Foucault recognizes the panopticon, Bentham’s ideal form of the reformatory, as symbolizing not only the prison system but as characteristic of disciplinary practices in schools, hospitals, factories and the army. Students, patients, workers and soldiers may not be incarcerated, but the idea of the panopticon where subjects are divided, classified and constantly observed is as much applicable in hospitals or schools as it is in prison.
Furthermore, in all instances subjects are visible while power remains invisible. Those who are constantly subjected to a field of visibility will become self-regulating, thus rendering the actual exercise of power unnecessary. The panopticon, says Foucault, “is a marvellous machine which, whatever use one may wish to put it to, produces homogeneous effects of power.”
Read more at Suite101: Michel Foucault and the Disciplinary Society: The Creation of Docile Bodies | Suite101.com here.
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