Till Langschied: The Big Other’s Big Data: Reflections From Surveilled Life


Thesis Advisor: Ghalya Saadawi

June 2023


This thesis unfolds several theoretical perspectives on how our society can be defined by data collecting and surveillance to then ask the question why we–as citizens and users–allow surveillance and even actively engage in it. To answer this question it will introduce the Lacanian terms of gaze and jouissance. The main claim of this thesis is that because of a broken chain of signification within the postmodern condition, we need the gaze of an Other to make sure we exist as valid selves. Thereby, being watched and surveilled becomes a desired enjoyment. Additionally we try to gain jouissance by using the internet as a tool for transgression but must necessarily fail in this attempt. In the end, jouissance must remain unfulfilled, circling around the object it desires, namely a cohesive self.