Michel Foucault and the Panopticon

18 Dec

Michel Foucault was one of many that understood that we as individuals react differently in different situations. A technique that Foucault cited often was the architectural design of the ‘Panopticon’   by Jeremy Bentham that was intended for prisons, insane asylums, schools, hospitals and factories. The was to regulate behave of people via observations rather than violent methods (Mason).

The regulation was achieved as prisoners would be under the impression that they where always being monitored. the structure designed allowed the guards to see into each of the cells from the high central tower but at the same time unseen by the prisoners. This idea of constant observations was used as a control method for the inmates.

This idea ties tightly with the idea of where do we draw the line between surveillance/security and our freedom. As this is such an important topic as surveillance technology is improving and getting wider spread throughout urban spaces.

The topic is that passers by are under a form of constant observation and knowing this they are then changing there behaviour.



Mason, Moya. ‘Foucault And His Panopticon – Power, Knowledge, Jeremy Bentham, Surveillance, Smart Mobs, Protests, Cooperation, Philosopher’. Moyak.com. N.p., 2014. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.


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