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In his essay Panopticism Michel Foucault discusses power and discipline the manipulation there of and their effect on society over time He also discusses Jeremy Benthams Panopticon and other disciplinary models However after reading Panopticism the question that baffles everyone is What is panopticism anyway One exceptional disciplinary model is the measures taken by a seventeenth century town when the plague appears First there is a strict spatial partitioning which involves the closing of the town and dividing it into quarters There is a syndic assigned to each street who keeps the street under surveillance This syndic locks the door to every house on his street from the outside when the quarantine begins and gives the key to his supervisor the intendant There is one intendant per quarter To get supplies to each house there are wooden canals set up between the streets and houses to distribute the residents rations of bread and wine thus allowing each person to receive his ration without communicating with the suppliers and other residents 314 Only the intendants syndics and guards are allowed to be on the streets outside of the homes No one else is permitted to leave his home for it is a crime punishable by death Each individual is fixed in his place And if he moves he does so at the risk of his life 315 Second there is ceaseless inspection A large militia commanded by good officer and men of substance guards the gates of the town 315 This strict guarding is to ensure the prompt obedience of the townspeople and the absolute power of the magistrates as well as to observe all disorder and every action Everyday the syndic goes to the street he is responsible for stopping at each house calls the inhabitants to the window and takes attendance If someone does not appear at the window they are assumed to be either sick or dead This constant surveillance is
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