Michael Foucault’s essay Panopticism was written much differently than other essays that I have read. Panopticism is intended to be, as mentioned by Hunter, a “meticulous tactical partitioning” (pg. 212). Foucault writes in such a different style then most of the authors that I have studied. He uses unique grammar and sentence structures that make sense but take a while to understand, as well as different use words that truly mean one thing and in his mind meaning another and even just random quotes. From reading the Introduction in Ways of Reading, I managed to have a better approach to understanding such difficult pieces as this one. Reading with and against the grain has been a very big help as well as other techniques mentioned in the book.
As stated in Tracey Hunter’s essay, “All readers find Foucault’s prose tough going. It helps to realize that it is necessarily difficult. Foucault, remember, is trying to work outside of, or in spite of, the usual ways of thinking and writing. He is trying not to reproduce the standard discourse but to point to what it cannot or will not say.” (pg 209) Tracey used this passage throughout her essay to show that Panopticism is meant to be a more intellectual piece and needs to be looked at in different ways in order to get the points across. She speaks of the “strategic” methods in which Foucault writes and connects different concepts, such as when she speaks of his “definition” of discipline. Hunter states “Discipline is commonly used term among Foucault’s essay and is not always used in the terminology we are used to… After rereading, I understood that Foucault used the term to fix an area up as to reinforce change.” This is a good example of how Foucault uses common terminology and makes his own “meaning” of the terms. He seems to make different connections with objects that usually do not “go” together, such as the plague and leprosy.
In Panopticism Foucault speaks of the plague in Europe and the
Cited: Bartholomae, David and Anthony Petrosky. “Introduction: Ways of Reading.” Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Readers. 8th Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008. 209-236. English Dept. of Quinnipiac University. “Part Seven: Editing Grammar.” The College Writers Reference. 5th Ed. Upper Saddle River: New Jersey, 2008. 335-350. Foucault, Michel. “Panopticism.” Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Readers. 8th Ed. By: David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008. 209-236.