Monday, 31 October 2011

Seminar 1 - Panoptcism

Panopticism relies on surveillance or at least the idea that you are always under surveillance.

Michel Foucault- Was interested in the Panopticon because it reflects our day to day lives in the modern world. Hence calling it Panopticism.

Key features of Panopticon (Jeremy Bentham 1791)
Isolation, Visibility, Surveillance, productive, Self regulation,

The power to control and exercise over people, power is a relationship, a fiction that people think they have and use over others. Power only exists because people let themselves be exploited to power.  There is a always a possibility to resist.

Institutional Gaze. For panopticism to work you need to have a constant reminder that you are being watched but knowing the subject that is watching you would twist the way you learn to reform and wouldn’t work.

Foucault calls the ideally trained human a Docile Body, somebody who wont resist, somebody who will be trained and forced to act a certain way. 

"He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection" (202-203).

The quote above can be compared to something as simple as being sat on the computers in the mac suites at college in uni, You know the technicians can see you and you can see them. There's rules to follow and JANET to stick to but the fact you're being watched puts you in a relationship where the technicians have power, purely because you feel like you're under their surveillance. Not to add to the fact they can watch you're screens.

Another college comparison could be comparing the lecture theatre to the panopticon giving the person doing the lecture a position of power. The chair's all face in the same direction, curved to centre your viewpoint, we are subjected to the lecturers field of visibility so develop a relationship where the lecturer has the power.

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