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Foucault- Panopticism (March 20).docx

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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC219H5
Professor
Jennifer Carlson

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Description
Panopticism Michel Foucault Reading for Week 10 • Bentham’s Panopticon is an architectural design • Atower in the centre with cells around it facing the tower • "perfectly individualized and constantly visible” • reverses principles of dungeon and its 3 functions (to enclose, deprive of light and to hide)- preserves the first and eliminates the other two • **Visibility is a trap • each prisoner is confined to their cell from which he can be seen by a supervisor • “he is seen, but he does not see; he is the object of information”- prisoners cannot see one another but the guard in the tower can see all of them o eliminates danger of inmates plotting together to attempt an escape, future crimes and eliminates danger of inmates from one another • “the major effect of the Panopticon: to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures automatic functioning of power” • the architectural apparatus is the machine for creating and sustaining power relationship independent of the person who exercises it- inmates are caught up in power situation in which they learn to self-govern due to the fear of being watched at any given time • visible aspect: the tower that the prisoners see at all times means there is a possibility someone is watching them; unverifiable: inmate doesn’t know when they are being watched but he can be sure that he may be being watched **Therefore, power is visible and unverifiable • eliminates need for bars, chains and he
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