Discipline And Punish: The Panopticon

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Imprisoned in Daily Life In this section of his book “Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison”, Michel Foucault describes the Panopticon. This is an architectural design used in many prison systems. There is a central tower, where a guard stands, surrounded by a ring-shaped building divided into cells. Each cell has two windows, one facing the tower and the other on the outer side, which allows light to shine through. The structure of the Panopticon allows the guard to observe the prisoners without them knowing whether or not they are actually being watched. Another benefit to this design is that the prisoners are all separated. Each individual does not have the ability to communicate or even see the others. The concept of “the mass” of completely erased. The Panopticon generates a sense of centralized power, because the…show more content…
Foucault describes this idea by saying, “power should be visible and unverifiable” (Foucault, 201). Visible refers to the idea that the inmate will always be looking toward the central tower where the guard is stationed and unverifiable refers to the inmate never knowing which prisoner the guard is watching at any specific moment. Furthermore, Foucault discusses how the Panopticon is the basic structure of many things in daily life. Hospitals, institutions, offices, even schools are built using the same design. Each of these uses the structure slightly different. In a hospital the nurses station would act as the central tower, allowing the nurses to keep an eye on their patients at all times, and the different hospital rooms would be equivalent to the cells, but instead of trying to keep prisoners from one another, this confinement would help stop the spread of disease. An office building with this format, on the other hand, would have the boss functioning as the guard and each individual cubicle would represent a cell. This encourages the employees to always be working hard because they

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