Professor Clive Norris

Professor of Sociology, (BA, MSc, PhD)
Deputy Director of the Sheffield University Centre for Criminological Research

Photo of Clive Norris

Email: c.norris@sheffield.ac.uk
Room: Elmfield, LG15 | Telephone: 0114 222 6460 (external), 26460 (internal)

Academic Profile

I was born in London in 1960, I studied Sociology at the University of Sussex, graduating in 1981. In 1982 I was awarded an ERSC Studentship to undertake an M.Sc in Social Research Methods at the University of Surrey. It was here that my interest in the sociology of crime and social control was first kindled. As part of our course we had to undertake a compulsory placement with a research outfit. I found myself seconded to the Police Foundation for six weeks to undertake a study of police patrolling. This serendipitous placement laid the foundations of my future interests. Not only did it become the basis for my M.Sc dissertation, but led to my commitment to a sociology based on first-hand observation; a love of the adrenaline rush of high speed chases in the name of research; and a sustained interest in the sociology of social control. It also saw me ideally placed to apply for a linked ESRC PhD scholarship in 1983 to study the sociology of policing under the direction of Dr. Nigel Fielding at the University of Surrey. My fieldwork returned me to the world police chases, the boredom of the police canteen at 3 am and even found me living in a police station for two months. Despite the lure of the field I completed my doctorate entitled 'Avoiding Trouble - an observation study of police patrolling in two police forces' in 1986 whilst simultaneously being employed as a research officer on a two year ESRC project to evaluate the impact of community policing initiatives.

1987 saw me take up a temporary, one year, teaching post at the then Ealing College of Higher Education (now Thames Valley University) and in 1988 a permanent post at Newcastle Polytechnic (now Northumbria University) to teach the sociology of deviance, criminal justice and social research methods. I moved to Hull to become a lecturer in Criminology in 1993 and began to develop my research profile and interest in the sociology of surveillance. I started with an ESRC grant to explore the subterranean world of the police use of informers, and then in the wake of the tragic killing of toddler Jamie Bulger, a grant to examine the social impact of CCTV surveillance. In 1998 I was awarded funding by the ESRC to run a series of seminars on Surveillance. This for the first time brought together interdisciplinary researchers concerned with the social impact of the new surveillance technologies. As a direct result we established a free online journal entitled Surveillance & Society - of which I am one of the founding editors. At present I am working on a comparative study of the social impact of CCTV in seven European countries.

Read about the social impact of CCTV in seven European countries

Visit the online journal Surveillance & Society

Research

For the last decade my research has involved documenting and analysing the increased use of surveillance in contemporary society. In particular it has focused on the police use of informants, CCTV surveillance, and surveillance in criminal justice system. I have also played a central role in establishing Surveillance Studies as a specialist field of knowledge by building the infrastructure to create a viable sub-discipline. This has informed my work in setting up: a journal - Surveillance and Society; creating an academic community of scholars the through the Surveillance Studies Network; hosting a biennial conference (held in Sheffield 2004, 2006, 2008); being awarded (with others) an ESRC seminar series, and participating in range of international collaborations, UrbanEye, 2001-2004, Technical University of Berlin); For Whom the Bell Curves, 2005-9, (University of Trondheim); The New Transparency 2008-14) (Kingston University, Ontario), Living in Surveillance Societies (COST – University of Edinburgh 2009 – 2013).

I have also being increasingly involved in trying to influence the national and international policy agendas. The publication of the SSN report on the Surveillance Society (commissioned from the SSN by the UK´s Information Commissioner of which I was an expert contributor to and joint author of the main report) led to massive international media coverage on issues of surveillance, and heralded a major debate in the UK. In particular two select committees took as their starting point our report, the House of Lords Select committee on the Constitution, which launched an inquiry into `Surveillance Citizens and the State, and the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee inquiry into `A Surveillance Society?´ As part the SSN I presented written evidence to both select committees and gave oral evidence to the Lords. In addition I have advised the American Department of Homeland Security, on the policy implications of CCTV, and mot recently have written a review of CCTV and Crime Prevention for the European Parliament´s, Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, which has been circulated to all member of the Parliament.

The major funded research I have been involved in include:

Funded Research Projects
Date Sponsor Details
2012-15 European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)

RESPECT Rules, Expectations & Security through Privacy-Enhanced Convenience Technologies

2012-15 European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)

Increasing Resilience in Surveillance Societies (IRISS).
IRISS will reconstruct the spread of surveillance systems and technologies in public and private sectors from the perspective of their impact on the fabric of a democratic society.

