Foucault: Panopticon

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Foucault: Panopticon
During the seventeenth century, the plague became a very big issue. Many died from it, and many societies were devastated from the aftermath. During this time, however, many higher officials felt the need to create guidelines to deal with the problem of the plague. The solution was isolation and strict discipline. There was constant surveillance, and the residents were checked on frequently to make sure they were following orders. This community during the plague was designed for strict discipline, and many would have to make sacrifices. This view of control that was developed during the time of the plague became a basis for how we deal with unwanted, undesireable individuals.

Based on this type of quarantine, the Panopticon was created. At the heart of this building, a tower stands that is capable of seeing into all of the windowed cells of those being confined. Everyone in the building is separated from one another and has no communication with others. With the constant visibility of the inmates, control and power over the individuals are overwhelming. This type of control is definitely worth considering. As the reading said, “visibility is a trap.” The individual is unable to break rules if the overseers can see it and stop it before things escalate. Being able to constantly see the persons incarcerated allows officials to keep track of their status. Isolation is also a great way to ensure power and control over the inmates. Individuals can be taken care of one at a time instead of having to deal with big groups.

The idea of the Panopticon isn’t just associated with architecture but can also be seen in society today. Everywhere we go, there’s at least a camera or an individual watching our every move. In our modern society, technology has been incorporated into the observation of its inhabitants. By being under constant scrutiny, people are afraid to break rules and order. If someone knows they’re being...
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