Contemporary Sociological Theory Final Exam

2166 WordsDec 19, 20149 Pages
Contemporary Sociological Theory Final Exam Section I, Question 1: In Shearing and Stenning’s “From the Panopticon to Disney World,” the world-renowned fantasy amusement park is revealed to be a compelling embodiment of Michel Foucault’s ideas regarding the disciplinary society. In Foucault’s writings on the prison panopticon—his idea of a perfected disciplinary institution of a disciplinary society—Foucault describes how inmates (or Disney’s guests) behavior and movements is overseen and tightly controlled (Dillon, p. 371). This level of control is clear from the moment you enter Disney: barriers, guardrails, and directions guide you to preordained locations, and Disney employees and rides reinforce those restrictions and guidances at numerous points throughout your visit (Shearing, p. 301-302). More significantly, in the panopticon design, inmates are always under surveillance. Further, inmates are aware they are always under surveillance—even if they cannot see their supervisor—so that they begin monitoring their own actions to conform with rules and restrictions (Dillon, p. 371). At Disney, once a guest breaks the rules or regulations, they quickly become aware that they are being surveilled. Park employees in unassuming costumes seemingly unrelated to security or rule-enforcement are trained to enforce rules and hold guests accountable as soon as they act out-of-line, making clear to guests that they are always being surveilled even if they cannot see the supervisors

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