Panopticon Essay

1103 Words May 1st, 2014 5 Pages
The author of the essay “Panopticism”, Michel Foucault gives his opinion on power and discipline in Panopticism. He describes Jeremy Bentham’s “Panopticon”, a tower in the centre of a room which has vision to every cell, generalized for prisoners. In simple words, it functioned in maintaining discipline throughout the jail. It’s most distinctive feature was that; prisoners could be seen without ever seeing. Prisoners would never really know when they are watched and when not. They are always under the impression that someone is keeping an eye on them continuously and if anything goes wrong, or they make mistake, they would be punished severely. Since, a prisoner would never know when he/she is watched, they have to be at their best. In a …show more content…
It is amazing to notice how these small little things affects our behavior and individual as a whole. Addition to all these examples, one such basic example is that of surveillance cameras. We see cameras at most of the public places, banks, ATM’s capturing our every movements. We are constantly been observed, our every action is recorded and one blunder could lead us to lifetime of regrets. Thus, I feel cameras are the best example of Panopticon. Relating it to my example of the gym, there are cameras all around keeping an eye on every single move. As Foucault points out that, “He is seen, but he does not see, he is the object of information, never a subject in communication.”(287). What he means by this is, the people working out at the gym are aware that someone somewhere is keeping an eye on them but they never know when. The people are the object of information and never a subject of communication. The gym where I go is designed in a way that people are observed from anywhere you wish to see. Also, there are staffs that keep an eye. Addition to this, the owner of the gym keeps an eye on the staff. Staff never really knows when he/she is watched. Cameras are placed right across the place they usually sit. This makes the staff to behave and maintain discipline. Staff plays a crucial rule in this case. They not only have to be efficient but also maintain discipline in the gym.

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