: Lessons of Resistance to be Learned from the Fall of the WWII British National Registration Program, 1939-1952.” Presented at The Politics of Surveillance Research Workshop, University of Ottawa, May 8 – 10 2014. Ottawa.
Thompson, Scott (2014) “Mandated Categories: National Registration and Identification Technologies Under the British Mandate of Palestine 1917-1948.” Presented at the 6th Biannual Surveillance and Society Conference, April 24 - 25 2014. Barcelona.
Thompson, Scott (2014) “Social Sorting in the Pre-Electronic Era: surveillance, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario and the (Re)Production of the ‘Drunken Indian’ Stereotype in Ontario, 1927-1952.” Presented at Surveillance Studies Centre Seminar Series, February 5, 2014. Kingston.
Bracken-Roche, Ciara, David Lyon, Mark Mansour, Adam Molnar, Alana Saulnier, Scott Thompson (Alphabetical Order) (2014) “Surveillance Drones in Canada.” Surveillance Studies Centre Seminar Series, March 19, 2014. Kingston.
Lyon, David, Scott Thompson and Ciara Bracken-Roche (2014) “Privacy Implications of the Spread of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in Canada.” Presented at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s Pathways to Privacy: Helping Canadians Find Pathways to Privacy. University of Toronto, March 20-21 2014. Toronto.
Thompson, Scott (2013) “Opening Address / Developing a Surveillance Studies Special Collection.” Presented at Doing Surveillance Studies: Critical Approaches to Methods and Pedagogy, Queen’s University, May 30 – June 1, 2013. Kingston.
Thompson, Scott (2013) “Real Canadians: Exclusion, Canadian Citizenship, Belonging and Conscription in Wartime Canada 1910-1945.” Presented at Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences Annual Conference. University of Victoria, June 3-8 2013. Victoria.
Thompson, Scott (2012) “Alien Classifications: National Registration and the Governance of Suspect Populations in Canada During the Second World War.” Presented at The Fifth Biannual Surveillance and Society Conference: Watch This Space: Surveillance Futures. Sheffield University, April 2-4 2012. Sheffield.
Thompson, Scott and Gary Genosko (2010) “Informatics of Subjugation and Liberation.” Poster presented at Canada Research Chairs: Thinking Ahead for a Strong Future. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, November 24-25. Toronto.
Thompson, Scott (2008) “Who's Absent, is it You?: Identification Technology and Categorical Tightness in Canada's National Registration Program 1940-1945.” Presented at (In)Visibilities: The Politics, Practice and Experience of Surveillance in Everyday Life. The 3rd Surveillance & Society Conference. University of Sheffield. April 2-3. Sheffield.
Thompson, Scott (2008) “ID Cards Please!: Social Sorting, Identity and Canada’s National Registration Program 1919-1945.” Presented at The 4th International Conference on Technology, Knowledge and Society. Northeastern University, January 18-20. Boston.
Thompson, Scott (2007) “Separating the Sheep from the Goats: Social Sorting in the Pre-Electronic UK.” Presented at National ID Card Systems: an International Research Workshop. Queens University. June 7-9. Kingston.
Reed, Matt and Scott Thompson (2007) “iPod, Eye-Tunes, I-Self: Identity, Music and Surveillance in the iPod Generation.” Presented at The Seventh Annual Meeting of the Canadian Sociological Association. University of Saskatchewan. May 29-June 1. Saskatoon.
Thompson, Scott (2007) “Separating the Sheep from the Goats: The UK’s National Registration Program and Social Sorting in the Pre-Electronic Era.” Presented at Social Connections: Identities, Technologies, Relationships. The British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2007. University of South London. April 12-14. London.
Thompson, Scott and Jon Thompson (2007) “Homelessness Under the Public and Electronic Eyes: A Study of the Impact of Surveillance on Those Living Homeless.” Presented at Social Connections: Identities, Technologies, Relationships. The British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2007. University of South London. April 12-14. London.
Thompson, Scott (2007) “ID Cards Please!: Canada's National Registration Program, Classification and Tightness 1919-1945.” Presented at Puzzle Pieces: Graduate Research Symposium. University of Victoria. March 30. Victoria.
Thompson, Scott and Gary Genosko (2006) “A Kind of Prohibition: The Georacial Profiling of the Northern Drinker.” Presented at Old Economy Regions in the New Economy Conference. Lakehead University. March 23-24. Thunder Bay.
Thompson, Scott (2006) “From Indigenous to Indigent: The Impact of Interdiction Classification on the First Nations Peoples of Ontario.” Presented at Lakehead Graduate Conference. March 13-14. Thunder Bay.
Thompson, Scott and Gary Genosko (2006) “Administrative Surveillance of Alcohol Consumption: Technologies and Targets of Social Sorting in Pre-Electronic Ontario, Canada.” Presented at Crime, Justice and Surveillance Conference. The 2nd Surveillance and Society Conference. University of Sheffield. April 5-6. Sheffield.
Thompson, Scott (2006) “National Resources: National ID Cards in Pre-Electronic Canada.” Poster presented at Crime, Justice and Surveillance Conference. University of Sheffield. April 5-6. Sheffield.
