Panopticism

The Panopticon is a type of prison designed by English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. It features a watchmen in the middle and the inmates in cells around the outside. The watchman would be able to watch over all of the inmates without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they were being watched. It’s impossible for the watchman to watch all the inmates at once but the inmates wouldn’t know when they’re being watched, which means that they act as though they are. This would change their behaviour at all times. Below is a diagram of the panopticon design:

This theory is relevant to my project because its about how being watched how it changes you, the prisoners in prison would want to act in the right way because they feel they are being watched and this would avoid punishment. With my project my audience will hopefully feel they have been ‘seen’ and so they may change from doing something ‘wrong’.

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/Bentham-Project/who

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/Bentham-Project/who/panopticon

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