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Panopticism by Michel Foucault

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MICHE L FOUCAULT \/ïIIHEL F}U1AULT (i926-1984) stønds øt the nd of thc twentieth csn_ L Y L tury as one of the world's leøding intellectuals. He utas trained as ø philosopher, but much of his work,Iike that"presented.ln Discipline and punish: The Bi¡th of the Prison (1975), trøces the presence of certøin ideas across Euro- peøn history. So he could øIso be thought oj æ o historian, but a hístorian whoie goal is to reaise the usual understaidi"i of history_ns; *;;;;S;;;r;;; quence but as a series of rep-e-titiort gorrlnrd by poraerfuI ideas,'teräs, and fíg_ ures' Foucault was also a pubtic intellectual, inaáIied in such prominent ¡rruíri, prison reþrm. He tarotefrequently þr FrenLch r"*rp,oprir r"; r;;;;;,tiri irrä (.o\{Ds wøsfront-page news in'LeWond.e, the'Fiench equiaøIent of theVew York Times' He taught øt seperal Frutch uniaersities anil in 1g70 was appointed to a professorship at the college de Frønce, the highest posítion in the Fräch sys_ tem' He traueled znidely, Iecturing ønd aisitin{ øt uniaersities throughout íhe world. Foucault's work is central to much current raork in the humanities ønd the sociøI.scíences. In fac.t, it is .haril to. imagine øny area of tlæ acødemy that has not been influenced by his-rariting, There is"ø certu\n írony in øII this, since Foucøult ørgued pusuasiaely that use need to giae up thinking íbout knowledge øs indioid- ually produced; we haae to stop thinking the utay *i ¿o about the ,,øuthor,, or the "ge-nír'ts," about indiuiduality or creøtiaity; we haae to stip thinkig as t;r;;; 312
Page 1: Panopticism by Michel Foucault


\/ïIIHEL F}U1AULT (i926-1984) stønds øt the nd of thc twentieth csn_L Y L tury as one of the world's leøding intellectuals. He utas trained as øphilosopher, but much of his work,Iike that"presented.ln Discipline and punish:The Bi¡th of the Prison (1975), trøces the presence of certøin ideas across Euro-peøn history. So he could øIso be thought oj æ o historian, but a hístorian whoiegoal is to reaise the usual understaidi"i of history_ns; *;;;;S;;;r;;;quence but as a series of rep-e-titiort gorrlnrd by poraerfuI ideas,'teräs, and fíg_ures' Foucault was also a pubtic intellectual, inaáIied in such prominent ¡rruíri,prison reþrm. He tarotefrequently þr FrenLch r"*rp,oprir r"; r;;;;;,tiri irrä(.o\{Ds wøsfront-page news in'LeWond.e, the'Fiench equiaøIent of theVewYork Times' He taught øt seperal Frutch uniaersities anil in 1g70 was appointedto a professorship at the college de Frønce, the highest posítion in the Fräch sys_tem' He traueled znidely, Iecturing ønd aisitin{ øt uniaersities throughout íheworld.

Foucault's work is central to much current raork in the humanities ønd thesociøI.scíences. In fac.t, it is .haril to. imagine øny area of tlæ acødemy that has not

been influenced by his-rariting, There is"ø certu\n írony in øII this, since Foucøultørgued pusuasiaely that use need to giae up thinking íbout knowledge øs indioid-ually produced; we haae to stop thinking the utay *i ¿o about the ,,øuthor,,

or the"ge-nír'ts," about indiuiduality or creøtiaity; we haae to stip thinkig as t;r;;;312

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Michel Foucøult 3L3

there were truths thnt stand beyond the interests of ø gtnen momenL It is bothdangerous ønd wrong, he ørgued, to assume that knowledge is dísinterested. Ed-ward Søid had this to søy of Fouuult:

His greøt uiticøl contribution was to dissolae the ønthropologicølmodels of identity ønd subjecthood underlying research in the hu-manistic and social sciences. Instead of seeing euerything in cultureand society øs ultímøtely ernanatíng ftom either a sort of unchangtngCartesian ego or a heroic solitøry artist, Foucault proposed the muchjuster notion that aII u:ork,Iike social life itself, ís collectioe, The prin-cipal tøsk thereþre ís to circumaent or breøk down the ideologicøI bi-ases that preuent us from saying thnt what mables a doctor to prac-tice medicine or a historian to write history is not mainly ø set ofindiaidual gifts, but an ability to follow rules that øre tøken forgranted as an unclnscíous a priori by all professionals. More thananyone before him, Foucøult specified rules for those rules, and asenmore imyessiaely, he showed how ooer long periods of time the rulesbecame epistemologicøI mforcers of what (as well as of horn) peoplethought, lived, ønd spoke,

These rules, these unconscíous mforcers, øre aisible in "discourse"---<aøys ofthinking ønd speaking ønd acting thøt we take for grønted øs naturøIly or in-euitably there but that are constructed oaer time ønd presensed by those rnho øctu;ithout question, without stepping outside the discourse ønd thinking criticøIly.But, søys Foucøult, there is no pl^øce "otttside" the discourse, no ftee, cleør space,

There is øIwws only ønother discursiae position. A person in thinking, liaing,and speaking erpresses not merely himself or herself but the thoughts ønd rolesønd phrøses goaerned by the øpailable wøys of thinking and speøking. The keyquestions to ask, then, øccording to Foucault, are not Who søid this? or ls it origi-nal? or Is it true? or Is it øuthentic? but INho tølks this wøy? or'/,lhat unspokenrules gouern this wøy of speøking7 or Where is this discourse used? Who gets touse it? whenT ønd to what end?

The following selection is the third chapter o/ Discipline and Punish: TheBirth of the Prison (translated ftom the French by AIan Sheridøn). In this book,

Foucøult is concerned with the reløtionshþs between knoraledge and power, ørp-ing that knozaledge is not pure and abstract but is implicated in networks ofpower relations. Or, as he puts if elsewhere, people goaern themselues "throughthe production of truth." This includes the "truths" that determine how rae imag-ine and *onogi the boundaries between the "normal" and the trønsgressiae, theløwful and the delinquent. In a characteristic moue, Foucøult reaerses our intu-itive sense of how things are, He argues, for exømple, thøt it is not the case thatprisons serae the courts ønd a rystem of justice but thnt the courts øre the prod-ucts, the sentants of "the prison," the prison øs øn ideø, øs the centrøI figure in ø

way of thinking about transgression, order, and the body, a way of thinking thatis persistent and gmerø\, present, for exømple, through øIl ffirts to produce thenormnl or "disciplined indiaidual": "in the central position that [the prison] oc-cupies, it is not ølone, but linked to ø wh,ole series of 'cørceral' mechnnisms rahichseem distinct anough-since they are intøtded to ølleaiate pøin, to cure, to

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3E+ It4lcrml Foucernr

comfort-but which ølI, te.nd, líke the prison, to exercise a p,wer of normalizø_tion." Knowledge stands in an øntøgonistic r.ole inDiscipiine and punish; lf ispart of a problem, not a route to ø solution.You wiII find "l1ngpticism" dfficult reøding. Ail readers find Foucøult,sprose-tough going. It helps to reølize that it is neíessarily dfficuit. Foucault, re_member, is trying to ,tork outside of, or in spite of, the usiøI ways of thinking and.writing' He is trying not fo rEroduce the s'tandard. discourse but to point to whatit cannot or will not

,say. He ii trying to make gestures beyond ushqt is ordinarily,normølly said. so .his prose strugglãs with its own situition. Again, as Edwørdsøid says, "tMhøt fFoucault] wallntrrested in . . . u)as ,the

more, that can be dis_coaered lutking in signs ønd discourses but thøt is irreducible to lønguage ønd.speech;'ít is this "more,"' he søid,'that we must reuear ønd. describr.' {r.lio r-on_cern appeørs to be both deaious and obscure, yet it accounts for a lot that is s;pe_cially unsettling in Foucøult's writing. Thereis no such thing as being at home ii¡ ,.his,.writing, nelther þr-read.er no, foi writer.,, tNhile readerZ ¡ind Foucøult dffi_cul.t,.he is widely read and widely cited. His books include The Bülh of theClinic: An Archaeolog-y of úedical percepti on (1g63), The Ord.er ofThings: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (1g66),The Archaeologyof Knowle dge (1g6g), Madness and Civiiization (j-g71), ønd the three_aolumeHistory of Sexuality (1976, 7g7g, 1ggÐ.


