panoptican

panoptican

a design for PRISONS which was intended to allow warders to oversee every aspect of the inmates’ lives. As such, the panoptican has often been regarded as symptomatic of a new emphasis on SURVEILLANCE and SOCIAL CONTROL in modern societies (see also FOUCAULT).

Invented by the English UTILITARIAN philosopher, Jeremy BENTHAM, in the early 19th-century, the panoptican was intended as a new, rational prison design, geared to personal reform as well as confinement and punishment. The idea did not only relate to the structure of the building, it involved a complete philosophy of imprisonment, incorporating ideological and organizational features as well as architectural ones. These included a strictly organized day, based around the reformatory influences of hard work and prayer, based on a single-cell system so as to avoid the moral contagion of association with other criminals. The physical design was intended to make perpetual observation and control possible. In many respects this idea broke sharply with previous conceptions of imprisonment and may be seen as part of a rationalization and rethinking of the role of imprisonment. It was linked to new ideas about the value of work: indeed, many writers have argued that there was an integral connection between the developing factory system and the regulation of the poor through the Poor Law and the reorganized prison system, although the early expressions of this theory are sometimes considered overstated. What is clear is that the panoptican may be seen in a context of major revision in the ideology of punishment and ‘correction’. It influenced a number of prison projects in Britain, the US and elsewhere. See also CRIMINOLOGY.

References in periodicals archive ?
Bigo (2007) also analyses political discourses surrounding immigration detention by refocusing Foucault's interpretation of the panoptican.
The theme of the 'gaze' returns again in the second novel of the trilogy in Barker's variation of Foucault's Panoptican prison.
Through community, mobility, and accumulation, the palimpsestuous improvised staging of the audio walks refuse the disciplinary structure of Foucault's Panoptican in Discipline and Punish, the "segmented, immobile, frozen place"(195) wherein "[e]ach individual is fixed in place[;] [a]nd if [anyone] moves, [they do] so at the risk of [.
Women became like the inmates of the panoptican, self-policing subjects, with selves committed to a relentless self-surveillance.
The fantasy of promise is akin to an invisible-absent master, whose function is to regulate and normalize behavior, to encode desire, not unlike the ever-watchful, unseen eyes of the Protestant God (Weber, 1976) or Bentham's Panoptican (Foucault, 1978).
JEREMY BENTHAM, THE PANOPTICAN WRITINGS (Miran Bozovic ed.
Detective fiction, Young explains provides the reader with a panoptican view of crime, as the reader sees, through the efforts of the detective, the criminal as a visible type.
49), an experience which he appropriately likens to that of Bentham's Panoptican.
Lyon (1993) describes the concept of an electronic Panoptican to be making increasingly frequent appearances within analyses of electronic surveillance, with researchers arguing that IT facilitates the ultimate realization of the panoptic, and that by means of electronic mediation, society itself becomes a panoptican prison.
The helicopters have the effect of a social, panoptican mobile enough to transform an entire metropolitan region into an "invisible prison.
Slow Club FOLK-rock duo Slow Club will be performing a free gig on Tuesday with French Wives in support at Glasgow's Britannia Panoptican, Britain's oldest surviving music hall, built in 1857.