The Discursive Construction of Biometric Surveillance in the Israeli Press: Nationality, citizenship, and democracy

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7 Scopus citations

Abstract

In 2017, following vigorous public debate, Israel established a centralized biometric database for storing its citizens’ bodily information. This step, according to privacy advocates, signifies a critical phase in the development of Israel as a surveillance society. This study examines coverage of Israel’s biometric project by three leading Israeli newspapers. Drawing on the intersection of media studies and surveillance studies, it employs discourse analysis to understand how the Israeli press constructs this project in various contexts, asking which narratives are promoted and how they coalesce into a consistent story about Israel’s surveillance agenda. The analysis points to two competing sub-discourses–legitimizing and delegitimizing–each of which positions Israel differently, either as a vulnerable victim of external enemies or as an abusive state violating its citizens’ rights. Surprisingly, Israeli coverage is more critical than supportive, offering a strong and challenging criticism of Israel’s surveillance. I suggest two explanations for the difference between the Israeli case and other accounts, which tend to be supportive, poor, and superficial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)972-990
Number of pages19
JournalJournalism Studies
Volume20
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 19 May 2019

Keywords

  • Biometrics
  • Israel
  • citizenship
  • discourse analysis
  • framing
  • nationality
  • surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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