. T" following, according to an order pubrished at the end of.the seven_teenth cenfury, were the méasrrr", to be taken when the plague upp"*"åin a town.lFi¡st, a strict ryil."lparritioning: the crosing of the town and its outly_ing districts, a prohibition to leave Ihe town onþain of death, the killing ofall stray animals; the division of the town into àistinct quarters, each gov_e¡ned by u,' intendant. Each street is praced under the author ity ofa syn_dic, who keeps it under surveilran."; if h" leaves the street, he wil be con_demned to death', p-n the appointed day, everyo.,u-i, ordered to stayindoors: it is forbidden to rååve on pain of death. The syndic hirnserfcomes to lock the doo¡ of each house from the outside; he takes the keywith him and hands it over to the intendant of the quarter; the intendantkeeps it until the end- of the quarantine. Each famiþ will have made itsowTl provisions; but, for bread and wine, small *ooá". canals are set upbetween the street and the interior of the houses, thus anowing each per_son to receive his ration without communicating with the suiptiers änaother residents; meat, fish, and herbs win be hoisted up into the houseswith pulleys and baskets. If it is absolutely .,"."rruryìo reave the house, itwill be done in tum, avoidirg *y meeting. onty the intendants, slmdics,

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Panopticism 315

and guards will move about the streets and also, between the infectedhouses, from one corpse to another, the "crowsr" who can be left to die:these are "people of little substance who carry the sick, bury the dead,

clean, and do many vile and abject offices." It is a segmented, immobile,frozen space. Each individual is fixed in his place. And, if he moves, he

does so at the risk of his life, contag'ion, or punishment.Inspection functions ceaselessly.TJire gaze is alert everywhere: "A con-

siderable body of militia, commanded by good officers and men of sub-stance," guards at the gates, at the town hall, and in every quarter to en-

sure the prompt obedience of the people and the most absolute authorityof the magistrates, "as also to observe all disorder, theft and extortion." Ateach of the town gates there will be an observation post; at the end of each

street sentinels. Every day, the intendant visits the quarter in his charge,inquires whether the syndics have carried out their tasks, whether the in-habitants have anything to complain of; they "observe their actions'"Every day, too, the syndic goes into the street for which he is responsibie;stops before each house: gets all the inhabitants to appear at the windows(those who live overlooking the courfyard will be allocated a windowlooking onto the street at which no one but they may show themselves);

he calls each of them by name; informs himself as to the state of each andevery one of them-//in which respect the inhabitants will be compelled tospeak the truth under pain of death"; if someone does not appear at the

window, the syrdic must ask why: "In this way he will find out easilyenough whether dead or sick are being concealed." Everyone locked uP inhis cage, everyone at his window, answering to his name and showinghimself when asked-it is the gfeat review of the living and the dead'

This surveillance is based on a system of permanent registration: re-

ports from the syndics to the intendants, from the intendants to the magis-trates or mayor. At the beginning of the "lock up," the role of each of the

inhabitants present in the town is laid down, one by one; this documentbears "the name, âBë, sex of everyone, notwithstanding his condition": a

copy is sent to the intendant of the quarter, another to the office of thetown hall, another to enable the s;'ndic'to make his daily roll call' Every-thing that may be observed during the course of the visits--deaths, ill-nessés, complaints, irregularities-is noted down and transmitted to the

intendants and magisfrates. The magistrates have complete control overmedical treatment; they have appointed a physician in charge; no otherpractitioner may treat, no apothecary PrePare medicine, no confessor visita sick person without having received from him a written note "to preventanyone from concealing and dealing with those sick of the contagion/ uft-known to the magistrates." The registration of the pathological must be

constantly centralized. The relation of each individual to his disease andto his death passes through the representatives of power, the registrationthey make of it, the decisions they take on it.

Five or six days after the beginning of the quarantine, the process ofpurilying the houses one by one is begrrn, All the inhabitants are made to

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3L6 Mrcnsr Foucawr

leave; in each room "the furnitu¡e and goods,, a¡e raised from the groundor suspended from the air; perfume is pãured around the room; uftãr.-"_fully sealing the windows, doors, u',å u'o* u,," L"in"res with wax, theperfume is set alight. Finariy, the entire house i, .lorl¿ while the perfumeis consumed; those who have carried out the work are searched, as theywere on entry, "in the presence of the residents of the house, to see thatthey did noi have.1o*"it i'.g on their persons as they left that they did nothave on entering." Four ho-u¡s later, the residents áre allowed to reentertheir homes.TÌris enclosed, segmented space, observed at every point, in which theindividuals are inser*:d

T u rixu¿ prace, in which the slightest movementsare supervised, in which a-11 events are recorded, in which an uninter_rupted work of writing links the center and periphery, in which power isexercised without division, according to a contin'o,r, hi..*cruci fig',ey..,in which each individuar is constantry located, examined, and distributedamong the hving beings, the sick, and the dead-all this constitutes a com_pact model of the disciprinary mechanism. The prague is met by order; itsfunction is to sort out every iossible confusion:^tha-t of the disease, whichis t¡ansmitted when bodies åre mixed together; that of the evil, which isincreased when fear and death overcome prohibitions. It iays down foreach individual his place, his body, his disease, and his death, his we[-being, by means of a¡r omnipreseníand omnisciánt power that subdivid.esitself in a regular, uninterrupted way even to the ultimate determinationof the individual, of what ciruracterizes him, of what berongs to him, ofwhat happern to him. Against the plague, which is a mi*ture, disciplinebrings into play its powei, which is. one of anarysis. A whole literary fic_tion of the festivar grew up âround the ptague, ,,lf""a"d laws, rifted pro_hibitions, the frenzy of passing time, bodi.í *,"glidìogether without re_spect, individuals unmasked, ãbandoning their i,utíto.y identify and thefigure under which they had been recognized, arowing a quite differentt¡uth to appear. But there was also a poriticar dream of the prague, whichwas exactly its reverse: not the collective festival, but strict divisíons; notlawstransgressed, but the penetration of reguration into even the smal.lestdetails of everyday I{" thrãugh the mediaãon of the complete hierarchythat assu¡ed the capillary rnnãuoning of power; not masks that were puton and taken ofl. but-the assignment to each individual of his ,,true,,n¿une/ tLiS "true" place, his "truei body,his "true,, disease. The prague as aform, at once real and imaginary, of disorder had as its medicar and politi_cal correlative disciptine. gehinâ the disciplinary -..hurrir*s can be readthe haunting memory of "corrtagions," of the prague, of rebellions, crimes,vagabondage, desertions, puopi" who appear and. disappear, rive and diein disorder.

If it is true that the leper gave rise to rituals of exclusion, which to acertain extent provided the mãdel fo¡ and general form of the great con_finement, then the plague gave rise to disãpünary projects. Rather thanthe massive, binary divisià between one set of people and another, it

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Panopticism 31.?

called for multiple separations, individualizing distibutions, an organtza-tion in depth of surveillance and conhol, an intensification and a r*ifi.u-tion of power. The leper was caught up in a practice of rejection, of exile-enclosu¡e; he was left to his doom in a mass among which it was useless todifferentiate; those sick of the plague were caught up in a meticulous tacti-cal partitionitg io which individual differentiations were the constrictingeffects of a power that multiplied, articulated, and subdivided itself; thégreat confinement on the one hand; the correct training on the other. Theleper and his separation; the plague and its segmentations. The first ismarked; the second analyzed and distributed. The exile of the leper andthe arrest of the plague do not briog with them the same politicaf dream.The first is that of a pwe community, the second that of a disciplined'soci-ety. Two ways of exercising power over men, of conholing their relations,of separating out their dangerous mixtures. The plague-stricken town, tra-versed throughout with hierarchy, surveillance, observation, writing; thetown immobilized by the functioning of an extensive power that bears in adistinct way over all individual bodies-this is the utopia of the perfectlygoverned cify. The plague (envisaged as a possibitity at least) is the trial inthe course of which one may define idealiy the exercise of disciptiourypower. In order to make rights and laws function according to pure the-ory, the jurists place themselves in imagination in the state of nature; inorder to see perfect disciplines functioning, rulers dreamed of the state ofplague. underlying disciplinary projects the image of the plague standsfor all forms of confusion and disorder; just as the image of the leper, cutoff from all human contact, underlies projects of exclusion.

They are different projects, then, but not incompatible ones. we seethem coming slowly together, and it is the peculiarify of the nineteenthcentury that it applied to the space of exclusion of which the leper was thesyrnbolic inhabitant þeggars, vagabonds, madmen, and the disorderlyformed the real population) the technique of power proper to disciplinarypartitioning. Treat "lepers" as "plague victims,', project the subtle seg-mentations of discipline onto the confused space of internment, combine itwith the methods of analytical distribution proper to power, individuali-.ethe excluded, but use procedures of individualization to mark exclusion-this is what was operated regr.rlarly by disciplinary power from the beg-ning of the nineteenth cenh.rry in the psychiatric asylum, the penitentiary,the reformatory, the approved school, and to some extent, the hospital.Generally speaking, all the authorities exercising individual control func-tion according to a double mode; that of binary division and branding(mad/sane; dangerous/ha¡mless; normai/abnormal); and that of coerciveassignment, of differential distribution (who he is; where he must be; howhe is to be characterized; how he is to be recognized; how a constant sur-veillance is to be exercised over him in an individual way, etc.). on theone hand, the lepers are treated as piague victims; the tactics of individu-alizing disciplines are imposed on the excluded; and, on the other hand,the universality of disciplinary confrols makes it possible to brand the

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318 Mrcrnl Foucaulr

"lepe{' and to bring into play against him the dualistic mechanisms of ex_clusion. The constant division between the normal and the abnormal, towhich every individual is subjected, brings us back to ou¡ own time, byapplyrng the binary branding and exile oithu leper to quite different ob_jects; the existence of a whole set of techniques .tta iortitotions for mea-tYï18, supervising, and correcting the abnJrmal brings into play the dis-ciplinary mechanisms to which the fear of the ptuguË gave rise. All theme$ralsms of power which, even today, are dispoJed around the abnor-mal individual, to brand him and to altér him, arå composed of those twoforms from which they distantly derive.

Bentham's Panopticon is the architectural figure of this composition.lve know the principle on which it was based: a"t the periphery, an annu-lar building; at the center, a tower; this tower is pierced with wide win_,::,19*: that open onto the i¡rner side of the ring; the peripheric building isdivided into cells, each of which extends the whole *i¿n of the uuildiîg;they have two windows, one on the inside, corresponding to the windowsof the tower; the other, on the outside, allows the light to cross the cellfrom one end to the other. All that is needed, thery is tä place a supervisor

Plan of the Panopticon by J. Bentham (The works_of leremy Bentham,ed. Bowring,vol. IV, n+1, tZZ-251

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Panopticism 3rî

in a central tower and to shut up in eadr cell a madman, a patient, a con-demned man, a worker, or a schoolboy. By the effect of backtightingz onecan observe from the tower, standing out precisely against th; üght, thesmall captive shadows in the ceils of the periphery. They are like so m€ìnycages/ so many small theaters, in which each actor is alone, perfectly indi-vidualized and constantþ visible. The panoptic mechanism ananges spa-tial unities that make it possible to see constantly and to recognize i*

"-diately. In short, it reverses the principle of the dungeon; or rather of itsth¡ee functions-to enclose, to deprive of light, and. to hide-it preservesonly the first and eliminates the other two. Full tighting and thã eye of asupervisor capture befter than darkness, which is ultimately protected.Visibilty is a trap.