Thompson, Scott and Alana Saulnier (2016) Every Police Force Will Want One: Developing Effective Policy Regarding UAS, Policing, and Privacy in Ontario. A report prepared for the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) - Emergency Preparedness Committee, UAS Working Group.
Bracken-Roche, Ciara, David Lyon, Mark Mansour, Adam Molnar, Alana Saulnier, Scott Thompson (Alphabetical Order) (2014) Privacy Implications of the Spread of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in Canada. A report prepared for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Under the 2013-2014 Contributions Program.
Thompson, Scott (2005) Sharing Culture: The Elders’ Program and its Impact on Self Esteem and Related Attitudinal Factors in a Northwestern Ontario Catholic School. A report prepared for the Northern Catholic District School Board.
Refereed Review and Response Articles
Thompson, Scott and Gary Genosko (2010) “Alcohol State Regulation as a Model for Cannabis.” Response to Room’s Prohibition of Cannabis. The British Medical Journal (Published 27 October 2010).
Thompson, Scott N (2009) Review of Webb’s Illusions of Security. Surveillance & Society 6(1): 87-89.
Singh, Sachil, Harrison Smith and Scott Thompson (2015) "Doing Surveillance Studies (Part II): Critical Approaches to Methodology and Pedagogy." Surveillance & Society 13(1): 1-3.
Popular Writing and Media Participation
Thompson, Scott (2016) Interviewed for “Do Police Rely Too Much on Social Media to Investigate? - Ontario Morning.” Ontario Morning - CBC Radio (Wei Chen). Wednesday October 12th, 2016. http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/podcasts/ontariomorning_20161012_10554.mp3
Thompson, Scott (2016) Interviewed for “Modern Surveillance Makes Hiding Hijinx Nearly Impossible.” The Whig Standard. Wednesday October 12th, 2016. http://www.thewhig.com/2016/10/12/modern-surveillance-makes-hiding-hijinx-nearly-impossible
Thompson, Scott (2016) "Beware of mob justice in the age of social media." The Toronto Star. Tuesday, Oct. 11th, 2016. https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2016/10/11/beware-of-mob-justice-in-the-age-of-social-media.html
Thompson, Scott (2016) Interviewed for “‘Social Media Mob Mentality’ Over Beer Can Toss – Station 14 News.” Station 14. October 7th, 2016. http://www.station14.ca/video.html?id=5070
Thompson, Scott (2016) Interviewed for “Grad Chat.” CFRC-FM Radio. March 7 2016. https://soundcloud.com/queens-grad-studies/grad-chat-march-7
Thompson, Scott (2014) Interviewed for “City Matters: Should Booze Sales Go Private in Toronto?” Metro News Toronto. Dec. 10, 2014. Toronto. A1.
Thompson, Scott (2011) “The High Cost of Classification: Buying Organic on a Budget. ”TAKE Magazine: A Publication of the Sociology Graduate Students’ Association of the University of Alberta 6.1.
Thompson, Scott (2009) "The Dark Side of Captain Al Cohol: Race and Social Control in the Northwest Territories.” In Ashley Mercer and Annika Trimble (Eds.) Compendium of the Research in the Northwest Territories 2006, Aurora Research Institute: Fort Smith.74.
Thompson, Scott (2006) Guest on “The LCBO and its Surveillance Technologies.” Voyage North. CBC Radio. Thunder Bay.
Genosko, Gary and Scott Thompson (2005) “LCBO: Profit vs. Social Duty” In Toronto Star. July 25, 2005. Toronto. A.17.
Genosko, Gary and Scott Thompson (2005) “LCBO: Profit vs. Social Responsibility” In Agora Magazine. Volume 22. No. 4
Thompson, Scott (2009) Punched Drunk: Alcohol, Surveillance and the LCBO, 1927-1975. http://www.puncheddrunk.ca
Classification Colonialism Gender Governance Identity Law Race Social Control Surveillance Technology
The focus of my research is on the relationship between policing, classification, law and surveillance technologies, with a specific emphasis on the capacity of governing systems to (re)produce social inequalities and relationships of cumulative disadvantage within racialized populations. My work speaks to current theoretical debates within the criminology, policing, governance and socio-legal literatures regarding the role of classification and surveillance in identity performance - particulalry in regards to First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples in Canada. I rely on a mixed methods approach, drawing primarily on government documents gained through Library and Archives Canada or through Access to Information and Privacy Act (ATIP) and Freedom of Information Act (FOI) requests. Where possible, I work to supplement these data with statistical analyses and interview data in order to determine the degree to which the goals of particular policies correspond with observable social effects.
Education & Training
Doctor of Philosophy, Sociology,
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta. 2011 - 2012
Dissertation Title: Consequences of Classification: National Registration, Surveillance and Social Control in Wartime Canada, 1939-1946
Masters of Arts, Sociology,
Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario. 2004 - 2006
Thesis Title: A Kind of Prohibition: Alcohol Administration in Pre-Electronic Canada
Bachelor of Arts, Sociology/Criminology,
L’Universite d’Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario. 1999 - 2003