Analysis Of Foucault's Chapter Of Panopticism

1947 Words 8 Pages
Panoptic Society
Plague stricken London is in need of order and discipline. The citizens are fearful and they struggle to find an organized solution. Through different accounts of how society reacts to fear, sickness, and the unknown, one can see proof that society needs to embrace the idea of the Panopticon.
Foucault’s chapter of Discipline and Punish, “Panopticism”, tells the reader that the most efficient way to survey a person or group of people is through the Panopticon. The Panopticon is a building set up with a unique architectural design that allows for a central power. A watch tower is surrounded by rows of cells. The people in the cells are unable to see each other but, can clearly see the watchtower in the middle. Those in the
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However, the citizens in London are unable to enforce discipline as efficiently as they could be. They lack self-control and self-discipline. In the beginning of his chapter, “Panopticism”, Foucault suggests that a plague itself may be a form of discipline. A plague is not bias, when it falls upon a town or country, anyone can be effected. A plague is unique but, in a negative way. There is not much known about the disease that is spreading, and therefore the unknown is dangerous. People are fearful because they do not know what has caused the plague or how it spreads. On the website Michel Foucault Info, Foucault says, “The plague is met by order; its function is to sort out every possible confusion: that of the disease, which is transmitted when bodies are mixed together; that of the evil, which is increased when fear and death overcome prohibitions”. The towns that are effected by the plague work to control it. They control their citizens by, enforcing curfews, locking up houses, and much more. A plague is proof that Panopticons are needed within society. The plague can get to anyone but a person doesn’t know when, how, or even if it will. When a plague strikes, people change the way they act. They do what they can to stop or avoid the plague and attempt to organize the chaos that it brings. People may act out because of their fear and try to separate …show more content…
One goal in society is to eliminate crime and make sure that those who may harm people are locked up. Society needs an organized way of containing criminals. A prison designed as a Panopticon is efficient and provides an easier way to survey and discipline prisoners. A prison guard will be able to carefully watch prisoners as individuals. Fights between prisoners and their cellmates can be avoided because there is only one person in each cell. A Panopticon could also be used to hold patients, or used in science for research or studies. If a research facility is set up like a Panopticon it would allow for a doctor or scientist to view more than one patient (whether human or animal) at a time. If a scientist is studying how multiple people react to different situations and each person is secluded in a cell he will be able to see more than one reaction at a time or focus on a single

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