To begin with, this made it possible-as a negative effect-to avoidthose compact, swarming, howling masses that were to be found in placesof confinement, those painted by Goya or described by Howara. nich in-dividual, i:r his place, is securely confined to a cell from which he is seenfrom the front by the supervisor; but the side walls prevent him from com-ing into contact with his companions. He is seen, but he does not see; he isthe object of informatiory never a subject in communication. The arrange-ment of his room, opposite the central tower, imposes on him an axial visi-bility; but the divisions of the ring, those separated cells, imply a lateral in-visibilify. And this invisibility is a guarantee of order. If the inmates areconvicts, there is no danger of a plot, an attempt at collective escape, theplanning of new crimes for the future, bad reciprocal influences; if theyare patients, there is no danger of contagion; if they are madmen, there isno risk of thei¡ committing violence upon one another; if they are school-children, tliere is no copying, no noise, no chatter, no waste of time; if theyare workers, there are no disorders, no theft, no coalitions, none of thosedistractions that slow down the rate of work, make it less perfect, or causeaccidents, The crowd, a compact mass, a locus of multiple exchanges, indi-vidualities merging together, a collective effect, is abolished and replacedby a collection of separated individualities. From the point of view of theguardian, it is replaced by a multiplicity that can be numbered and super-vised; f¡om the point of view of the inmates, by a sequestered and ob-served solitude (Bentham 60-64).

FIence the major effect of the Panopticon: to induce in the inmate astate of conscious and permanent visibilty that assures the automaticfunctioning of power, So to arrange things that the surveillance is perma-nent in its effects even if it js discontinuous in its action; that the perfectionof power should tend to render its actuai exercise unnecessar/i that thisarchitectwai apparatus should be a machine for creating and sustaining a

Power relation independent of the person who exercises it; in short, thatthe inmates should be caught up in a power situation of which they arethemselves the bearers. To achieve this, it is at once too much and too littlethat the prisoner should be constantly observed by an irspector: too little,for what matters is that he knows himself to be observed; too much,

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320 Mrcrrnr Foucaum

Handwriting model. Collections historiques de t, LN,R.D,p.

because he has no need in fact of being so. h view of this, Bentham taid1o* the principle that Power should be visible and unverifiable. Visible:the inmate will constantly have before his eyes the tall outline of the cen-tral tower from which he is spied upon. únverifiable: the inmate mustnever know whether he is being looked at at any one momenf but hemust be sure that he may arways be so. In order tó make the presence orabsence of the irupector unverifiable, so that the prisoners, in their ceils,ca¡not even see a shadow,'Bentham envisaged .rãt ooly venetian blind;

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on the windows of the central observation hall, but, on the inside, pa_rti-bions that intersected the hall at right angles and, in order to pass from onequarter to the other, not doors but zígzag openings; for the slightest noise,a gleam of light, a brigåtness in a half-opened door would betray the pres-ence of the guardian,2 The Panopticon is a machine for dissoaating thesee/being seen dyad: in the peripheric ring, one is totaily seen, withoutever seeing; in the central tower, one sees everything without ever beingseer,.3

It is an important mechanism, for it automatizes and disindividualizespower. Power has its principle not so much in a person as in a certain con-:erted dist¡ibution of bodies, surfaces, lights, gazes; in an arrangementrvhose internal mechanisms produce the relation in which individuals are:aught up. The ceremonies, the rituals, the marks by which the sover-:ign's surplus power was manifested are useless, There is a machinery;hat assures diss)..mmefry, disequilibrium, difference. Consequently, itloes not matter who exercises power. é,ny individual, taken almost at:andom, can operate the machine: in the absence of the director, his fam-ly, his friends, his visitors, even his servants (Bentham 45). similarly, itloes not matter what motive animates him: the curiosity of the indiscreet,:he malice of a child, the thirst for knowledge of a phiÌosopher who¡¡ishes to visit this museum of human nahre, or the perversify of those

Interior of the penitentiary at stateville, united states, twentieth century

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322 Mrcurr Fouceulr

Lechrre on the evils of alcoholism in the auditorium of Fresnes prison

who take pleasure i. spyitg and punishing, The more nnmerous those

anonymous and temporary observers are, the greater the risk for the in-mate of being surprised and the greater his anxious awareness of beingobserved. The Panopticon is a,marvelous machine which, whatever use

one may wish to put it to, produces homogeneous effects of power.

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Pønopticism 313

A real subjection is born mechanically from a fictitious relation. So it isnot necessary to use force to constrain the convict to good behavior, themadman to calm, the worker to work, the schoolboy to application, thepatient to the observation of the regulations. Bentham *urä.prised thatpanoptic institutions could be so light there were no more bars, no morechains, no more heavy locks; all that was needed was that the separationsshould be clear and the openings well a¡ranged. The heaviness of the old"houses of security," with thei¡ fortresslike architecture, could be replacedby the simple, economic geometry of a "house of certainty." The efficiencyof power, its constraining force have, in a sense, passed over to the otherside-to the side of its surface of application. He who is subjected to a

field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibilify for the con-straints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he in-scribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously playsboth roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection. By this veryfact, the external power may throw off its physical weight; it tends to thenoncorporal; and, the more it approaches this li-ûrit, the more constant,profound, and permanent are its effects: it is a perpetual victory thatavoids any physical confrontation and which is always decided inadvance,

Bentham does not say whether he was inspired, in his project, by LeVaux's menagerie at Versailles: the first menagerie in which the differentelements ale not, as they traditionally were, distributed in a park (Loise1I0+-7). At the center was an octagonal pavilion which, on the first floor,consisted of only a single room, the king's salon; on every side large win-dows looked out onto seven cages (the eighth side was reserved for theentrance), containing different species of animals. By Bentham's tirne, thismenagerie had disappeared. But one finds in the program of the Panopti-con a simiiar concern with individualizing observation, with cha¡acteriza-tion and classification, with the analytical arrangement of space. ThePanopticon is a royal menagerie; the animal is replaced by man, individ-ual distribution by specific- grouping, and the kirg by the machinery ol afurtive power. With this exception, the Panopticon also does the work of anaturalist. It makes it possible to draw up differences: among patients, toobserve the symptoms of each individual, without the proximity of beds,the circulation of miasmas, the effects of contagion confusing the dinicaltables; among schoolchildren, it makes it possible to observe performances(without there being any imitation or copying), to map aptitudes, to assesscharacters, to draw up rigorous classifications, and in relation to normaldevelopment, to distinguish "laziness and stubbornness" from "incurableimbecility"; among workers, it makes it possible to note the aptitudes ofeach worker, compare the time he takes to perform a task, and if they arepaid by the day, to calculate their wages (Bentham 60-64).

So much for the question of observation. But the Panopticon was also a

laboratory; it could be used as a machine to carry out experirnents, to alterbehavior, to train or correct individuals. To experiment with medicines

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Mrcnsl Foucarnr

and monitor their effects. To try out different punishments on prisoners,according to their crimes and character, and to seek the mosi effectiveones. To teach different techniques simultaneously to the workers, to de-cide which is the best. To try out pedagogical experiments-and in partic-ular to take up once again the well-debated p.òbl"* of secluded ãduca-tion, by using orphans. one #ould see what wourd happen when, in thei¡sixteenth or eighteenth year, they were presented withóth"r boys or girls;one could veri-fy whether, as Heivetius thought, anyone could leam any-ttLing; one would follow "the genealogy of every observable idea,,; onecould bring up different chjldren according to different systems ofthought, making certain children believe that two and two d.o not makefour or that the moon is a cheese, then put them together when they arefwenty or twenty-five years old; one wou-ld then have discussions thatwould be worth a great deal more than the serrnons or lectures on whichso much money is spent; one would have at least an opportunity of mak-ing discoveries in the domain of metaphysics. The panopticor, ir

" privi-

leged place for experiments on men, and Íor anaryzrng with conipletecertainty the transformations that may be obtained from them. The pan-opticon may even provide an apparatus for supervising its own mecha-nisms. In this cenfral tower, the director may spy on all the employees thathe has under his orders: nurses, doctors, foremery teachers, waiders; hewill be able to judge them continuously, alter their behavior, impose uponthem the methods he thinks best; and it wilt even be possible io obsËrvethe director himself. An inspector arriving unexpecteåly at the center ofthe Panopticon will be able to judge at a grance, without anything beingconcealed from him, how the entire establishment is functioning. At a, i¡any case/ enclosed as he is in the middle of this architectural mãchanism,is not the director's own fate entirely bor:nd up with it? The incompetentphysician who has allowed contagion to spread, the incompetent prisongovemor or workshoP manager will be the first victims of an epidemic ota revolt. "'By every tie I could devise,'said íhe master of the pãnopticon;'my owrr fate had been bound up by me with thei-rs,,, (Bentham tri¡. rhePanopticon functions as a kind of laboratory of power. Thanks to its mech-anisms of observation, it gains in efficiency and in the ability to penetrateinto men's behavior; knowledge forows the advances of po*"r,


ing new objects of knowledge over all the su¡faces on which power isexercised.

