Foucault vs. Panopticon

Topics: Michel Foucault, Prison, Panopticon Pages: 4 (1311 words) Published: June 24, 2013
Danielle Hebert
Invisible Power
Par 1: John F. Kennedy said, “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” This quote shows that when people conform to others, it becomes almost impossible to grow and become their own person. Yet, in society, there are constantly people influencing others to conform on a regular basis. For example, bosses expect their employees to behave a certain way and they are disciplined if they do not conform to their rules and regulations. There are also many other people influencing you on a daily basis such as parents, friends and teachers. Michael Foucault’s essay “Panopticism” teaches in how we are always being watched effects our behavior and makes us conform is correct, but if there is any variation, it will not work, as proven in Kesey’s novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Par 2: Michel Foucault’s essay “Panopticism” talks about the idea of control. He uses the plague and leprosy as ways of describing his point. He starts by talking about the measures taken with a plague outbreak; how the people in town are quarantined locked into their houses and watched often. They are provided with food; officials watch the streets to make sure no one tries to leave; if so, they are threatened with death. Officials also have a system of keeping information on everyone in the town. Foucault compares this reaction to leprosy: officials took lepers and moved them to a community and which isolated them. This exile away from the rest of the community ensured that leprosy didn’t spread. The plague and leprosy models both show how people can be controlled: the plague is all about surveillance while leprosy is all about isolation. The plague and leprosy are two diseases that helped show authorities how to control other people; surveillance and isolation became the “political dream of the plague” (316), meaning that authorities had total control over society. Par 3: Just like the plague and leprosy showed authorities how to control...
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