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Panopticism Michel Foucault in his essay Panopticism talks about how the panopticon is a mechanism of power But what I wonder is this Is it the panopticon that holds the power or is it just the fear of being watched that really is holding the power A panopticon was originally a prison that is constructed so that prisoners can be seen at all times but the guards can not Foucault however discusses how the idea of panopticons are used at all levels of society everything from schools asylums hospitals and barracks all have panoptic similarities Knowing this one would have to believe that the power of such buildings isnt because of the people in charge of them but because of the panoptic theory The lengthy excerpt from pp 232-33 of Foucaults essay is a tough one to understand at first It tries to say that the panopticon takes power away from a single person It is not so much the person that holds the power but the mechanism itself that is powerful The power of the person in charge is meaningless The panopticon assures that everything will be different that is in its reign But it will make everything different for the better not the worse It will be different because it will make people think before they do something wrong The excerpt also tries to say that it doesnt matter who is in charge or has the power Anybody any random person can run the panopticon Any visitor regardless of their motive would only help make the panopticon more powerful The more random people you have viewing the greater the risk for the inmate of being caught doing something wrong This will only make him more aware of being observed Then the excerpt just goes on to say that the Panopticon is an incredible machine that always produces the same effects of power regardless of what it is used for This is basically
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