Bree’s Discipline and Punishment Blog

In this post, I chose to discuss Control and Surveillance. According to Cambridge Dictionary, surveillance is the careful watching of a person or place because of a crime that has happened or is expected. According to Oxford Dictionary control is “The power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.” We will be talking about how control and surveillance is used within the concepts of visual rhetoric, interpersonal communication, and propaganda.

Visual Rhetoric


Visual Rhetoric is “the way the images work on their own and collaborate with written text to create an argument designed to move a specific audience.”


Visual Rhetoric is often used to control people. One of the most common uses of visual rhetoric is signs. Signs are used every day to control people. For instance, we see a stop sign while driving, and we stop. There are signs in buildings that say “no smoking” and as a society we see this and don’t do it. Speed limit signs are another example of control mechanisms as it pertains to visual rhetoric. Speed limit signs are used to control how fast or slow we go. People may not follow the speed limit signs all the time, but they are aware of them and know they have to stay within a certain limit of them or there will be consequences. Signs that say “Click it or Ticket” are commonly used to control the behavior of people. These are just a few examples of the signs used to control us and our actions.

One of the ways visual rhetoric is used as surveillance is the gun control advertisement. The government monitors all gun sales in order to watch people. They have people register to buy the weapon and keep all gun sales on record. Another campaign that is used as surveillance is the no smoking campaign. When people buy tobacco products it is recorded and the data is used to create new statistics to discourage smoking.


According to Cambridge Dictionary, propaganda is “information or ideas that are spread by an organized group or government to influence people’s opinions, esp. by not giving all the facts or by secretly emphasizing only one way of looking at the facts” Propaganda is used in both control and surveillance.


Propaganda is used in surveillance in many different cases. One of the most common types of propaganda as it pertains to surveillance is in times of war. The government also during WW2 spied on people’s phone calls and their actions to catch spies. The government manipulates statistics and gives out false information. They then used this information to create more propaganda and persuade people out of becoming a spy.

Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication is the process by which people exchange information, feelings, and meaning through verbal and non-verbal messages.



One of the main components to surveillance is body language. Body language is also a key component in interpersonal communication. Security officers and police officers are trained in watching body language. The reason they are trained in this is because often times their body language is the first indicator that they are going to commit a crime, especially in regards to theft. Before someone steals something they look around for cameras and things like that. Eye contact is a key nonverbal communication. The lack of eye contact is another main point to look for during surveillance. Interpersonal communication is also used to control. Interpersonal communication is used to control people is that body language often scares children. Everyone has heard of the “Mom Look”. A mom doesn’t have to say or do anything, she can just look at a child and they know they need to stop.

The importance of body language in security and CCTV – Security News Desk. (2013). Retrieved December 09, 2016.

2011-2016, (. C. (n.d.). Interpersonal Communication Skills. Retrieved December 11, 2016

2015, May 22). Should the U.S. Government Spy on its Own People? Retrieved December 13, 2016, from

Propaganda Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved December 13, 2016, from

Surveillance Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved December 13, 2016, from

What Is the Difference Between Discipline and Punishment? (n.d.). Retrieved December 13, 2016, from

Propaganda Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved December 13, 2016, from


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