Comparison Essay

Submitted By jadamoton
Words: 804
Pages: 4

Foucault essay on “Panopticism” has more broad ideas than Frieres’ essay “The Banking
Concept”. Although the two essays had different subjects both of the main ideas tied into control.
Foucault states two idea of what he defines
'
technologies of punishment
'.
Within these technologies are two representations of punishment; Monarchical Punishment which refers to the public and torturous punishment practices present during and prior to the 18th century, and the
Disciplinary Punishment which refers to the incarceration of offenders and their subjection to the power of the prison officers. He also argues that disciplinary power often leads to self­policing of behavior through fear of being caught disobeying the rules.
To tie these ideas to society, Foucault uses Jeremy Bentham's idea of the panopticon to demonstrate the impact that constant surveillance has not only on an individual in an institution such as prison, but also on society as a whole. The panopticon is a prison design; a cylindrical building where inmates are invisible to each other, but are visible to a guard station which is located in the center of the building. However guards will not always be watching the inmates to check if they are behaving and following the rules. The whole point of the panopticon is that control is achieved through 'disciplinary power', a form of power that is described as constant, unnoticeable and internalised. The inmates are not sure whether they are being watched at any time, they must always act in accordance to the rules. Control is achieved through self­surveillance as the fear of being caught breaking the rules keeps them in line with expectations. Foucault saw panopticism present in many institutions, not just the prison system.
Institutions such as asylums, schools, military and secret services also adopt a panoptic way of disciplining, with constant surveillance acting to maintain control of those within the facilities.

However, it could also be argued that the amount of monitoring that takes place in society today could class contemporary society that we live in today to be one of panopticism. We also have moral systems, culture, behavioral norms, and socially accepted ways of thinking that control us at a central point. No matter where you go or what you do, these cultural patterns follow you.
You cannot escape them. You are powerless to escape the social norms our society chooses to adopt. So we are like prisoners in our own lives. Wherever we go and whatever we do, we are controlled by social norms and "watched" by society and the government. They know where we live. They know what we do for a living. They identify us by our addresses, social security numbers, jobs, taxes, etc. Thus, the panopticon is Foucault's symbol for how society and politics developed since the original prison was built in in the 18th century. We are all in the panopticon, because we are all controlled by centralized social norms and government.
As stated earlier Foucault saw panopticism in many institutions, which people are controlled.The prisoners have a choice to either follow the rules or to disobey the rules. However if they choose to break the rules they…