Analysis Of Michael Foucault 's ' The ' Essay

Analysis Of Michael Foucault 's ' The ' Essay

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Critical Reflection Paper 1
Summary

Michael Foucault’s chapter titled Panopticism, analyzes how power has advanced in relation to surveillance. The chapter explores how when surveillance first evolved and how the King was the overall dictator and enforcer. The King held all the power and was capable of deciding what rules must be followed and the punishments that were associated with when the rules were disregarded. Punishment and torture was how the King choose to use his power. The King often turned to violence to deter people from committing crimes that he disproved of. It Foucault’s chapter, The body of the condemned, it describe how Robert-François Damiens would be tortured due to his attempt at killing the King. Instead of just killing him swiftly, torture occurred, “the flesh will be torn from his breasts, arms, thoughts and calves with red-hot pincers, his right hand… burnt with sulphur, and, on those places where the flesh will be torn away, poured molten lead, boiling oil, burning resin, wax and sulphur…body drawn and quartered…limbs and body consumed by fire” (3). The King wanted those who received punishment to be tortured to show others what his power and authority enabled him to do.

The idea of observation and surveillance first came to light when the plague epidemic first surfaced. As the plague was highly contagious and responsible for many deaths, the King proposed a plan to ensure those who were infected stayed stayed under quarantine to help stop the spread of the disease. These precautions essentially turned each house into a jail cell, where everyone one in that house would not be allowed to leave and would be confined from seeing others. This quarantine represented how it felt to be contained in jai...


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...ion give those that are enforcing the rules to knowledge about what did and did not work. Essentially, those who were infected with the plague and how they were isolated is almost a metaphor for all citizens. The King is the only one with power who possesses the ability to have things done his way, while everyone else lacks power themselves to do anything. People were scared of those with the plague just as they were scared of convicts, thus, this explains why many of the same actions and precautions were implemented. Therefore, from this chapter it can be concluded that constant supervision is more powerful and deterring than being confined to anytime of space. The idea of not knowing is the post powerful deterrent. Foucault is able to identify that “invisibility is a guarantee of order” and should be the way obedience continues to be used through eternity (230).

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