Is Foucault 's Panopticism?

930 Words Feb 13th, 2016 4 Pages
To start, is Foucault 's Panopticism. Panopticism uses the idea of Bentham’s Panopticon to elaborate the disciplinary ideas that he is trying to explain. The Panopticon is an “all seeing” structure that makes observations without the people ever knowing when they were being watched, even though it is clearly visible (Foucault, 204). Its gaze can be upon anyone, from a “madman, a patient, a condemned man” (Foucault, 200). These features allow Panopticism to be a passive power, rather than an active one. With this in mind, power is shifted from the hands of the individual to the anonymous “supervisor” of the Panopticon (Foucault, 200). This method of observation facilitates the transformation of individuals to controllable individuals (Foucault, 205).
As the Panopticon is established, a system of normalizing judgements is also at play. With this system, power does not need to actively enslave its people anymore. Instead, social norms are all subjected upon society passively. This is achievable through “micro-penalties” that Panoptic institutions -military, schools, and hospitals- construct (Foucault 178). All of these disciplines affect the “politeness...behavior...and speech” of society (Foucault 178). It is a system of punishment that makes everyone accountable, while rewarding and punishing individuals as a whole. This equality creates a minimum of how people should actively behave. Through the creation of this behavior minimum people become normalized and those who are…
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