Michel Foucault's Panopticism

Good Essays
Samantha Brown
Benjamin Ondieki
English 102
27-Sept-08
A Modern Prison In the beginning of Michel Foucault’s writing Panopticism, he tell us of a plague stricken town and the precautions taken to ensure the disease is contained. The town is closed down to all; no one comes in and no one leaves. Each family is confined to their house, “prohibited to leave under punishment of death” (209). Guards and such are places throughout the town to secure it as well as keep records of how everyone feels and any occurrences that take place. The people of the town are watched constantly; everything they do is seen by their guard or intendants. Not only can the people not move around their town or leave their homes, they are not able to have any
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Just as the town was divided into quarters because of the disease, the media creates divisions in society. These divisions are largely societal. The news and other shows such as sitcoms tend to stereotype people. Because the media has long been a source of vital information, people don’t often think it could be sending the wrong message or even providing false information. These stereotypes are sometimes seen as being a burden or disease to society. Many people feel that the world would just be a better place if the unmentionables of their towns would just disappear. These groups will be forced into one of a town or city, segregating the town into different quarters, just as Foucault speaks …show more content…
“Inspection functions ceaselessly. The gaze is alert everywhere”(210). In the plague stricken town, it was imperative that all actions and occurrences were recorded. Strict record keeping was the only way to make sure the disease didn’t spread. Power and suppression, the panopticon, was used to protect the masses. People no longer it this way. The media now thinks it must give the people their right to know every detail of every news story. If that means invading someone’s home or privacy to get “the real story”, so be it. Will people act differently if they know that someone may be watching them. Everyone has things they do in private that they wouldn’t want anyone to see. Always having the fear the you could be seen would stop you from doing what you had been. The media has become liberal with its regulations. “The practice of placing individuals under observation is a natural extension of a justice imbued with disciplinary methods and examination procedures”(236). Video and audio surveillance has become much more prevalent in recent decades, so much so that some fear people are being watched too much. When is surveillance too much? Many surveillance systems are in place to protect citizens from crime, but sometimes they can be used against innocent people. In today’s society, it is hard to argue either side of this

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