STS331 Lecture Notes #4

STS331 Lecture Notes #4 - The panopticon had nothing to do...

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01/28/2008 The panopticon had nothing to do with what we have today. There’s two different dates in the article about the panopticon: there is a Bentham project where we can go and check out the date, etc. *Just remember that there are two different dates in the two different articles. 1843 was the design for the prison, but the readings are talking about something currently. The panopticon is a prison: there is a tower in the middle with prison cells around it—the prisoners know that they can be watched at whenever time, but they can’t see the tower. TIE to this is that when we surf online, we might be watched. The more illegal it is, the more stressful it is for us. We have this mindset that somebody will be watching. There are differences too—in the Bentham model, there were pipes where the prisoners can hear into the watchtower. In our time, the technologies of the corporations coming and eavesdropping on me are more sophisticated than me trying to tap into them. Another difference: the prisoners know that they are being watched, but we don’t know about this online. Contiguous—our cells don’t have to be next to each other. Me in Austin and Cariña in Spain—we are not next to each other, but we might be the same if we are doing the same electronic activity. Another issue with Bentham—Foucalt said that the prison was insidious; the prisoners become their own police since they don’t know if they are being watched, etc. Bentham’s prison is a model not just for prisons in modern society, but for modern-day schools as well. Schools kind of look like prisons. There are cameras in schools so schoolkids can monitor themselves. Factories are like this, and Bentham’s model works for other things in societies. STORY of escape clauses in Solitaire with the little spreadsheet. As we get more and more electronic, we are not only getting more electronic society, we are changing as well. The biggest kind of concern is that we don’t need a kind of central tower; there is no continuous here in our world—we are our own towers, our own police. These screens are the ways in which they are our cell window and our own tower; the tower has become more individualized. We all have our own little towers. The panopticon has become more diffused; we are more free, the internet liberates us. This has gone into each person; what we consume and how we consume. We cannot live in this society without producing information. This has become a new panopticon for other people. *Think about: what is the relationship between the producer and the consumer? The prisoners could still hear, and it’s not like doomsday: what they are saying is that it is so much more diffused now since the tower is gone and we can consume more, but at the same time, the tower is everywhere, and the policing of our own web.
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