Free Essay

Immigration

In: English and Literature

Submitted By queengirl
Words 1271
Pages 6
Alice Sewah
Michael Davros
English 101
28 February 2012 Society and Surveillance

In today’s society we are under surveillance everywhere we step our feet to. The only place we get privacy is when we are at home, everywhere else there are cameras hidden watching you, without even noticing. At shopping malls, there are hidden cameras. The reason why they exist is simple: to prevent shopliftings, or in some cases, to catch shoplifters. Most customers realize that they are being watched and try to act properly, though there are some who fail to recognize or decide to ignore this fact and take the wrong path. It is not just shopping malls that have surveillance watching over people. Even when you’re driving on the street there is a hidden camera somewhere watching you to make sure you run a red light. Foucault starts Panopticism with a talk on the plague. After the explanatory introduction, Foucault presents an analysis of the prison system created by a famous economist Betham, Panopticon Readers could perceive a different conclusion as to what Panopticism is. According to my point of view Panopticism is the idea that schools are similar to prisons, and it is emphasized as well as stated throughout in the reading multiple times. The text gives a variety of examples to help the readers understand as well as analyze what the author is trying to portray. I concur with most of the ideas displayed in the text. Schools are similar to prisons due to the fact that individuals waiting for an education sit there for hours, enclosed within four walls, watched by supervisor in this case a professor. “Each individual in his place is securely confined to a cell from which he is seen from the front by the supervisor, but the side walls prevent him from coming into contact with his companions.” I have made it clear that these ideas make the reader believe that the author is comparing prisons to school, consider when he states the following quotes, “ if the inmates are convicts, there’s no danger of a plot, an attempt at collective escape, the planning of new crimes for the future, bad reciprocal influences; if they are patients, there’s no danger of contagion; if they are madmen, there’s no risk of their committing violence upon another, if they are school children, there is no copying, no noise, no chatter, no waste of time, if they are workers, there are no disorders, no theft, no coalition, none of those distractions that slow down the rate of work. Make it less perfect or cause accident.” The walls that prevent prisoners from communicating with other individuals and that’s the reason that school and prison are kind of similar, students are always watched by their professor, they are not allowed to communicate unless given the authority to do so, there is no cheating because there is a penalty for every action committed. Discipline, is part of society, and it’s practiced in everyday life it is something that every individual is expected to have. In prisons discipline is a must as well as in schools. Prisoners eat at certain time, bath at certain time, and are not allowed to communicate with outsiders without being watched, and the cells prevent them from having interactions with each other, in schools it’s the same situations students eat at a certain time, and are required to be there at certain time for example in elementary and high schools each grade is designated to have their lunch at a certain time.

In one paragraph of "Panopticism", a disciplinary mechanism is described, which is considered the best way for one to be punished, in that new knowledge and learning is gained by every individual. On page 316, Foucault explains how he feels a person should be disciplined and he looks at it from many different angles. "This enclosed, segmented space, observed at every point, in which the individuals are inserted in a fixed place, in which the slightest movements are supervised, in which all events are recorded in which an uninterrupted work of writing links the center and periphery, in which power is exercised without division, according to a continuous hierarchical figure, in which each individual is constantly located, examined, and distributed among the living beings, the sick, and the dead-all this constitutes a compact model of the disciplinary mechanism." In the first paragraph of the essay Foucault gives a description of how closely watched and evaluated individuals are. All movements all actions everything should be analyzed. This is how he feels a disciplinary mechanism should be and is a key model for all to follow. In disciplining that way it would make the individual a better person, "exercising power without division" is an example. "The plague is met by order; its function is to sort out every possible confusion: that of the disease, which is transmitted when bodies are mixed together; that of the evil, which is increased when fear and death overcome prohibitions." He’s basically implying that there’s confusion in our society that when two or more people come together, evil becomes very overwhelming when it cannot be controlled or prevented. I agree with him on that statement because for example nine eleven, it wasn’t just one person that planned the terrorist attack it was a whole group that planned it. So when people are in a group doing an evil deed is very intricate to stop it as opposed to it being done by one person.

Michael Foucault also makes a valid point about how society today is losing its sense of individuality and identity. I agree that there is supporting evidence of his claim, but I disagree with the claim itself. Today, many people do become encumbered down by routine and the expectations other people have on them, or expectations they form for themselves. These self-expectations may come from upbringing, experiences, or rules. Foucault argues that this discipline has become too powerful, and has begun to create a utopia. In the essay, he compares the idea of the leper’s exile and the procedures put in place during the plague to utopia. In this he separates the leper’s exile from the plague, calling only the plague situation a utopia. He argues that the authorities had too much power when they separated the town and allowed nearly nobody to leave a confined space (317). In this, he enhances the negativity of the word utopia, itself, for later reference. This reference occurs when he compares the Panopticon to utopia (325). He argues that because the inmates have no contact with anyone, whether visual, audible, or otherwise. In addition, they can be watched, but do not know when or by whom, and cannot see their watcher. He also compares today’s society to utopia, because he has already compared the Panopticon to society through his writing about Panopticism. He describes utopias as "perfectly closed in upon themselves" (325), therefore considering the Panopticon and today’s society closed in. I resist this idea of society being a utopia in the terms Foucault describes. I like to see limited government control, and I believe that is what exists today, rather than total control, or too much control suggested by Foucault’s explanations of utopia. The reading states many ideas which leads the audience to assume that the author is trying to convey the idea that prisons resemble not only schools but hospitals, and maybe factories. Every single individual who is found within any of the places mentioned above has been placed under supervision which might be the reason why the author claims that they resemble prisons.

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