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The Role of Panopticon in Panopticism Paper 1: Theorizing Literature Unit 2: Power Michel Foucault. “Panopticism”. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Rinu Krishna K MPhil 2014-15 Institute of English 21-Nov-14

Michel Foucault Panopticon

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One of the revolutionary ideas put forward by Foucault is the various measures of surveillance, to ensure discipline in a society. Such a consented voyeurism always has a panopticon structure. Foucault talks about the age old prison, and how such surveillance structures are employed in other institutions from mental asylums to public schools to ensure discipline. The 184 idea of a big brother watching has gained prominence today with the internet, satellites giving rise to a virtual panopticon today.

Text of Michel Foucault Panopticon

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The Role of Panopticon in PanopticismPaper 1: Theorizing LiteratureUnit 2: PowerMichel Foucault. Panopticism. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison.Rinu Krishna K MPhil 2014-15Institute of English19-Aug-14Paul Michel Foucault (15 October 1926 25 June 1984)

19-Aug-14Rinu Krishna K MPhil 2014-15 Institute of English A French philosopher, historian of ideas, social theorist, philologist and literary critic. Through his impressive career Foucault became known for his many demonstrative arguments that power depends not on material relations or authority but instead primarily on discursive networks. This new perspective as applied to old questions such as madness, social discipline, body-image, truth, normative sexuality etc. were instrumental in designing the post-modern intellectual landscape we are still in nowadays. Today he is accepted as having been the most influential social theorist of the second half of the twentieth century. Foucault's Discipline and Punish

Foucault published Discipline and Punish: The Birth of a Prison in 1975, offering a history of the penal system in Western Europe. In it he seeks to analyze punishment in its social context, and to examine how changing power relations affected punishment. He begins by analyzing the situation before the eighteenth century, when public execution and corporal punishment were key systems, and torture was part of most criminal investigations. He further discusses the evolution of the disciplinary power and states that it has three elements: hierarchical observation, normalizing judgment and examination. In its central chapter, Panopticism, he builds on Bentham's conceptualization of the panopticon as he elaborates upon the function of disciplinary mechanisms in such a prison and illustrates the function of discipline as an apparatus of power. He further analyzes the network of power that is spread throughout society, which is controlled by the rules of strategy alone and that any call for its abolition fail to recognize the depth at which it is embedded in modern society. Thus he develops Panopticon as a metaphor for modern "disciplinary" societies and their pervasive inclination to observe and normalise.19-Aug-14Rinu Krishna K MPhil 2014-15 Institute of EnglishFoucault's Discipline and Punish

19-Aug-14Rinu Krishna K MPhil 2014-15 Institute of English the existence of a whole set of techniques and institutions for measuring, supervising and correcting the abnormal brings into play the disciplinary mechanisms to which the fear of the plague gave rise. All the mechanisms of power which, even today, are disposed around the abnormal individual, to brand him and to alter him, are composed of those two forms from which they distantly derive. Benthams Panopticon is the architectural figure of this composition.Benthams (1748-1842) Panopticon

19-Aug-14Rinu Krishna K MPhil 2014-15 Institute of English

The Panopticon is a type of institutional building designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The concept of the design is to allow a single watchman to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) inmates of an institution without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. The design consists of a circular structure with an inspection house at its centre, from which the manager or staff of the institution are able to watch the inmates, who are stationed around the perimeter. Bentham conceived the basic plan as being equally applicable to hospitals, schools, sanatoriums, daycares, and asylums, but he devoted most of his efforts to developing a design for a Panopticon prison, and it is his prison which is most widely understood by the term. The Panopticon Visibility is a trapAt the periphery, an annular building; at the centre, a tower; this tower is pierced with wide windows that open onto the inner side of the ring; the peripheric building is divided into cells, each of which extends the whole width of the building; they have windows, one on the inside, corresponding to the windows of the tower, the other on the outside, allows the light to cross the cell from one end to the other.Reverses the principle of a dungeon.Axial visibility & Lateral invisibility a guarantee of orderPermanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power.Power is visible & unverifiable.

Panopticon mechanism of power reduced to its ideal form19-Aug-14Rinu Krishna K MPhil 2014-15 Institute of EnglishIt automatizes & disindividualizes power.It does not matter who exercises the power.Produces homogeneous effects of power.Economic geometry of a house of certainty.Does the work of a naturalist.Laboratory of power.A cruel ingenious cage.Polyvalent in its applicationsIt gives power of mind over mind.

19-Aug-14Rinu Krishna K MPhil 2014-15 Institute of EnglishMay be subjected to irregular and constant inspections.Democratically controlled Accessible to the great tribunal committee of the world.May be supervised by society as a whole.

Panopticon democratically controlled

The Role of the Panopticon

To strengthen the social forces.A new political anatomy whose object and end are not the relations of sovereignty but the relations of discipline.To spread effective education.Exerts a moral influence over behavior.As centres of observation disseminated throughout society.State-control over the mechanisms of discipline.Instrument of permanent, exhaustive, omnipresent surveillancehierarchized network.the formation of a disciplinary society in the movement from enclosed disciplines to an infinitely extendible "panopticismWe are in a panoptic machine the individual is carefully fabricated in it.

Formation of a Disciplinary Society19-Aug-14Rinu Krishna K MPhil 2014-15 Institute of English

Triple objectives of the disciplines to increase the docility and the utility of all the elements of the system.Using the multiplicity itself as an instrument of discipline.The panoptic modality of power..continued to work on the juridical structures of the society..the enlightenment which discovered the liberties, also invented the disciplines.Discipline is a counter-law.The infinitely minute web of panoptic techniques.The schema of power-knowledge in each discipline.The ideal point of penalty today would be an indefinite discipline.

19-Aug-14Rinu Krishna K MPhil 2014-15 Institute of English

Panopticon Today19-Aug-14Rinu Krishna K MPhil 2014-15 Institute of English

Panopticon Today19-Aug-14Rinu Krishna K MPhil 2014-15 Institute of English

Panopticon Today19-Aug-14Rinu Krishna K MPhil 2014-15 Institute of English


Thank you19-Aug-14Rinu Krishna K MPhil 2014-15 Institute of English