Foucault once stated, “Our society is one not of spectacle, but of surveillance; under the surface

800 WordsApr 23, 20194 Pages
Foucault once stated, “Our society is one not of spectacle, but of surveillance; under the surface of images, one invests” (301). By this, he means that our society is full of constant supervision that is not easily seen nor displayed. In his essay, Panopticism, Foucault goes into detail about the different disciplinary societies and how surveillance has become a big part of our lives today. He explains how the disciplinary mechanisms have dramatically changed in comparison to the middle ages. Foucault analyzes in particular the Panopticon, which was a blueprint of a disciplinary institution. The idea of this institution was for inmates to be seen but not to see. As Foucault put it, “he is the object of information, never a subject in…show more content…
Foucault began to compare this new idea of surveillance, power and punishment of the Panopticon to the power during the Middle Ages by the King which was more public in contrast to the Panopticon. The Panopticon was more discrete. It was not a show or form of entertainment when someone was punished unlike when someone is punished with the King. By exploring this, Foucault demonstrated how surveillance has changed overtime. Foucault’s primary example of a disciplinary institution was the Panopticon planned by J. Bentham. It was what seemed to be precise in the aspects of control, power, discipline, and isolation. It was for all types of people such as a schoolboy, worker, sickly patient or a madman. It was created to stop all foolishness. Inmates needed to be watched constantly to make sure that everything and everyone were in order; therefore there was special architecture produced in order to accomplish that task. The Panopticon was designed to be a circular building with a tower in the very center. The tower had big windows in order for the guard to be able to see everything that the inmates were doing. The cells were similar to a dungeon. They were very small and isolated. There was no communication between each other nor could the inmates see or communicate with the guard. As Foucault asserted,” Bentham laid down the principle that power should be visible and

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