Secret Mission (Undercover)

Panopticism has been embedded in our society in many ways but one specific example is secret shoppers and undercover cops. These two concepts make it to that people subconsciously feel like they need to be on their best behavior because there could always be someone watching. It is the idea that people who look just like us have hidden power or authority to punish us so we try to act in accordance with agreed rules and regulations. Parents take the time to tell their children to act respectfully and to follow rules because we never know who could be watching and what consequences may come from acting out. Cameras are mostly visible and cops in uniforms are too, but when they are not wearing their uniform it poses a greater power because they can watch civilians and go unnoticed.  People do not like uncertainty and so the idea that at any moment they could be caught forces them to practice proper behavior. It is the same concept that predicts for young children to try to act properly in a classroom when a teacher steps out for a moment because they don’t know the exact moment she might come back or if something else is monitoring them. Or the same idea that “honest” people don’t steal office supplies from their large corporations because they may get in trouble with their bosses who possess more authority and they don’t know what each higher-up looks like. These thoughts affect how everyone functions in public spaces, especially spaces where they have a reputation to uphold and don’t want to be labeled a thief or rebellious. This form of panopticism helps to enforce good behavior without military or other forms of manpower. Also as I briefly mentioned earlier, when you see someone in uniform that represents authority or you see a camera then you can just avoid those areas and sneakily participate in unacceptable behavior. But, when you do not know where or what to avoid it becomes more difficult to set aside the fears of being labeled deviant.

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