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Surveilance - Essay Example

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One of the well-known principles that are laid out in his works is the panoptic principle, the idea that constant surveillance, or more appropriately the constant…
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Download file to see previous pages ttempts to show how Michel Foucault’s notion of surveillance using the panoptic principle is in fact made manifest by the use of video and still cameras. Further, panopticism has been used as themes of various photo exhibits, no doubt inspired by the creeping feeling of being watched.
The practice of placing individuals under ‘observation’ is a natural extension of a justice imbued with disciplinary methods and examination procedures. Is it surprising that the cellular prison, with its regular chronologies, forced labour, its authorities of surveillance and registration, its experts in normality, who continue and multiply the functions of the judge, should have become the modern instrument of penality? Is it surprising that prisons resemble factories, schools, barracks, hospitals, which all resemble prisons? (p. 228).
In this particular passage, Foucault outlines the mechanisms that the prison uses in controlling criminality. On closer examination, what he in fact outlines are the mechanisms that operate within different social institutions. This is a noteworthy point, since the institutions that he mentioned, i.e. factories, schools, barracks, and hospitals, all function in essentially the same way as the modern prison. These all use specific procedures and techniques to discipline subjects. What follows is a discussion of Foucault’s notion of discipline as correct training, with its particular mechanisms and techniques.
Foucault’s book was originally titled in French, Surveiller et punir. The translator, Alan Sheridan, explained at the outset the difficulty in translating the title itself for various reasons. Apparently, the French surveiller does not have a directly appropriate English counterpart. The term “surveillance” proved too limited, and “supervise” tended to be understood quite differently from what Foucault originally meant. In the end, Foucault himself chose Discipline and Punish, clarifying in the book that the term ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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