Lisa Lucile Owens

Lisa Lucile Owens


Notes on the use of Surveillance in Public Housing

Dissertation Review Committee

Research Interest


My research focuses on the legal, policy and social aspects of capital, finance, and surveillance technologies within urban and corporate environments. 

My dissertation project uses ethnographic methods, including interviews and observation, as well as historical and statistical analysis to interrogate the use of surveillance in public housing complexes in New York, reflecting on how it shapes lived experience.  Engaging with the work of Lefebvre, Wacquant, Goffman, and Sassen, the dissertation explores social ordering, stigmatization, norm durability, and place-making among NYCHA residents.  I further contrast the experiences of residents of neighborhoods that are on both sides of the city-wide demographic shifts associated with gentrification, contextualizing their interactions at the macro and micro levels. 

Among the theoretical implications of the dissertation’s conclusions are an enhanced understanding of the connections between the persistence of social inequality, the ‘terra non grata’ of certain urban spaces, and the dismantling of the social welfare state. The practical implications of this work are significant and add to the discourses on the function of technology in the creation of new types of barriers.

With applicable expertise acquired in my work as a capital markets attorney, my interests in mapping the influence of technology and capital upon social phenomena aspire to push the frontiers of sociological study.  As a former Public Affairs Director at Planned Parenthood of Alabama, my interests are also strongly rooted in a commitment to social justice. 


M.Phil. Columbia University

M.A. Columbia University

LL.M., Banking and Financial Law, Boston University

J.D. Boston College Law School

B.A. Birmingham-Southern College


Justice and Warfare in Cyberspace - The Boston Review (2015)
The Vultures of Wall Street: The Financial Firms that Prey on Sovereign Debt - The Boston Review (2014), Co-authored with Saskia Sassen
Coerced Parenthood as Family Policy: Feminism, the Moral of Women, and Men's "Right to Choose" - Alabama Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Law Review (2013)


TA, Senior Thesis Course

TA, The Social World (Introduction to Sociology)

TA, Global Urbanism

RA, Saskia Sassen