Panopticism In Our Current Society

One way that Panopticism has been embedded into our society is through surveillance. Michel Foucault mentioned that one of the major functions of Panopticism was “to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power.” Foucault discussed how this concept displayed true power by explaining how the presence of a high tower allowed the prisoners to be able to see where the person in charge or the person who has the most power is located, but they are left unaware of whether or not they are actually being observed. This describes how visibility plays a key role in surveillance. A few ways this is portrayed in today’s society are through technology and social media. 

            Whether we realize it or not, social media and technology make it easier for people to be placed on surveillance. The creation of social media allows people to willingly put themselves on display for others. Even though we have the option to have a private or public account, there are still people who have access to your posts. The only we are able to visibly see who interacts with our posts is through likes and comments, but we have no idea who shared our posts or who they sent them to. 

But our followers aren’t the only ones who are able to observe you. Different companies also have access to you through digital surveillance. They are able to do this by tracking our likes and dislikes to create a custom algorithm tailored to your preferences to connect you with different brands and advertisements that you might like. This happens more often than we think. If you were to search online for sunscreen, there’s a chance that you will begin to see different advertisements on other applications or websites that promote various brands of sunscreen. Overall, Foucault’s idea that visibility correlates to surveillance is definitely embedded in our society through technology. 

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