The plague-stricken town, the panoptic establishment-the differencesare important. They mark, at a distance of a centr.rry and a half, the trans-formations of the discipiinary progïam. In the fust case, there is an excep-tional situation: against an extraordinary evil, power is rfiobilized; itmakes itself everywhere present and visible; it invénts new mechanisms; itseparates, it immobilizes, it partitions; it constructs for a time what is botha counter-cify and the perfect society; it imposes an ideal ftmctioning, butone that is reduced, in the finat anatysis, like the evil'that it combut, to

^simple dualism of life and death: that which moves brings deatþ and one


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kills that which moves, The panopticon, on the other hand, must be un_derstood as a generalizable modelãf functionin g,; awayof defining powerrelations in terms of the everyday life of men. Nä doubt ner,uram'iåsentsit as a particular institution, closed in upon itself. utopias, p".fe.tÇ closedin upon themselves, are corunon enough, As opposed to ihe ruined pris-ons, littered with mechanisms of torture, to be ieen in Piranese,s ..,g"u,o-Tgt,- the Panopticon presents a cruel, ingenious cage. The fact tliat itshould have given lise, even in ou¡ o*r, ti*u, to so many variations, pro-jected or realizsd, is evidence of the imaginary intensify that it hus pos-sessed for almost two hund¡ed years, But the Éanopticon must not be un_derstood as a dream buüding: ii is the diagram of å mechanism of powerreduced to its ideal form; íts functioning, absfracted from any obstaàe, re_sistance, or friction, must be represelted as a pure *.t it".tLal and opti_cal system: it is in fact a figure of politicai technology that may and mustbe detached from any specific use.

It is polyvalent in its applications; it serves to reform prisoners, butalso to freat patients, to instruct schoolchildren, to confine the insane, tosupervise workers, to put beggars and idlers to work. It is a fype of loca_tion of bodies in space, of distribution of individuals in reiation^to one an-other, of hiera¡chical organization, of disposition of centers and channelsof power, of definition of the instrumenis and modes of intervention ofpower/ which can be implemented in hospitals, workshops, schools, pris-ons' whenever one is dealing with a multiplicity of indiøduals on *i o..a task or a parficular form of behavior must úe imposed, the panopticschema may be used. It is-necessary modifications aþart-appricable ,,toall establishments whatsoever, ín which, within

" rpuå not tJJlarge to be

covered or coûunanded by buitdings, a number of persons are meant to bekept under inspection" (Bentham 4-0; although gentham takes the peniten_tiary house as his pryt u example, it is bãcause it has many differentftrnctions to fuifill-safe custody, confinement, solifude, forced labor, andinstruction).

ln each of its applications, it makes it possible to perfect the exercise ofpower, It does this in seve¡al ways; because it can reduce the number ofthose who exercise it, while increasing the number of those on whom it isexercised. Because it is possible to intervene at any moment and becausethe constant pressure acts even before the offensls, mistakes, or crimeshave been com¡nifted. Because, in these conditior¡s, its skength is that itnever intervenes, it is exercised spontaneously and without noise, it con_stifutes a mechanism whose effects follow fro- orru another. Because,without any physical instrument other than architecrue and geometry, itacts directly on individuals; it gives "power of mind over mind.,, Thepanoptic schema makes any apparafus of power'ore intense: it assuresits economy (in material, in perionnel, in time); it assu¡es its efficaci V byits preventative character, its continuous functioning and its automaticmechanisms. It is a way of obtaining from power ,,in iitherto ,nexampledquantrtyi' "a gÍeat and new instrumenf of govemment. . . ; its great

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326 Mrcnsl Fouceulr

excellence consists in the great strength it is capable of givin g to any insti-tution it maybe thought proper to apply it to" (Bentham 66).

It's a case of "it's easy once you,ve thought of it,, in the politicalsphere'. It can in fact be integrated into any ftrnction (education, medicaltreatment, production, punishment); it can increase the effect of this func-tion, by being linked closely with it; it can constitute a mixed mechanismin which relations of power (and of knowledge) may be precisety ad-justed, in the smallest detail, to the processes that are to be supervised.; itcan establish a direct proportion between "surplus power" and "surplusproduction." In short, it arranges things in such a way that the exerciée ofpower is not added on from the outside, like a rigid, healy constraint, tothe functions it invests, but is so subtly present in them as to increase theirefficiency by itself increasing its own points of contact. The panoptic mech-anism is not simpiy a hinge, a point of exchange between a mechanism ofpower and a function; it is a way of making power relations function in afunctiory and of making a function function through these power relations.Bentham's preface to Pønopticol? opens with a list of the benefits to be ob-tained from his "inspection-house": " Mor øIs reþrmed-health pr es era ed-in-dustry inaigorated-instruction dffised-pubtic burthens lightened-Economyseated, as it were, upon a rock-the gordian knot of the poor-Laws not cut,but untied-all by a simple idea in architecture!" (Bentham 39).

Furthermore, the arrangement of this machine is such that its enclosednatu¡e does not preciude a permanent presence from the outside: we haveseen that anyone may come and exercise in the central tower the funcfionsof surveillance, and that, this being the case, he can gain a clear idea of theway in which the surveiliance is practiced. In fact, any panoptic institu-tion, even if it is as rigorously closed as a penitentiary, may without diffi-$ty be subjected to such irregular and constant inspections: and not onlyby the appointed inspectors, but also by the public; any member of societywill have the right to come and see with his own eyes how the schoolÁ,hospitals, factories, prisons function. There is no risk, therefore, that,theincrease of power created by the panoptic machine may degenerate intofianny; the discipii.ury mechanism will be democratically controlled,since it will be constantly accessible "to the great tribunal committee of theworld."4 This Panopticon, subtly ur.urtg"d so that an observer may ob-serve/ at a glance, so many different individuals, als6 enables everyone tocome and observe any of the observers. The seeing machine was once asort of dark room into which individuals spied; it has become a transpar-ent building in wtr-ich the exercise of power may be supervised by soåetyas a whole.

The panoptic schema, without disappearing as such or,losing any of itsproperties/ was destined to spread throughout the social body; its voca-tion was to become a generalized function. The plague-stricken town pro-vided an exceptional discipli.ury model: perfect, but absolutely vioient;to the disease that brought death, power opposed its perpetual th¡eat ofdeath; life inside it was reduced to its simplest expresrion; it was, against

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Panopticism 3L+

the power of death, the meticulous exercise of the right of the sword. ThePanopticon, on the other hand, has a role of amplification; although itarranges power/ although it ís intended to make it more economic andmore effective, it does so not for power itself, nor for the immediate salva-tion of a threatened society: its aim is to strengthen the social forces-toincrease productiory to develop the economy, spread education, raise thelevel of public morality; to increase and multipty.

How is power to be strengthened in such a way that, far from impedingprogress/ far from weighing upon it with its rules and regulations, it actu-ally facilitates such progress? \¡vhat intensificator of power will be able atthe same time to be a multiplicator of production? How will power, by in-creasing its forces, be able to increase those of society instead of confiscatingthem or impeding them? The Panopticon's solution to this problem is thatthe productive increase of power can be assured only if, on the one hand,it can be exercised continuously in the very foundations of society, in thesubtlest possible way, and rf, on the other hand, it functions outside thesesudden, violent, discontinuous forms that are bound up with the exerciseof sovereigng. The body of the king, with its strange material and physicalpresence/ with the force that he himself deploys or transmits to some fewothers, is at the opposite extreme of this new physics of power representedby panopticism; the domain of panopticism is, on the contrary, that wholeiower region, that region of irregular bodies, with their details, thei¡ mul-tiple movements, their heterogeneous forces, their spatial relations; whatare required are mechanisms that analyze distributions, gaps, series, combi-nations, and which use instruments that render visible, record, differenti-ate, and compare: a physics of a relational and multiple power, which hasits maximum intensity not in the person of the king, but in the bodies thatcan be individualizedby these relations. At the theoretical level, Benthamdefines another way of analyzing the social body and the power relationsthat traverse it; in terms of practicã, he defines a procedure of subordinationof bodies and forces that mustincrease the utility of power while practicingthe economy of the prince. Panopticism is the general principle of a new"political anatomy" whose object and end are not the relations of sover-eigntybut the relations of discipline.

The celebrated, transparent, circular cage, with its high tower, power-ful and knowing, may have been for Bentham a project of a perfect disci-piina{y institution; but he also set out to show how one may "urùock" thedisciplines and get them to furction in a diffused, multiple, poiyvalentway throughout the whole social body. These disciplines, which the classi-cal age had elaborated in specific, relatively enclosed places-banacks,schools, workshops-and whose total implementation had been imaginedonly at the limited and temporary scale of a plague-stricken town, Ben-tham dreamed of transforming into a network of mechanisms that wouldbe everywhere and always alert, runrring through society without inter-ruption in space or in time. The panoptic anangement provides the for-mula for this generalization. It programs, at the level of an eiementary and

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328 Mrcs¡r Fouceulr

easily transferable mechanism,,,the basic functioning of a society pene-trated .thro..rgh and tfu ough with discipli.ury mechanisms.

There are two images, then, of discipline. At one extreme, the disci-pline-blockade, the enclosed institution, established on the edges of soci-ety, furned inwards towards negative functions: arresting evil, breakingcommunications, suspending time. At the other extreme, with panopti-cism, is the discipline-mechanism: a functional mechanism that must im-prove the exercise of power by making it iighter, more rapid., more effec-tive, a design of subtle coercion for a society to come. The movement fromone project to the other, from a schema of exceptional discipline to one ofa generalized surveillance, rests on a historicat transform^tion' the grad-ual extension of the mechanisms of discipline throughout the seventeenthand eighteenth centuries, their spread throughout the whole social body,the formation of what might be called in general the disciplinary society.

A whole disciplinary generalization-the Benthamite þnysiós of powerrepresents an acknowledgment of this-had operated throughout the clas-sical age. The spread of discipiinary institutions, whose network was be-ginning to cover an ever larger surface and occupying above all a less andle-ss marginal position, testifies to this: what *år * islet, a privilegedplace, a circumstantial measure, or a singular model, became^a genã.alfgrmula; the regulations characteristic of the Protestant and pious"armiesof wilriam of orange or of Gustavus Adolphus were transformed into reg-ulations for all the armies of Europe; the mod.el colleges of the Jesuits, ðrthe schools of Batencour or Demia, following the exampte set ty sturm,provided the outlines for the general forms of educational discipline; theordering of the naval and mirtary hospitals provided the modèl for theentire reorganization of hospitals in the eighteenth century.

