Panopticism foucault essay

In Cuba 's president Gerardo Machado set out to build a modern prison, based on Bentham's concepts and employing the latest scientific theories on rehabilitation. A Cuban envoy tasked with studying US prisons in advance of the construction of Presidio Modelo had been greatly impressed with Stateville Correctional Center in Illinois and the cells in the new circular prison were to faced inwards towards a central guard tower. Because of the shuttered guard tower the guards could see the prisoners, but the prisoners could not see the guards.

Cuban officials theorised that the prisoners would "behave" if there was a probable chance that they were under surveillance and once prisoners behaved they could be rehabilitated. Between and the Cuban government built four such panopticons connected with tunnels to a massive central structure that served as a community centre. Each panopticon had five floors with 93 cells.

In keeping with Bentham's ideas, none of the cells had doors. Prisoners were free to roam the prison and participate in workshops to learn a trade or become literate, the hope being that they would become productive citizens.

Bentham, torture, modernity

However, by the time Fidel Castro was imprisoned in Gerardo Machado, the four circulars were packed with 6, men, every floor was filled with trash, there was no running water, food rations were meagre, and the government supplied only the bare necessities of life. In the Netherlands Breda , Arnhem and Haarlem penitentiary are cited as historic panopticon prisons.

Panopticism Explained

However, these circular prisons with their or so cells fail as panopticons because the inwards facing cell windows were so small that guards could not see the entire cell. The lack of surveillance that was actually possible in prisons with small cells and doors discounts many circular prison designs from being a panopticon as it had been envisaged by Bentham. Every prisoner in the Lelystad Prison wears an electronic tag and by design, only six guards are needed for prisoners instead of the usual 15 or more.

Jeremy Bentham 's panopticon architecture was not original, as rotundas had been used before, as for example in industrial buildings. However, Bentham turned the rotund architecture into a structure with a societal function, so that humans themselves became the object of control. The mill was built between and and was used for production until the late 19th century.

It was demolished in Before returning home to London he had constructed a panopticon in , near St Petersburg , which served as a training centre for young men wishing to work in naval manufacturing. Despite the fact that no panopticon was built during Bentham's lifetime, the principles he established on the panopticon prompted considerable discussion and debate. Shortly after Jeremy Bentham 's death in his ideas were criticised by Augustus Pugin , who in published the second edition of his work Contrasts in which one plate showed a "Modern Poor House".

He contrasted an English medieval gothic town in with the same town in where broken spires and factory chimneys dominate the skyline, with a panopticon in the foreground replacing the Christian hospice. Pugin, who went on to become one of the most influential 19th-century writers on architecture , was influenced by Hegel and German idealism. His Y-shape and cross-shape designs for workhouse expressed the panopticon principle by positioning the master's room as central point.

The designs provided for the segregation of inmates and maximum visibility from the centre. In the conservative historian Shirley Robin Letwin traced the Fabian zest for social planning to early utilitarian thinkers.

Why Foucault's work on power is more important than ever | Aeon Essays

She argued that Bentham's pet gadget, the panopticon prison, was a device of such monstrous efficiency that it left no room for humanity. She accused Bentham of forgetting the dangers of unrestrained power and argued that "in his ardour for reform, Bentham prepared the way for what he feared".

Libertarian thinkers began to regard Bentham's entire philosophy as having paved the way for totalitarian states. In the mids, the panopticon was brought to the wider attention by the French psychoanalyst Jacques-Alain Miller and the French philosopher Michel Foucault. He argued that the disciplinary society had emerged in the 18th century and that discipline are techniques for assuring the ordering of human complexities, with the ultimate aim of docility and utility in the system. He argued that discipline had replaced the pre-modern society of kings, and that the panopticon should not be understood as a building, but as a mechanism of power and a diagram of political technology. Foucault argued that discipline had crossed the technological threshold already in the late 18th century, when the right to observe and accumulate knowledge had been extended from the prison to hospitals, schools, and later factories.

While acceptance for corporal punishment diminished, the state gained the right to administer more subtle methods of punishment, such as to observe. Lefebvre contended, that architecture is no more than the relationship between the panopticon, people, and objects. In urban studies , academics such as Marc Schuilenburg now argue that a different self-consciousness arises among humans who live in an urban area. In Michael Radford gained international attention for the cinematographic panopticon he had staged in the film Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Of the telescreens in the landmark surveillance narrative Nineteen Eighty-Four , George Orwell said: "there was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment The French philosopher Gilles Deleuze shaped the emerging field of surveillance studies with the essay Postscript on the Societies of Control. With regards to the panopticon, Deleuze argued that "enclosures are moulds Deleuze observed that technology had allowed physical enclosures, such as schools, factories, prisons and office buildings, to be replaced by a self-governing machine, which extends surveillance in a quest to manage production and consumption.

Information circulates in the control society, just like products in the modern economy, and meaningful objects of surveillance are sought out as forward-looking profiles and simulated pictures of future demands, needs and risks are drawn up. In Thomas Mathiesen in turn expanded on Foucault's use of the panopticon metaphor when analysing the effects of mass media on society. He argued that mass media such as broadcast television gave many people the ability to view the few from their own homes and gaze upon the lives of reporters and celebrities.

Mass media has thus turned the discipline society into a viewer society. But in Peter Weibel noted that the entertainment industry does not consider the panopticon as a threat or punishment, but as "amusement, liberation and pleasure". With reference to the Big Brother television shows of Endemol Entertainment , in which a group of people live in a container studio apartment and allow themselves to be recorded constantly, Weibel argued that the panopticon provides the masses with "the pleasure of power, the pleasure of sadism, voyeurism, exhibitionism, scopophilia, and narcissism".