2011-14 European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) Scalable Measures for Automated Recognition Technologies (SMART).
The SMART project will evaluate the use of 'intelligent' surveillance systems, and consider the social, ethical and legal implications of their increased deployment.
2008-10 ESRC (as part of their annual seminar competition) The Everyday Life of Surveillance
2006 (May-November) Information Commissioners Office The Surveillance Society

View full report
2001-04 European Union Fifth Framework A comparative study of the operation of CCTV in seven European capitals (Berlin, Budapest, Copenhagen, London, Madrid, Oslo and Vienna) based on quantitative and ethnographic observation, documentary analysis, survey questionnaire and semi-structured interviews
1994-96 ESRC A study of the operation of CCTV control rooms – based on quantitative and ethnographic observation techniques
1993-95 ESRC A study of the police use of informers - based on survey questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, documentary analysis and ethnographic observation
1992 Royal Commission on Criminal Justice An examination of the conduct and supervision of serious crime investigations – based on observation, semi structured interview and documentary analysis
1990 New South Wales Police Board An analysis of the recruits experience of police training in New South Wales Austrailia – based on ethnographic observation, semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis
1986-88 ESRC A study of the practice of community policing in the UK – based on semi-structured interviews and quantitative and ethnographic observation techniques

Publications since 2005

with L’Hoiry, X. (2015) 'The honest data protection officer’s guide to enable citizens to exercise their subject access rights: lessons from a ten-country European study'. International Data Privacy Law, 5(3), 190-204. doi:10.1093/idpl/ipv009

(2011) 'There’s no success like failure and failure’s no success at all': Some critical reflections on understanding the global growth of CCTV surveillance, in Aaron Doyle, Randy Lippert, David Lyon eds Eyes Everywhere in The Global Growth of Camera Surveillance, Routledge.

with Raab,C., Ball, K.,Graham, S., Lyon, D. and Murakami-Wood, D. (2010) The Surveillance Society An update report on developments since the 2006 Report on the Surveillance Society by members of the Surveillance Studies Network, published by the ICO and forms the appendix of Information Commissioner's Annual Report to the House of Commons pursuant to the Home Affairs Committee's report A Surveillance Society, fifth report of session 2007-08: fourth special report of session 2010-11 House of Commons papers 702, 2010-11, 25 pages.

(2010) 'Closed Circuit Television: a review of its development and its implications for privacy' in Shlomo G. Shoham, Paul Knepper and Martin Kett. eds The International Handbook of Criminology. Boca Raton: Taylor and Francis.

with Knepper, P. (2009) 'Fingerprint and photograph: the early history of surveillance technologies in the manufacture of suspect identities', pp. 77-100 in Knepper, P., Doak, J. and Shapland, J. (eds) Urban Crime Prevention, Surveillance and Restorative Justice: Effects of Social Technologies. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor and Francis.

(2009) A review of the increased use of CCTV and video-surveillance for crime prevention purposes in Europe, Briefing Paper for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE), European Parliament: Brussels. 23 pages.

(2007) `The Intensification and Bifurcation of Surveillance in British Criminal Justice Policy´ in European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research Special edition on Fear v. Freedom post 9/11 - The European Perspective

with Wilson, D. (eds) (2006) Surveillance, Crime and Social Control. International Library of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Penology - Second Series, Aldershot: Ashgate

with Wilson, D (2006) 'Introduction to Surveillance, Crime and Social Control' in Norris, C. and Wilson, D. (eds) (2006) Surveillance, Crime and Social Control. International Library of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Penology - Second Series Ashgate

with McCahill, M. (2006) ‘CCTV: Beyond Penal Modernism?' The British Journal of Criminology 46: pp97-118 ISSN 0007-0955

(2006) ‘Criminal Justice’ expert report in A Report on the Surveillance Society for the Information Commissioners Office compiled by the Surveillance Studies Network. 13 pages.
Available at http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/data_protection/practical_application/surveillan
ce_society_appendices_06.pdf

with Ball, K., Lyon, D., Murakimi-Wood, D., and Raab, C. (2006) A Report on the Surveillance Society for the Information Commissioners Office by the Surveillance Studies Network: Full Report. pp 1-102.
Available at: http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/data_protection/practical_application/surveillan
ce_society_full_report_2006.pdf

(2006) Closed Circuit Television: a review of its development and its implications for privacy a paper prepared for the Department of Homeland Security Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee quarterly meeting on June 7th, in San Francisco, CA. pp1-27
Report available on receipt of email request from privacycommittee@dhs.gov

A full list of publications can be downloaded by clicking the link on the right of this page.

Teaching

I currently teach two undergraduate modules:

  • SCS213 Contemporary Perspectives in Crime and Deviance
  • SCS1007 Understanding Crime - Sociological Perspectives

See our Undergraduate Degree pages.

I also contribute to the MA in Social Research.
MA in Social Research

Postgraduate Supervision

I particularly welcome applications from students in the specialist areas listed below although I have broad interests in the sociology of deviance and social control and comparative criminology.

  • The sociology of policing
  • The police use of informers
  • The impact and effectiveness of CCTV surveillance
  • Surveillance in the workplace
  • The sociology of the new surveillance technologies (DNA, Drug and Alcohol Testing)
  • The experience of surveillance
  • The media representation of surveillance
  • Decision making in the criminal justice system

To find out more about our PhD programmes, go to:
Studying for a PhD in Sociology