But this extension of the disciplinary institutions was no doubt onlythe most visible aspect of various, more profo'nd processes.

1. The functional inrtersion of the disciplinris. Atfirst, they were expected toneutralize dangers, to fix useless or disturbed populations, to

"rroid the in-

conveniences of over-large assembliesi no.w they were being asked to play apositive role, for they were becoming able to do so, to increãse the poìslúleutility of individuals. Military disciptine is no longer a mere means of pre-venting looting, desertion, or failure to obey ord.erJamong the troops; itïasbecome a basic technique to enable the army to exis! not as an assembledctowd, but as a unity that derives from this very rnity-an increase in itsforces; discipline increases the skill of each individual" coordinates theseskills, acceierates movements, increases fue power, broadens the fronts ofattack without reducing their vigor, increasãs the capacity for resistance,etc. The discipline

9f the workshop, while remaining iway ofenforcing re-

spect for the regulations and authorities, of prevâting thefts or loJses,tends to increase aptitudes, speeds, ouþut, anå thereforãprofits; it still ex-erts a moral influence over behavior, but more and more it treats actions interms of their results, introduces bodies into a machinery, forces into an

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economy. VVhen, in the seventeenth century, the provincial schools or theChristian elementary schoors were foun¿åd, uré justifications given forthem were above allnegative: thosq poo¡ who were unable to brini up theirchildren left them "in ignorance of thei¡ obligations: given the difficultiesthey have in earning a living, and themselveã havingieen badly broughtup, they a¡e unabie to co¡nmunicate a sound upuririglng that they theä_selves never had"; this involves three major inconveñiences: ignorance ofGod, idleness (with its consequent drunkenness, impurity, laiceny, brig-andage), and the formation of those gangs of beggars, aiways .uuay to ,ã.up public disorder and "virtually to exhaust nu run¿s of the Hôtei_Dieu,,(Demia 6H1). Now, at the beginning of the Revolution, the end. laid downfor primary education was to be, amòng other things, to "forttny,,, to ,,de-velop the body," to prepare the child

-"f.oÍ a fufur; in some mechanical

wotk," to give him "an observant eye, a sure hand and prompt habits,, (Tal-leyrand's Report to the constituent Assembly, L0 sepiemb er 179L, quotedby Léon 106)' The disciplines function increasingty as tecttniques for mak-ing useftrl individuals. Hence their emergence from a marginai position onthe confines of society, and detachment frãm the forms of eiclusion or expi-ation, confinement, or refreat. Hence the slow loosening of their r.i*ùpwith religious regularities and enclosures. Hence also their rooting in themost important, most central, and most productive sectors of socie{r. Th"ybecome attached to some_ of the great essential functions: factory p.oarr"-tiory the transmission of knowledge, the diffusion of aptitud", ur,ã skills,the war-machine. Hence, too, the-double tendency orì" ,"", developingthroughout the eighteenlh century to increase the number of discipú"ryinstitutions and to discipline the existing apparatuses.

2. The szaørming of disciplínary mechaniims. while, on the one hand, thedisciplinary establishmenþ increase, their mechanisms have a certaintendency to bêçqme rlideinsUtutionalizgd,," tu

"*urg" from the closedfo¡tresses in which they once functioned and to circulãte jn a ,,freeì'state;the massive,'compact disciplines a¡e broken down into flexible methods ofcontrol, which may be hansferred and adapted. sometimes the closed ap-parafuses add to their intemal and specific function a role of extemal sur-veillance, developing around themsàives a whole margin of lateral con-trols. Thus the christian school must not simply trainãocile children; itntult also make it possible to supervise the paients, to gain information asto their way of life, thei¡ resou'ces, their pieç their äorals. The schooltends to constitute minute social observatóri"r thut penetrate even to theadults and exercise regular supervision over them: urì ua¿ behavíor of thechild, or his absence, is a legitimate pretext, according to Demia, for one togo and question the neighbors, especiully if there is Ly reason to believethat the family will not tell the truth; on€ can then gó and question theparents themseives, to find out whether they know their catechism andthe prayers, whether they are determined to rôot out the vices of their chil-dren, how many beds there are in the house and what the sleepingarrangements are; the visit may end with the giving of alms, the present of

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3qô Mrcrmr FoucAULT

a religious picture, or the provision of additional beds (Demia 39-40). Sim-ilarly, the hospital is increasingly conceived of as a base for the medicalobservation of the population outside; after the burning down of theHôtel-Dieu in 1772, there were several demands that the large buildings,so heavy and so disordered, should be replaced by a series of smaller hos-pitals; their function would be to take in the sick of the quarter, but also togather information, to be alert to any endemic or epidemic phenomena, toopen dispensaries, to give advice to the inhabitants, and to keep the au-thorities informed of the sanitary state.of the region^s

one also sees the spread of disciplinary procedures, not in the form ofenclosed institutions, but as centers of observation disseminated through-out society. Religious groups and charity organizations had long playedthis role of "disciplining" the population. From the Counter-Reformationto the philanthropy of the July monarchy, initiatives of this fype continuedto increase; their aims were religious (conversion and moralization), eco-nomic (aid and encouragement to work), or political (the struggle againstdiscontent or agitation). one has only to cite by way of example the regu-lations for the charity associations in the Paris parishes. The territory to becovered was divided into quarters and c¿rntons and the members of theassociations divided themselves up along the same lines. These membershad to visit their respective areas regularly. "They will strive to eradicateplaces of ill-repute, tobacco shops,life-classes, gaming house, public scan-dals, blasphem/, impiefy, and any other disorders that may come to theirknowledge." They will also have to make individual visits to the poor;and the information to be obtained is laid down in regulations: the stabil-ity of the lodging, knowledge of prayers, attendance at the sacraments,knowledge of a trade, morality (and "whether they have not fallen intopoverty through their own fau1t"); lastþ, "one must leam by skillful'ques-tioning in what way they behave at home. whether there is peace betweenthem and their neighbors, whether they are ca¡eful to bring up their chil-dren in the fear of God , . . , whether they do not have their older childrenof different sexes sleeping together and. with them, whether they do notallow licentiousness and cajolery in their families, especially in thei¡ olderdaughters. If one has any doubts as to whether they are married, one mustask to see thei¡ marriage certificate."6

3. The støte-control of the mechønisms of the discþIine.ln Engtand, it wasprivate religious groups that carried out, for a long tirne, the functions ofsocial discipline (cf. Radzinovirz 203-1,4); nFrance, although a part of thisroie remained in the hands of parish gurlds or charity uiro.åtio*; urr-other-and no doubt the most important part-was very soon taken overby the police apparatus.

The organization of a centralized police had long been regarded, evenby contemporaries, as the most direct expression of royal absolutism; thesovereign had wished to have "his own magistrate to whom he might di-rectly entrust his orders, his commissions, intentions, and who was en-trusted with the execution of orders and orders under the King's private

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Pønopticism 3g1

seal" (a note by Duval, first secretar¡r at the police magishafure, quoted inFunck-Brentano I). In effect, in taking orru, ä rìÃu", of preexisting f'nc_tions-the search for criminars, urbarîsurv.ru-*ã, ..onomic and poriticalsupervision-the plric1 magistratur"r. Td the magístrature_general thatpresided over them in parisLansposed them into a single, strict, adminis_trative machine: "AIl the radiations of force and information that spreadfrom the circumference cur¡rinate in the magistrate_generar. . . .It is hewho operates an the wheers that togeth", präd.,." ordu. and harmony.The effects of his administ¡ation cannot bsbetter compared than to themovement of the celestial bodies,, (Des Essarts SU, àZS¡But, although the porice as an institution were cártainly organized in theform of a state apparafus, and although this *u, .".ruir,Iy linked directly tothe center of politicar sovereignty, the fype of power that it exercises, themechanisms it operates, and th" áru*ur,í, t *ri.i ii appries them are spe_cific' It is an appararus that musr be coextensive with ,ri"';;;;';;iîi.,and not only by the exfreme limits that it "*bru."r, i..t by the minuteness ofthe details it is concerned with. porice power *..rraiuu, ,,overeverything,,:

it is not, however, the totatity of the state nor of the kingdom as visibre andinvisible body of the *or,*.h; it is the_dust of events, actio.s, behavior,opinions-"everything that happens.;zÇ ;;;:;'"." concemed with"those things of every *o-uni; those "unimportant things,,, of whichCatherine II spoke in hlr Great I¡rstruction (suppi".r,".,, to the Instruction for'.ht,D::?¡"s

up of ø!''rew Code, !769,arricre sgsf. wirh th" pori.", one is in theindefinite worrd of a supervision that seeks idea'y to reach the most ere_mentary partide,_tfe.most passing phenomeno' or the sociar body: ,,Theministry of the magistrater *a poil.u officers is of the greatest importance;the objects that it embraces u." i'a sense definite, or" ,,,uy perceive themonly by a sufficiently detailed examination,, (Deramur",,r*.r*uered pref_ace): the infinitely small of political power.

And, in order to be exèrcised, ihi, po*"r had to be given the instru_ment of permanent, exhaustive, omniprãsent surveilrance, capabre of mak_ing all visibre' as long as it courd itserf remain invisit,te, It had to be rike afaceless gaze that tra¡rsformed the whoru ,o.iaiãåî *" a field of percep_fion: thousands of ey¡s posted everywhere, mobil"'utt".tiorrs ever on thealert, a long, hierarcrrizãa ,r"t*ork'wlúch, according to Le Maire, com_prised for paris the forfy-eight commissaires, the meîty inspecteurs, thenthe "observers,,, who i,,1é*.n'r,iq ."grrtu.ty, úr ,,borr*

mouches,,, or secretagents' who were rui{.uy.r¡te day,"then iÁ" i"r"r""å, paid according tothe job done, and,fina]ly'utu ptoJtitutes. And this unceasing observationhad to be accumurated in

" r*i* J reports and registers; throughout theeighteenth century, an immense poücå text increa3ñgìy .o.r"."d societyby means of a coÁpt"* ao..r*ãtÇ o.gu.iration (on-the police reg.istersin the eighteenth century, cf. chassáig.,ã). And, unüke the methods of ju_dicial or administ¡ative writing, Jn:l was registered in this way wereforms of behavior, attifudes, pîssibilities, suspicions-a permanent ac-count of individuals, behavior.

