Σάββατο, 15 Αυγούστου 2009

Panopticon

12am...a new day, new start; aiming to join the "blogging world" and thanks to angel, here I am, sharing my thoughts with you.

My title? Rather simple I guess, for many of you. Let me explain myself, as a proper junior academic would do. Panopticon is a term used extensively in many sectors, e.g. politics, psychology, business studies. It was firstly introduced by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in 1975 as a new mode of obtaining power over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example.

Based on the panopticon concept, Foucault suggested that visibility is a trap; "to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power. So to arrange things that the surveillance is permanent in its effects, even if it is discontinuous in its action; that the perfection of power should tend to render its actual exercise unnecessary; that this architectural apparatus should be a machine for creating and sustaining a power relation independent of the person who exercises it; in short, that the inmates should be caught up in a power situation of which they are themselves the bearers. To achieve this, it is at once too much and too little that the prisoner should be constantly observed by an inspector: too little, for what matters is that he knows himself to be observed; too much, because he has no need in fact of being so. In view of this, Bentham laid down the principle that power should be visible and unverifiable. Visible: the inmate will constantly have before his eyes the tall outline of the central tower from which he is spied upon."

I guess you would be wondering... Why panopticon? why digital panopticon? and what is new? No I won't stalk or intrude into your personal lives; rather, the panopticon aims at a self-observation and record of my -boring or interesting; you judge- daily routine. In other words, panopticon serves as my self-prison; I am obeserved by you.
But...Am I going to conform? We are yet to see...