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The use of surveillance cameras in a Riyadh shopping mall: Protecting profits or protecting morality?

Alhadar, Ibrahim; McCahill, Michael


Ibrahim Alhadar


Dean Wilson

Kevin D. Haggerty

Gavin J. D. Smith


The rise of mass private property means that people increasingly spend their time in publicly accessible spaces controlled by private interests. Unlike public policing, which is reactive and morally toned, the policing that takes place in mass private property tends to be proactive and instrumental and utilizes new surveillance technologies (such as surveillance cameras) not to punish deviants, but to create and sustain the flow of profit. However, much of the literature on this topic has focused on the emergence of private policing in western industrial societies. In contrast, this study draws upon interviews and observational research conducted in the surveillance camera control room of a shopping mall in Riyadh (the capital City of Saudi Arabia) to show how private policing and the use of new surveillance technologies are shaped by existing social relations and cultural traditions. In this setting we argue that new surveillance technologies are used not only to protect profit, but to protect public morality. We discuss the significance of our empirical findings for broader theoretical debates on surveillance, gender and resistance. © 2011, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.


Alhadar, I., & McCahill, M. (2011). The use of surveillance cameras in a Riyadh shopping mall: Protecting profits or protecting morality?. Theoretical Criminology, 15(3), 315-330.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 1, 2011
Online Publication Date Aug 17, 2011
Publication Date 2011-08
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2014
Journal Theoretical Criminology
Print ISSN 1362-4806
Electronic ISSN 1461-7439
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 3
Pages 315-330
Public URL
Publisher URL