Panopticism

Quietly Disruptive

Panopticism – MICHEL FOUCAULT

Panoptic DiagramThe major effect of the Panopticon is that it induces into the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility. This assures an automatic functioning of power. It is so arranged that the surveillance, even while it may not be continuous in its action, is permanent in its effects. The inmate is aware that they are constantly on show and cannot hide anything forcing them to act in whatever way they believe those watching are expecting of them. This “perfection of power” may actually render its actual exercise unnecessary; this piece of architectural apparatus effectively works as a machine for both creating and sustaining a relationship of power that is independent of whoever exercises it. The inmates effectively become caught up in a power situation where they bear the power over themselves without realising it.

The Panopticon is so efficient because the constraining force of power…

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