Blog Post 5

Originally conceptualized by Michel Foucault, panopticism revolves around the idea of constant surveillance, instilling the notion that individuals are under constant observation. This belief prompts individuals to regulate their own behavior, conforming to societal norms. Serving as a disciplinary tool, panopticism molds conduct by ingraining the fear of being watched and the internalization of surveillance. In contemporary times, panopticism manifests through the omnipresence of surveillance cameras strategically placed in public spaces. These cameras create an all-encompassing environment of scrutiny, reinforcing the idea that our actions are perpetually monitored, regardless of actual oversight. This continuous surveillance prompts individuals to modify their behavior to comply with societal expectations.

Surveillance cameras placed in public places like streets, parks, and transit hubs serve as a reminder of possible monitoring, causing individuals to accept the idea of being under observation. As a result, people adapt their behavior accordingly, adhering to societal norms to avoid any potential scrutiny or punishment. This may lead individuals to refrain from engaging in actions deemed socially unacceptable, like littering or vandalism, out of fear of being recorded and facing the consequences.

Furthermore, the expansion of surveillance technology transcends physical environments to encompass digital platforms and virtual interactions. With the prevalence of closed-circuit television cameras, facial recognition software, and online tracking mechanisms, individuals’ actions both offline and online fall under surveillance and supervision. This perpetual surveillance engenders a culture of self-monitoring, where individuals modulate their conduct to harmonize with societal standards and anticipations, even in the absence of direct supervision.

The regulatory influence of panopticism lies in its capacity to mold behavior through the internalization of surveillance apparatuses. By assimilating the belief that we are constantly observed, individuals become complicit in their own regulation, adhering to societal norms and principles to circumvent perceived scrutiny or evaluation. In this manner, panopticism functions as a mechanism of social governance, prompting individuals to behave in manners deemed acceptable or “appropriate” by society, thereby fortifying prevailing power configurations and norms.

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