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332_ Mrcrfil Fouceulr

Now, it should be noted that, although this police supervision was en-tirely "in the hands of the king," it did not function in a single di¡ection. Itwas in fact a double-entry system: it had to correspond, by manipulatingthe machinery of justice, to the imrnediate wishes of the king, but it wasalso capable of responding to solicitations from below; the célebrated,let-tres de cachet, o¡ orders under the king's private seal, which were long thesymbol of arbitrary royal rule and which brought detention into disrçuteon political grounds, were in fact demanded by farnilies, masters, iocaino-tables, neighbors, parish priests; and their function was to punish by con-finement a whole infrapenality, that of disorder, agitation, disobedience,bad conducf those things that Ledoux wanted to exclude from his archi-tecturally perfect city and which he called "offenses of nonsurveillance."In short, the eighteenth-century police added a disciplinary function to itsrole as the auxiliary of justice in the pursuit of criminals and as an instru-ment for the political supervision of plots, opposition movements, or re-volts. It was a complex function since it linked the absolute power of themonarch to the lowest levels of power dissemjnated in society; since, be-tween these different, enclosed institutions of discipline (workshops,armies, schools), it extended an intermediary network, acting where theycould not intervene, disciplining the nondisciplinary spaces; but it filled inthe gaps, linked them together, guaranteed with its armed force an inter-stitial discipline and a metadiscipline. "By means of a wise police, the sov-

.,ereign accustoms the people to order and obedience" (vatt el 162).The organization of the police apparatus in the eighteenth century

sanctioned a generalization of the disciplines that became coextensivewith the state itself. Although it was linked in the most explicit way witheverything in the royai power that exceeded the exercise of regular justice,it.is understandable why the police offered such slight resistance to the re-arrangement of the judicial power; and why it has not ceased to impose itsprerogatives upon it, with ever-increasr+g weight, right up to the presentday; this is no doubt because it is the secular arm of the judiciary; but it isalso because, to a far greater degree than the judicial institution, it is iden-tified, by reason of its extent and mechanisms, with a society of the disci-plinary type. Yet it would be wrong to believe that the discþlinary func-tions were confiscated and absorbed once and for ull by a state apparatus.

"Discipline" rr.ay be identified neither with an institution nor with Èrnapparatus; it is a type of power, a modality for its exercise, comprising awhole set of instruments, techniques, procedures, levels of applicadãn,targets; it is a "physics" or an "anatomy,, of power, a technology. And itmay be taken over either by "specíabzed" institutions (the peniientiarieso¡ "houses of co¡rection" of the nineteenth cenfury), orby institutioru thatuse it as an essential instrument for a particular end (schools, hospítals), orby preexisting authorities that find in it a means of reinforcing ór reorga-nieing their intemal mechanisms of power (one day we should show hówintrafamilial relations, essentially in the parents-chjldren cell, have be-come "disciplined," absorbing since the classical age extemal schemata,

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Pønopticism \sB

fi¡st educational and military, then medical, psychiatric, psychological,which have made the family the privileged locus of emergence for the dis-ciplinary question of the normal and the abnormal), or by apparatusesthat have made discipline their principle of internal functioning (the disci-plinarization of the administrative apparatus from the Napoieonic Pe-riod); or finally by state apparatuses whose major, if not exclusive, func-tion is to assure that discipline reigns over society as a whole (the police)'

On the whole, therefore, one can speak of the formation of a discipli-nary society in this movement that stretches from the enclosed disciplines,a sort of social 'lquarantine," to an indefinitely generalizable mechanism

of "panopticism," Not because the disciplinary modality of power has re-

placed ail the others; but because it has infiltrated the others, sometimes

undermining them, but serving as an intermediary belween them, linkingthem together, extending them, and above all making it possible to bringthe effects of power to the most minute and distant elements. It assu¡es an

infinitesimal distribution of the power relations.A few years after Bentham, Julius gave this society its birth certificate

(]ulius 384-86). Speaking of the panoptic principle, he said that there was

much more there than architectural ingenuify: it was an event in the "his-tory of the human mind.' In appearance, it is merely the soiution of a

technical problem; but, through it, a whole type of society emerges. Antiq-uity had been a civilization of spectacie. "To render accessible to a multi-tude of men the inspection of a small number of objects": this was the

problem to which the architecfure of temples, theaters, and circuses re-

sponded. With spectacle, there was a predominance of public life, the in-tensify of festivals, sensual proxirnify. In these rituals in which bloodflowed, society found new vigor and formed for a moment a single gfeat

body. The modern age Poses the opposite problem: "To Procure for a

small number, or even for a siñgle individual, the instantaneous view of a

great multitude." ln a society in which the principal elements are no

longer the community and public life, but, on the one hand, private indi-viduals and, on the other, the state, relations can be regulated only in a

form that is the exact reverse of the spectacle: "It was to the modern age,

to the ever'growing influencê of the state, to its ever more profound inter-vention in all the details and all the relations of social life, that was re-

served the task of increasíng and perfecting its guarantees, by using and

directing towards that great aim the building and distribution of buildingsintended to observe a great multitude of men at the salne time'"

Ju-lius saw as a fulfilled historical process that wlLich Bentham had de-

scribed as a technical Progïam, Our society is one not of spectacle, but ofsurveillance; under the su¡face of images, one invests bodies in depth; be-

hind the great abstraction of exchange, there continues the meticulous,

concrete training of useful forces; the circuits of communication are the

supports of an accumulation and ¿ 6sntralization of knowledge; the play

of signs defines the anchorages of power; it is not that the beautiful total-

ify of the individual is amputated, repressed, altered by our social order, it

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is rather that the individual is carefully fabricated in it, according to awhole technique of forces and bodies. We are much less Greeks than webelieve. we are neither in the amphitheater, nor on the stage, but in thepanoptic machine, invested by its effects of power, which we bring to our-selves since we are part of its mechanism. The importance, in historicalmythology, of the Napoleonic character probabiy derives from the factthat it is at the point of junction of the monarchical, ritual exercise of sov-ereignty and the hierarchical, permanent exercise of indefinite discipline.He is the individual who looms over everything with a single gu"" ùhi.hno detail, however minute, can escape: "you may consider thai no part ofthe Empire is without surveillance, no crime, no offense, no contraventionthat remairu unpunished, and that the eye of the genius who can en-lighten all embraces the whole of this vast machine, without, however, theslightest detail escaping his attention" (Treilhardr4). At the moment of itsfull blossoming, the discipli^"ry society still assumes with the Emperorthe old aspect of the power of spectacle. As a monarch who is at onã andthe same time a usu{per of the ancient th¡one and the organizer of the newstate, he combined into a single sl,rnbolic, ultimate figure the whole of thelong process by which the pomp of sovereignty, th" necessarily spectacu-lar manifestations of power, were extinguished one by one in the àaily ex-ercise of surveillance, in a panopticism in which the vigilance of intersect-ing gazes was soon to render useless both the eagie and the sun.

The formation of the disciplirary society is connected with a numberof broad historical processes--€conomic, juridico-political, and lastly, sci-entific--of which it forms part.

1. Generally speaking, it might be said that the disciplines a¡e tech-niques for assuring the ordering of human multiplicities-. It is tn¡e thatthere is nothing exceptional or even characteristic in this: every system ofpower is presented with the same problem. But the peculiarit¡r of the dis-ciplines is that they try to define in relation to the rt.tttipti"ities a tactics ofPower that fuifills three criteria: firstly, to obtain the eiercise of power atthe lowest possible cost (economically, by the low expenditure it involves;politically, by its discretion, its low exteiiorization, its relative invisibility,the little resistance it arouses); secondly, to bring the effects of this socialpower to thei¡ maximum intensity and to extend them as far as possible,without either failu¡e or interval; thirdly, to link this ,,economic,i growthof power with the ouþut of the apparafuses (educational, rnilitury,-ittd.tr-trial, or medical) within which it is exercised; in short, to inc¡ease both thedocilify and the utility of all the elements of the system. This friple objec-tive of the diseiplines corresponds to a weli-known historical coniun.t*u.one aspect of this conjuncture was the large demographic th¡ist of theeighteenth century; a¡ increase in the floating popuúuón (one of the pri-mary objects of discipline is to fix; it is an antinomadic technique); achange of quantitative scale in the groups to be supervised or *-urriplr-lated (from the beginning of the seventeenth century to the eve of theFrench Revolution, the school population had been intreasing rapidly, as

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Panopticism 335

had no doubt the hospitai population; by the end of the eighteenth cen-tury, the peacetime army exceeded 200,000 men). The other aspect of theconjuncture was the growth in the apparatus of production, which wasbecoming more and more extended and complex; it was also becomingmore costly and its profitability had to be increased. The development ofthe disciplinary methods corresponded to these two processes, or rather,no doubt, to the new need. to adjust their correlation. Neither the residualforms of feudal power nor the strr.ctures of the administrative monarchy,nor the local mechanisms of supervision, nor the unstable, tangled massthey ail formed together could carry out this.role: they were hinderedfrom doing so by the irregular and inadequate extension of their network,by their often conflicting functioning, but above all by the "costly" natureof the power that was exercised in them. It was costly in several senses:because directly it cost a great deal to the Treasury; because the system ofcorrupt offices and farmed-out taxes weighed indirectly, but very heavily,on the population; because the resistance it encountered forced it into acycle of perpetual reinforcemenÇ because it proceeded essentialiy by levy-ing (ler.ying on money or products by royal, seigniorial, ecclesiastical tax-ation; levying on men or time by coraées of press-gangng,by locking up orbanishing vagabonds). The development of the disciplines marks the ap-pearance of elementary techniques belon$ng to a quite different econ-omy: mechanisms of power which, instead of proceãdi.g by deduction,are integrated into the productive efficiency of the apparatuses fromwithin, into the growth of this efficiency and into the use of what it pro-duces. For the old principle of "ler.y'ing-violence," which governed theeconomy of power, the disciplines substitute the principle of "mild¡ress-production-profit." These are the techniques that make it possible to ad-just the multiplicify of men and the multiplication of the apparatuses ofproduction (and this means not only "production" in the strict sense, butalso the production of knowledge and skills in the school, the productionof health in the hospitals, the production of destructive force in the army).

