Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault Essay

Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault Essay

Length: 1900 words (5.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

Stability in terms of society can be defined as the state in which power is clear and defined, and the constituents abide to those in power. In modern day institutions, a certain amount of stability must exist or people would lack the motivation to get work done and would not respond to authority. To ensure motivation, employers will install cameras, or use other techniques to always keep an eye on their workers. If people are doing nothing wrong, there is no reason to have a problem with being watched. For this reason, it is not surprising that employers set their work station similar to a Panopticon, an institutional building that is step up with someone in the middle watching everyone, but the workers don’t know if they are being watched or not. Consequently, the workers will be on their best behavior knowing that they are being watched, and will maintain a high level of productivity. Workers perform at their best knowing that they’re being watched because they do not want to lose their jobs more so than they want to impress their boss. As Foucault describes it, “He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power.” (Foucault, 290) As humans, it is natural for us to do what we want rather than what we need to do. If workers can get away with laziness, then they will. However, being watched at all times forces workers to always be on their best behavior, thus eliminating laziness in the workplace. However, despite its effectiveness, people criticize this use of surveillance, citing that it dehumanizes people by invading their personal privacy. That being said, despite its criticisms, a Panopticon is an effective way of securing discipline in any institution, and the...

... middle of paper ...

... and stability. Despite this, it doesn’t matter who is in control of the Panopticon, but at the same time, it does matter. It doesn’t matter who is in control of the Panopticon, because it will work regardless. People will abide by the rules, and do whatever is considered “normal.” However, it does matter who is in control because the person in control dictates how people are going to act, or decide what is “normal.”. Because of this, a Panopticon can be used for destructive purposes if the power is in the wrong hands, as shown in the Nazi Germany example. Ultimately, it all depends on whether or not those in power have the best intentions for their people, their institution, and for society.

Works Cited

Foucault, Michel. "Panopticism." Ways of Reading: An Anthropology for Writers.
9th ed. Boston, New York: Bedford St. Martin's, 2011. 282-309. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on An Indepth Look at Subjectivity and Panopticism.

- Panopticism, as defined by Michel Foucault in his book Discipline and Punish, is (as proposed by Jeremy Bentham) a circular building with an observation tower in the centre of an open space surrounded by an outer wall. The idea behind this social theory that subjects, being watched by an upper power, always have either complete freedom or none at all. How can they have both you might ask. The subjects cannot see if someone is or isn’t watching them, therefore they should always act at there best....   [tags: Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish]

Term Papers
1015 words (2.9 pages)

Arthur W. Frank’s The Wounded Story Teller and Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish

- This discussion paper intends to address the difference between witness, on the one hand, and observation, judgement and examination on the other hand. Through the consideration of a social context, these conceptual frameworks will be contrasted in terms of their purpose, the knowledge gain once applied to the social world and social beings as well as the potential implications of their implementation. Conclusions will be drawn from the evidence as to whether these conceptual lenses aid in the understanding of the social world and in turn the nature of the human condition....   [tags: witness, observation, judgement]

Term Papers
1790 words (5.1 pages)

Michel Foucault: Power and Identity Essay

- Introduction Michel Foucault and Erving Goffman’s work was centralised around there two different concepts of how your identity is formed through the process of power and expert knowledge. This Essay will discuss the ideas of Michel Foucault who was a French Social Theorist. His theories addressed the relationship between power and knowledge and how both of these are used as a form of social control through society. The essay will look at Foucault’s work in The Body and Sexuality, Madness and Civilisation and Discipline and Punish which displays how he conceptualised Power and identity on a Marxist and macro basis of study....   [tags: analysis, michael foucault, erving goffman]

Term Papers
1988 words (5.7 pages)

