The Panopticon


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Media Life is a course intended for undergraduate students across campus. Its goal is to make people aware of the role that media play in their everyday life. The key to understanding a "media life" is to see our lives not as lived WITH media (which would lead to a focus on media effects and media-centric theories of society), but rather IN media (where the distinction between what we do with and without media dissolves).

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  • Steve Mann:
  • Britain is the most watched country in the world, with around 25,000,000 surveillance cameras: one for every two citizens. A further 20,000,000 are planned over the next ten years. On average every British citizen can be caught on CCTV around 300 times a day.
  • Bansky in London
  • compare Ring of Steel in London to that in NYC: NYPD Wants To Expand 'Ring Of Steel' To Midtown Seeks Adding Private Surveillance To Police Camera System NEW YORK (CBS) Related Stories * Privacy Board OKs Eavesdropping Programs (3/5/2007) * NYCLU: Security Cameras Could Be Abused (12/13/2006) * NYC To Put Cameras On Buses (5/24/2006) * NYPD Installs Hi-Tech Eye On Terrorism (4/17/2006) * NYCLU Study Questions City Surveillence Cameras (8/12/2005) The New York Police Department wants to stay ahead of the technological curve and that means expanding the "ring of steel" surveillance network already in place in lower Manhattan to midtown. The electronic eyes in the sky are everywhere, and to the NYPD and millions of New Yorkers, outdoor surveillance cameras are a necessity and a sure sign of the times.
  • photo tagging
  • panoptic: the few watch the many (Patriot Act) synoptic: the many watch the few (tabloids/paperazzi) onnoptic: mutual/reciprocal surveillance: many watch many (ex. social media) image source:
  • Foucault also compares modern society with Jeremy Bentham's "Panopticon" design for prisons (which was unrealized in its original form, but nonetheless influential): in the Panopticon, a single guard can watch over many prisoners while the guard remains unseen. The dark dungeon of pre-modernity has been replaced with the bright modern prison, but Foucault cautions that "visibility is a trap". It is through this visibility, Foucault writes, that modern society exercises its controlling systems of power and knowledge (terms which Foucault believed to be so fundamentally connected that he often combined them in a single hyphenated concept, "power-knowledge"). Increasing visibility leads to power located on an increasingly individualized level, shown by the possibility for institutions to track individuals throughout their lives. Foucault suggests that a "carceral continuum" runs through modern society, from the maximum security prison, through secure accommodation, probation, social workers, police, and teachers, to our everyday working and domestic lives. All are connected by the (witting or unwitting) supervision (surveillance, application of norms of acceptable behaviour) of some humans by others.
  • Social system: interinstitutional/interinstitutional coherence
  • teensurance: pctattletale:
  • uControl introduces the new Home Security, Monitoring and Automation (SMA) Platform. The new system is actually a 7-inch touchscreen device the combines an alarm system, communication gateway, and home automation platform into one.
  • The Panopticon

    1. 1. media life: a life lived in media CONCLUSION
    2. 3. so what is reality in media life?
    3. 5. <ul><li>The Panopticon </li></ul><ul><li>Part 1 of 4 Realities in Media Life </li></ul><ul><li>(Panopticon, Google/Wikiality, Matrix, Truman Show) </li></ul><ul><li>Key Issues: </li></ul><ul><li>Everybody is Monitored (or Can Be) </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone Monitors Everybody Else </li></ul><ul><li>Compare to The Panopticon : a 1785 Model of a “Perfect Prison” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Panopticism” (Michel Foucault) Suggests: Normalization is Achieved Through Surveillance </li></ul><ul><li>Compare Panoptic, Synoptic, and Omnoptic Surveillance Societies </li></ul>
    4. 6. In A Surveillance Society: All (Can) See All
    5. 7. “ Macro” Everyday Monitoring: CCTV
    6. 13. “ Meso” Everyday Monitoring: Personalizing Publicness
    7. 15. “ Micro” Everyday Monitoring: Tagging
    8. 16. Three Types of Surveillance: Panoptic, Synoptic, Omnoptic
    9. 17. The Panopticon (1785)
    10. 19. Michel Foucault: “Panopticism” (1975)
    11. 20. Panopticism at the Office
    12. 23. Panopticism in your Car
    13. 24. Panopticism at School
    14. 25. Panopticism at Home