The service allowed residents "to see what's happening, check out the traffic and keep an eye out for crime". In their book Welcome to the Machine: Science, Surveillance, and the Culture of Control , Derrick Jensen and George Draffan called Bentham "one of the pioneers of modern surveillance" and argued that his panopticon prison design serves as the model for modern supermaximum security prisons , such as Pelican Bay State Prison in California.

She argues that the structure of chattel slavery haunts the theory of the panopticon. She proposes that the plan of the slave ship Brookes should be regarded as the paradigmatic blueprint. The metaphor of the panopticon prison has been employed to analyse the social significance of surveillance by closed-circuit television CCTV cameras in public spaces.

In , Mike Davis reviewed the design and operation of a shopping mall , with its centralised control room, CCTV cameras and security guards, and came to the conclusion that it "plagiarizes brazenly from Jeremy Bentham's renowned nineteenth-century design". In their study of CCTV camera installations in British cities, Nicholas Fyfe and Jon Bannister called central and local government policies that facilitated the rapid spread of CCTV surveillance a dispersal of an "electronic panopticon".

Particular attention has been drawn to the similarities of CCTV with Bentham's prison design because CCTV technology enabled, in effect, a central observation tower, staffed by an unseen observer. Shoshana Zuboff used the metaphor of the panopticon in her book In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power to describe how computer technology makes work more visible.

Zuboff examined how computer systems were used for employee monitoring to track the behavior and output of workers. She used the term 'panopticon' because the workers could not tell that they were being spied on, while the manager was able to check their work continuously. Zuboff argued that there is a collective responsibility formed by the hierarchy in the information panopticon that eliminates subjective opinions and judgements of managers on their employees.

Because each employee's contribution to the production process is translated into objective data, it becomes more important for managers to be able to analyze the work rather than analyze the people. Foucault's use of the panopticon metaphor shaped the debate on workplace surveillance in the s. In the sociologist Anthony Giddens expressed scepticism about the ongoing surveillance debate, criticising that "Foucault's 'archaeology', in which human beings do not make their own history but are swept along by it, does not adequately acknowledge that those subject to the power In the s and s, the emerging behavioural science approach led to skills testing and recruitment processes that sought out employees that would be organisationally committed.

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Fordism , Taylorism and bureaucratic management of factories was still assumed to reflect a mature industrial society. The Hawthorne Plant experiments — and a significant number of subsequent empirical studies led to the reinterpretation of alienation: instead of being a given power relationship between the worker and management, it came to be seen as hindering progress and modernity. In Entrapped by the electronic panopticon? Worker resistance in the call centre , Phil Taylor and Peter Bain argue that the large number of people employed in call centres undertake predictable and monotonous work that is badly paid and offers few prospects.

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As such, they argue, it is comparable to factory work. The panopticon has become a symbol of the extreme measures that some companies take in the name of efficiency as well as to guard against employee theft. Time-theft by workers has become accepted as an output restriction and theft has been associated by management with all behaviour that include avoidance of work.

In the past decades "unproductive behaviour" has been cited as rationale for introducing a range of surveillance techniques and the vilification of employees who resist them. The concept of panopticon has been referenced in early discussions about the impact of social media. The notion of dataveillance was coined by Roger Clarke in , since then academic researchers have used expressions such as superpanopticon Mark Poster , panoptic sort Oscar H.

Gandy Jr. Because the controlled is at the center and surrounded by those who watch, early surveillance studies treat social media as a reverse panopticon. In modern academic literature on social media, terms like lateral surveillance , social searching , and social surveillance are employed to critically evaluate the effects of social media. However, the sociologist Christian Fuchs treats social media like a classical panopticon. He argues that the focus should not be on the relationship between the users of a medium, but the relationship between the users and the medium.

Therefore, he argues that the relationship between the large number of users and the sociotechnical Web 2. Fuchs draws attention to the fact that use of such platforms requires identification, classification and assessment of users by the platforms and therefore, he argues, the definition of privacy must be reassessed to incorporate stronger consumer protection and protection of citizens from corporate surveillance.

According to professor Donald Preziosi , the panopticon prison of Bentham resonates with the memory theatre of Giulio Camillo , where the sitting observer is at the centre and the phenomena are categorised in an array , which makes comparison, distinction, contrast and variation legible. At the center of the rotunda beneath the dome was an elevated platform from which a degrees panorama could be viewed, illuminated through skylights.

In the work on the building that was to house the Royal Panopticon of Science and Art in London was completed. The rotunda at the centre of the building was encircled with a 91 meter procession. The interior reflected the taste for religiously meaningless ornament and emerged out of the contemporary taste for recreational learning.

Visitors of the Royal Panopticon of Science and Art could view changing exhibits, including vacuum flasks , a pin making machine and a cook stove. However, a competitive entertainment industry emerged in London [51] and despite the varying music, the large fountains, interesting experiments and opportunities for shopping , [52] two years after opening the amateur science panopticon project closed. Foucault's theories positioned Bentham's panopticon prison in the social structures of s Europe.

This led to the widespread use of the panopticon in literature, comic books, computer games, and TV series. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Prison design. For other uses, see Panopticon disambiguation. Panopticon, or The Inspection House. UCL Press. Stirring of Soul in the Workplace. Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Volume 1: to Reaktion Books.

Is Foucault 's Panopticism?

Crimmins The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Utilitarianism. Bloomsbury Publishing. You might not see anyone, but the eyes of a stranger could be gazing down on you. In Foucault's "Panopticism," a new paradigm of discipline is introduced, surveillance. No one dares to break the law, or do anything erroneous for that matter, in fear that they are being….

In order to maintain power, the trick is to stay hidden for as long as possible — keep others….