Monday, November 5, 2007


The term "panopticon" was a name suggested by Jeremy Bentham. In a prison built with modern architecture, the panopticon is the central observing tower where guards can see continuously inside cells which surround the panopticon. This was a new method of surveillance in the modern prison which enable persistence control. This constant gaze controls of the prisoners affecting not only what they do but how they see themselves. This method replaced the use of a dungeon and dark cell to control the prisoner.

This image alos serves as a metaphor used by Michel Foucault for the power of governmentality in the modern state. Thus panopticon is method used by the modern state to execute and regulate continuously its control of society. Unlike the monarchical state, which uses brute force to control its subjects, the 'democratic' state uses sophisticated coercion to perform this function.

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