In this task of adjustment, discipline had to solve a number of prob-lems for which the old economy of power was not sufficiently equipped. Itcould reduce the inefficiency of mass phenomena: reduce what, in a multi-pbclty, makes it much less manageable than a dty; reduce what is op-posed to the use of each of its elements and of thei¡ sum; reduce every-thing that may counter the advantages of number. That is why disciplinefixes; it arrests or regulates movements; it clea¡s up confusion; it dissipatescompact groupings of individuals wandering about the country in unpre-dictable ways; it establishes calculated distributions. It must aiso masterail the forces that are formed from the very constitution of an organizedmuliiplicity; it must nsutralize the effects of counterpower that springfrom them and which form a resistance to the power that wishes to domi-nate it: agitations, revolts, spontaneous organizations, coalitions-any-thitg that may establish horizontal conjunctions. Hence the fact thatthe disciplines use procedwes of partitioning and verticality, that they

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introduce, between the different elements at the salne level, as solid sepa-rations as possible, that they define compact hierarchical networks, inshort, that they oppose to the intrinsic, adverse force of multiplicify thetechnique of the continuous, individuatizing pyramid. They muìt aiso in-crease the particular utility of each elemeni of the multi.plicity, but bymeans that are the most rapid and the least costly, that is tå say, by usingthe multiplicity itself as an instrument of this growth. Hence, in órder toexfract from bodies the maximum time and forie, the use of those overallmethods known as timetables, collective training, exercises, total and de-tailed surveillance. Furthermore, the disciplines Ãust increase the effect ofutility proper to the multipricitiês, so thai each is made more useful thanthe simple sum of its elements: it is in order to increase the utilizable ef-fects of the multiple that the disciplines define tactics of distribution, recip-rocal adjustmen[ of bodies, g"rrr-rrur, and rhythms, differentiation of ca-pacities, reciprocal coordination in relation to apparafuses or tasks. Lastly,the disciplines have to bring into piay the powä relations, not above bútinside the very texture of the multipricity, uì dir.r""tly as possible, as wellarticulated on the other functions of these multiplicities and also in theleast expensive way possible: to this comespond anonymous instrumentsof power, coextensive with the multiplicity that they regiment, such as hi-erarchical surveiliance, confinuous registration, perpetuâ assessment, andclassification. In short, to substitute foi a power ittui ir manifested throughthe brilliance of those who exercise it,

" po*", that insidiously objectifäs

those on whom ii is applied; to form a båay of knowledge abóut these in-dividuals, rather than to deploy the ostentatious signs oisovereigng. In uword, the disciplines are the ensemble of minute te-cfrnical inventions thatmade it possible to increase the useful size of multiplicities by decreasingthe inconveniences of the power which, in order io make íh"* usefuimust cont¡ol them. A multiplicit¡r, whether in a workshop or a nation, anarmy or a school, reaches the threshold of a discipline whãn the relation ofthe one to the other becomes favorable.

If the economic take-off of the west began with the techniques thatmade possible the accumulation of capital, i1 might perhaps be said thatthe methods for administering the accumulatiorrãf men made possible apolitical take-off in relation to the traditional, ritual, costly, violent fbnnsof power, which soon fell into disuse and were superseáed by a subtle,calculated technology of subjection. In fact, the two processes-the accu-muration of men and the accumuration of capital--<annot be separated; itwould not have been possible to solve the problem of the accumulation ofmen without the glowth of an apparatus of production capable of bothsustaining them and using them; conversely, the techniques that made thecumulative multiplicify of men useful accelerated the accumulation ofcapital. At a less general level, the technological mutations of the appara_tus of production, the division of labor and the elaboration of the aiscipU-ryry t9$niques sustained an ensembre of very close relations (cf. M;x,Cøpitø\, vol. I chapter )cII and the very interesúng analysis in Guerry aná

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Deleule). Each maku. ft. other possible and necessary; each provides amodel for the "g:: The discipun-ary pyramid constituted the small cell ofpower within which the separation, coórdinatiory ur,a r,.rp"*]r." "r

*rcwas imposed and made efficienÇ and analyticar partitioning of time, ges-tures, and bodily forces constituted an operatio.ral s.h"ma tîrat.o.lá ãur-ily be transferred from the gïoups to bé subjected to the mechanisms ofproduction; the massive proþction of military methods onto industrial or-ganization was an example of this modeling of the division of labor fol_lowing the modellard down by the schematä. or fo*"r. But, on the otherhand, the technical analysis of ihe process of proáuctiory its ,,mechanical,,breaking-down, were projected onio the tabor force whose task it was toimplement it: the constitution of those disciplinary machines in which theindividual forces t]r1t theybring together *" .o*posed into a whore andtherefore increased is the effect õr mis pro;ection. t"t .r, say that disciptineis the unitary technique by which the body is reduced as a ,,poriticar,, forceat the least cost and maximized as a usefui force. The growth of a capitalisteconomy gave rise to,the specific modarity of discipíinafy power,ïhor"general formulas, techniques of submitting forces and bodies, in short,"political anatomy," .ould be operated in the most diverse politicalregimes, apparatuses, or institutions.

2.. h-" panoptic.modfify of power-at the erementary, technicar,merely physical level at which it is situated-is not under the immediatedependence or a direct extension of the great juridico-political structu¡esof a society; it is nonetheless not absoluteiy ináependent. Historically, theprocess by which ttre bourgeoisie became in the course of the eightáenthcentury the politically dominant class was masked by the establishment ofan explicit, coded, and for¡nally egalitarian juridical framework, madepossibie by the organization of a farüame.íury, representative regime.B1t the- developmelt and generaliz¿tion of air.tpfirrury mechanisms con-stituted the other, dark side of these processes. The general juridical formthat guaranteed a system of rights tliat were

"gafitåiu'. *'prr."rpr";;,supported by these tiny, everyday, physical meãhanisms, by ar thäse sys-tems of micropower that *" uæ.r,tiuliy r,o.rgaritarian and asymmetricalthat we call the disciprines, And arthough, in a formal way, the representa-tive regime makes it possible, directllior indirectly, *i*n or without ¡e_lays, for the will of all to form the fr¡¡rdamental authorify of sovereignty,the.disciplines provide, at the base, a guarantee of the submission of forcesand bodies' The rea-I, corporal disciplines consfifuted the foundation of theformal, juridical liberties-The conffåct may have been regarded as the idearfoundation of law and politicar power; panopticism constituted the tech_nique, universally widespread, of coerciòn. If continued to work t O**on the juridical strucfures of society, in order to make the effective mecha-nisms of power fungtion in opposition to the formal framework that it hadacquired. The ,,Enlightenmeni,,,

which discovered the liberties, aJso in_vented the disciplines.In appearance, the disciplines constitute nothing more than an

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infralaw. They seem to extend the general forms defined by law to the in-finitesimal level of individual lives; or they appeaìr as methods of trainingthat enable individuais to become integrated into these general demands.Th"y seem to constitute the same type of iaw on a different scale, therebymaking it more meticulous and more indulgent. The disciplines should beregarded as a sort of counterlaw. They have the precise role of introducinginsuperable asynunet¡ies and exciuding reciprocities. First, because disci-pline creates between individuals a "private" Link, which is a relation ofconstraints entirely different from contractua-l obligation; the acceptanceof a discipline may be u¡rderwritten by contract; the way in which iiis i¡n-posed, the mechanisms it brings into piay, the nonreversible subordina-tion of one group of people by another, the "surplus" power that is alwaysfixed on the same side, the inequality of position of the djfferent ',purt-ners" in relation to the coÍrmon regulation, all these distinguish the áisci-Plinary link from the contractual link, and make it possible to distort thecontractual iink systematicaliy from the moment it has as its content amechanism of disciptine. we know, for example, how many real proce-dures undermine the legal fiction of the work contract: workshop disci-pline is not the least important. Moreover, whereas the juridical systemsdefine juridical subjects according to universal norms, the disciplinescharacterize, classify, specialize; they distribute along a scale, around anorm, hierarchize individuais in relation to one another and, if necessary,disqualify and invalidate. Lr any case, in the space and during the time inwhich they exercise their control and bring into play the asymmetries oftheir power, they effect a suspension of the law that is never total, but isnever annulled either. Re,gular and institutional as it may be, the disci-pline, in its mechanism, is a "counterlaw." And, although theuniversal ju-ridicism of modern society seenls to fix limits on the exercise of power, itsuniversally widespread panopticism enables it to operate, or, th" under-side of the law, a machinery that is both immense and minute, which sup-ports, reinforces, multiplies the as).,mmetry of power and underinines thelimits that are traced a¡ound the law. The minute disciplines, the panopti-cisms of every day may well be below'the level of "-"rg.n." of the griatapparatuses and the great political struggles. But, in the genealogy ofmodem society, they have been, with the class domination that t¡avãrsesit, the political counterpart of the juridical norrns according to whichpower was ¡edisfributed. Hence, no doubt the importance that has beenglven for so long to the small techniques of discipline, to those apparentlyinsignificant t¡icks that it has inventãd, and

"rr"r, to those "sciences,, that

give it a respectable face; hence the fear of abandoning them if one cannotfind any substitute; hence the affirmation that they arã at the very founda-tion of society, and an element in its equilibrium, whereas they are a seriesof mechanisms for unbalancing power relations definitively and every-where; hence the persistence in regarding them as the humble, but con-crete form of every moraliç whereas they are a set of physico-politicaltechniques.

