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Discussion: “Panopticism” in Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault

May 20 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Title: “Panopticism” in Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault
Discussion Facilitator: Kellye McBride
Teacher bio: http://peoplescolloquium.org/teacher-bios/

Reading: https://foucault.info/documents/foucault.disciplineAndPunish.panOpticism/

This discussion will be a close reading of the “Panopticism” chapter from Discipline and Punish, which will center on Foucault’s analysis of Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon. Foucault elaborates upon the function of disciplinary mechanisms in such a prison and illustrates the function of discipline as an apparatus of power. The ever-visible inmate, Foucault suggests, is always “the object of information, never a subject in communication,” stating that

“He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection.”

This discussion will attempt to answer the question of how the gaze functions as a mechanism of power and how it encourages perpetual self-monitoring. Furthermore, we will compare the structural similarities between the prison system and other institutions (such as schools, corporations, and the military) in an effort to understand the prison system’s far reaching implications.

Venue

Portland Roasting Coffee
815 SE Oak St
Portland, OR 97214 us
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