chapter  2
24 Pages

A Foucauldian preamble

WithMark Cole

In his book entitled Discipline and Punish, Michel Foucault lays the foundations for what has come to be called surveillance studies through his discussions therein on the Panopticon. Foucault seeks to establish a subtle connection between surveillance and the pervasiveness of the new disciplinary power. He borrows the idea of Panopticon from the work of the English Utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham. Whilst Jeremy Bentham’s prison was never built–although the Presidio Modelo prison in pre-revolutionary Cuba comes as close to the Panoptical model as any–Foucault takes the idea as a metaphor for the new forms of power that came into existence in the 19th century. One of the key means by which normalisation is seen to take place for Foucault is through the development and actions of the human sciences, chief amongst which is psychology and its medicalised presence in terms of psychiatry.