Persuasive Surveillance

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In today’s society, every aspect of a person’s life is constantly under surveillance. People are always watching and documenting someone’s every move, whether they are driving to the grocery store, watching a movie in their house, or making a phone call on their cell phone. Modern technology makes it easy to surveil people and track their movements. Therefore, making it very easy to place people into different categories based on what they do in their everyday lives. Michel Foucault believes that surveillance “compares, differentiates, hierarchizes, homogenizes, [and] excludes” people. (Foucault, 1977, p. 183) Surveillance is being used to categorize people who do not fit society’s norm. This happens because the information is being retained and stored, which it then helps place different people into different categories.
Surveillance is being used to control the behavior of, label, and hierarchize people. In Discipline & Punish, Michel Foucault describes how the first prisons use surveillance to watch the prisoners in the 1600’s. As quoted from Foucault (1977), “He is seen, but he does not see; he is the object of information, and never a subject in communication” (p. 200). Foucault describes his idea of the panopticon. There is a ring of prison cells that surround a guard tower. From the guard tower, it is possible to see into all of the prison cells. The prisoners couldn’t see the guards in the guard tower, but the guards could always see the prisoners. This
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