Essay on Foucault and Punishment

- Change over time; that is a common theme with everything in the world. The concept of punishment is no different in that regard. In the 16th and 17th century the common view for punishing people was retaliation from the king and to be done in the town square. In what seemed to be all of a sudden, there was a change in human thinking, the concept of punishment changed to a more psychological approach compared to a public embarrassment/torture approach. The following paragraphs will discuss the development of prisons and what in fact gives people gives people the right to punish; as well as the overall meaning and function of prisons....   [tags: Development of Prisons, Right to Punish]

Term Papers
1174 words (3.4 pages)

The Digital Panopticon: Foucault and Internet Privacy Essay

- ... Humans generally behave differently under conditions of anonymity and solitude versus publicity and surveillance; privacy is a condition of life which is in decay. Snowden asks us to consider what is lost in the digital shattering of privacy. 1Foucault, Michel. (1977). Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Translated by Alan Sheridan, London: Allen Lane, Penguin. First published in French as Surveiller et punir, Gallimard, Paris, 1975. 2 Ibid. 3 Praxis Films. "NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: 'I don't want to live in a society..."YouTube....   [tags: surveillence, architecture, nsa]

Term Papers
1313 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Foucault's Discipline and Punish and Power and Sex

- Foucault's "Discipline and Punish" and "Power and Sex" Every great architect is - necessarily - a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age- Frank Lloyd Wright Darkness is meant to conceal, light is meant to expose, and there is power intrinsically imbued in both of these. Murderers hide in the dark, waiting for their victims, and the atrocities of different countries are hidden in history and official memos and propaganda. At the same time, light exerts power because it illuminates, it discovers, it creates vulnerability on all it touches....   [tags: foucault discipline punish power Sex Essays]

Term Papers
1726 words (4.9 pages)

Essay The Art of Governing

- In Foucault’s idea, the art of governing is to bring economic considerations into political practice; to govern a country is equivalent to handle the economy of the entire country, aimed at promoting the economic development of the country and the welfare of people. Application of governmentality also exists in current education system; a series of management strategies is applied for controlling the education of students, this is not only simply from the government authority, but based on the globalized competition in education....   [tags: Foucault, economy]

Term Papers
2454 words (7 pages)

Foucault’s Panopticism and Its Application Within Modern Education Systems

- Panopticism, a social theory based on Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon and developed by Michel Foucault describes a disciplinary mechanism used in various aspects of society. Foucault’s Discipline and Punish discusses the development of discipline in Western society, looks in particularly at Bentham’s Panopticon and how it is a working example of how the theory is employed effectively. Foucault explains, in Discipline and Punish that ‘this book is intended as a correlative history of the modern soul and of a new power to judge’ (Foucault, 1977) and opens with accounts of public execution and torture revealing how law and order is created because of the shift from these to prison rules and discipl...   [tags: Education]

Term Papers
1703 words (4.9 pages)

Compare Foucault’s Treatment of the Insane with that of Goffman’s on Asylums

- When reading the works of both Michel Foucault and Erving Goffman, together they give a delineation of the discourse of madness. This essay delves into both of these renowned sociologists, in an attempt to explore both Michel Foucault’s finding on the treatment of the insane and Erving Goffman’s work on asylums. It begins with a very deep and archival aspect on Foucault’s part; where close attention was paid to the evolution of language, words and the view of the mad. Foucault studied and researched in a more genealogical and archeological perspective, as he looked at the mad from inception....   [tags: madness, sociological analysis]

Term Papers
1301 words (3.7 pages)

Foucault's Discipline and Punish Essay examples

- Crime is inevitable in society, whether it be in traditional societies or in modern society. However, with an action, there are always has to be a consequence, however when breaking the law, the consequences are rather bad, and sometimes harsh. This is called punishment. Discipline is enforcing acceptable patterns of behaviour and teaching obedience. In an excerpt called Discipline and Punish, contemporary theorist Michael Foucault explains these two concepts. This paper will summarize the author’s main points; provide a comparison with a theorist previously lectured on in class, as well as a personal interpretation of Foucault’s arguments....   [tags: Violence, Brutality, Imprisonment]

Term Papers
816 words (2.3 pages)