Topics: Michel Foucault, Prison, Panopticon Pages: 2 (523 words) Published: March 11, 2012
Panopticism is like the design of Bentham prison Panopticon. The prison is “At the periphery, and annular building; at the center, a tower; this tower is pierced with wide windows that open onto the inner side of the ring, the periphery building is divided into cells, each of which extends the whole width of the building; they have two windows, one on the inside, corresponding to the windows of the tower; the other, on the outside, allows the light to cross the cell from one end to the other.” (Foucault, 285) Foucault talks about the meaning of Panopticism, and how it works in our society. In fact, our toady’s world is even more panoptic than ever. In the first beginning of Foucault’s text, he explains what Panopticism is. He explains Bentham’s prison design Panopticon to start his essay. The prison design was basically a prison with one inspector only in the middle of the building. The inspector can see 360 degrees of the prison, and all prisoners can see the watch. Prisoners are surrounding by the inspector’s view, it feels like a video camera is watching you 24/7. Everything happens in the prison can be saw by the inspector, so prisoners are afraid to do anything that are not allowed in the prison.Foucault builds on Bentham’s Panopticon design as he begins to talks about the function of disciplinary mechanisms in the prison. The function of disciplinary mechanisms is an apparatus of power, because the prisoners can always see the inspector, but they never know from where they are being watched. In the middle of the essay, Foucault says “But the Panopticon was also a laboratory; it could be used as a machine to carry out experiments, to alter behavior, to train or correct individuals.” (Foucault, 291) Foucault believes that the Panopticon is also a laboratory of power. He thinks that the plague-stricken town and the Panopticon show the transformations of the disciplinary program. The plague-stricken town is an exceptional case, which power is mobilized to...
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