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Scholars such as G. T. Marx have noted a “research methods gap” in social science–oriented approaches to surveillance studies. In this chapter, we argue that these questions about research methods are important for feminist surveillance studies scholars to reflect on. To illustrate some of the methodological as well as conceptual limits of surveillance studies, we briefly compare surveillance studies to policing studies, security studies, and intelligence studies. After raising these questions about the direction of surveillance studies and the “research methods gap” therein, we turn to a discussion of the feminist work of Dorothy Smith and her idea of institutional ethnography (IE). Drawing from Smith’s work on IE and her focus on texts in organizations offers methodological and analytical tools for critically investigating surveillance practices and carrying out empirical research in feminist surveillance studies. Building on Smith’s work and IE as a method of inquiry, we provide a social science oriented methodological approach for feminist surveillance studies.

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