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To reftrrn to the problem of legal punishments, the prison with all thecorrective technology at its disposal is to be resituated at the point wherethe codified power to punish turns into a disciplinary power to observe; atthe point where the r¡niversal punishments of the law are applied selec-tively to certain individuals and always the same ones; at the point wherethe redefinition of the juridical subject by the penalty becomes a usefultraining of the criminal; at the point where the law is inverted and passesoutsíde itself, and where the counterlaw becomes the effective and institu-tionalized content of the juridical forms. What generarizss the power topunish, then, is not the universal consciousness of the law in each juridicalsubject; it is the regular extension, the infinitely minute web of panoptictechniques

3. Taken one by one, most of these techniques have a long history be-hind them, But what was new, in the eighteenth century, was that, bybeing combined and generalized, they attained a level at which the forma-tion of knowledge and the increase of power regularly reinforce one an-other in a circular process. At this point, the disciplines crossed the "tech-nological" th¡eshold. First the hospital, then the school, then, later, theworkshop were not simply "reordered" by the disciplines; they became,thanks to them, apparafuses such that any mechanism of objectificationcould be used in them as an instrument of subjection, and any growth ofpower could give rise in them to possible branches of knowledge; it wasthis link, proper to the technological systems, that made possible withinthe disciplir"ry element the formation of clinical medicine, psychiatry,child psychology, educational psychology, the rationalization of labor. Itis a double process, then: an epistemological "thaw" through a refinementof power relations; a multiplication of the effects of power through the for-mation and accumulation of new forms of knowledge.

The extension of the disciplinary methods is inscribed in a broad his-torical process: the development at about the same time of many othertechnologies-agronomical, industrial, economic. But it must be recog-nized that, compa¡ed with the mining industries, fhe emerging chemicalindustries or methods of national accountattcf , compared with the blastfurnaces or the steam engine, panopticism has ¡eceived [ttle attention. Itis regarded as not much more than a bizarre little utopia, a perversedream-rather as thoqgh Bentham had been the Fourier of a police soci-ety, and the Phalanstery had taken on the form of the panopticon. And yetthis represented the abstract formula of a very reai technology, that of in-dividuals. There were many reasons why it received little praise; the mostobvious is that the discourses to which it gave rise rarely acquired, exceptin the academic classifications, the status of sciences; but the real reason isno doubt that the power that it operates and which it augments is a direct,physical power that men exercise upon one another. An inglorious culmi-nation had an origin that could be on-ty grudtrnsly acknowiedged. But itwould be unjust to compare the disciplinary techniques with such inven-tions as the steam engine or Amici's microscope. They are much less; and

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yet, in awayr they are much more, [f a hjstorical equivalent or at least apoint of comparison had to be found for them, it wìu¿ be rather in the"inquisitorial" technique.

The eighteenth century invented the techniques of discipline and theexamination, rather as the Middle Ages inver,tua tft" ¡udicìd investiga-tion. But it did so by quite different me¿rns. The investigation procedu-re,an old fiscal and administrative technique, had developãd aboïe ail withthe reorganization of the Church and the increase of the princeiy states inthe fwelfth and thirteenth centuries. At this time it permeated to a verylarge degree the jurisprudence first of the ecclesiasticãl courts, then of thelay courts. The investigation as an authoritarian sea¡ch for a truth ob-served or attested was thus opposed to the old procedures of the oath, theordeal, the judicial duel, the judgment of God, or even of the transactionbetween private individuals. The investigation was the sovereign powerarrogating to itself the right to establish the tmth by a nr.rmb"i of regu_lated techniques, Now, although the investigation has since then been a¡integral part of western justice (even up to our owrr day), one must notforget either its political origin, its link with the birth of the states and ofmonarchical sovereignW, or its iater extension and its role in the formationof knowledge. In fact, the investigation has been the no doubt crude, butfundamentaÌ element in the .ottrât rtion of the empirical sciences; it hasbeen the juridico-political makix of th-is experimenial knowledge, which,as we know, was very rapidly released at the end of the Middle-Ages. It isperhaps true to say that, in Greece, mathematics were.bom from tech-niques of measurement; the sciences of nature, in any case, were bom, tosome extent, at the end of the Middle Ages, from the practices of investi_gutigl. The great empirical knowledge that .orr"r"d the things of theworld and transcribed them into the ordering of an indefinite äi"ço*ruthat observes, describes, and establishes the 7facts,, (at a time when theWestern world was beginning the economic and political conquést of tf,issarne world) had its operating model no doubt in ihe hquisition-that im-mense invention that ou¡ recent mildness has placed in the dark recessesof our-memory. But what this politico-juridical, administrative, and crirni-nal, religious and lay, investigation was to the sciences of nature, d_iscipli-nary analysis has been to the sciences of man. These sciences, which haveso delighted our "humanity" for over a century, have their technical ma-frix in the petfi malicious minutiae of the discípünes and their investigà-tions. These investigations are perhaps to psychology, psychi aty, peáa-gow,criminology, and so many other strange scienães, what the teiriblepower of invesfigatíon was to the calm knówledge of the animals, theplants, or the earth. Another powet,another knowlãdge. on the thresholdof the

-classical age, Bacon, lawyer and statesman,-tried to develop a

methodology of investigation for the empirical sciences. what Great ob-server will produce the methodology of examjnation for the human sci_ences? LJnIess, of course, such a thing is not possible. For, although it isfrue that, in becoming a technique for the empirical sciences, the inv"estiga-

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Pønopticßm qr

tion has detached itself from the inquisitorial procedure, in which it was

historically rooted, the examination has remained extremely close to the

disciplinary power that shaped it. It has always been and still is an intrin-sic element of the disciplines. Of course it seems to-have undergone aspeculative purification by integrating itself with such sciences as psychol-ogy and psychiatry. And, in effect, its appearance in the form of tests, in-terviews, interrogations, and consultations is apparently in order to rectifythe mechanisms of discipline: educational psychology is supposed to cor-rect the rigors of the school, just as the medical or psychiatric interr¡iew is

supposed to rectify the effects of the discipline.of work. But we must notbe misled; these techniques merely refer individuals from one disciplinaryauthority to another, and they reproduce, in a concentrated or formalizedform, the schema of power-knowledge ProPer to each discipline (on thissubject, cf. Tort). The great investigation that gave rise to the sciences ofnature has become detached from its politico-juridical model; the exami-nation, on the other hand, is still caught uP in disciplinary technology,

In the Middle Ages, the procedure of investigation gradually suPer-

seded the old accusatory justice, by a process initiated from above; the dis-ciplinary technique, on the other hand, insidiously and as if from below,has invaded a penal justice that is still, in principle, inquisitorial. All thegreat movements of extension that characterize modem penality-theproblematization of the criminal behind his crime, the concern with a pun-ishment that is a correction, a therap|, a normalization, the division of theact of judgment between various authorities that are supposed to mea-

sure, assess, diagnose, cure, transform individuals-all this betrays the

penetration of the disciplinary examination into the judicial inquisition.\Alhat is now imposed on penal justice as its point of application, its

"usefl¡I" object, will no longer be the body of the g"itty man set up against

the body of the king; nor wiil it be the juridical subject of an ideal contract;it will be the disciptinary individual. The extreme point of penal justice

under the Ancien Régime was the infinite segmentation of the body of theregicide: a manifestation of the strongest Power over the body of thegreatest criminal, whose total destruction made the crime explode into itstruth. The ideal point of penality today would be an indefinite discipline:an interrogation without end, an investigation that would be extendedwithout lirnit to a meticulous and ever more analytical observation, a

judgment that woul.d at the sarne time be the constitution of a file that was

never closed, the calculated leniency of a penalty that would be interlacedwith the ruthless curiosity of an examination, a Procedure that would be

at the sarne time the permanent measure of a gap in relation to an inacces-

sible norm and the as¡''rnptotic movement that strives to meet in infinity.The public execution was the togical culmination of a procedure governedby the Lrquisition. The practice of placing individuals under "observa-

tion" is a nafural extension of a justice imbued with disciplinary methods

and examination procedures. Is it surprising that the cellular prison, withits regular chronologies," forced labor, its authorities of surveillance and

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registration, its experts in normalify, who continue and multiply the func-tions of the judge, should have become the modern irutrum"r,i ór penalty?Is it surprising that prisons resemble factories, schools, barracks, htspitais,which all resembie prisons?

NOTES1A¡chives.militai¡es de Vincermes, A 1Æ16 91 sc. Pièce. This regulafion is broadly

si¡nilar to a whole series of others that date from the same period and ea¡lier.

. tq *" Postscript to the Pønopticon, 1797, Bentham

"àd, d*k irrspecfion galleriespainted in black around the inspector's lodge, each making it possiblã to obse-rve twostories of cells,

3In his fust version oÍ t}re Panopficon, Bentham had. also imagined an acoustic su¡-veillance, operated by means of pipes leading f¡om the cells to the cenhal tower, I¡ thePostscript he abandoned the ìdea, perhaps because he could not introduce into it theprinciple of diss)'mmety and prevent the prisoners f¡om hearing the inspector as wellas the irupector hearing them. Julius tried to develop a system of-aisy* uttical listen-ing (Julius 18).

atmagining this continuous flow of visitors entering the central tower by a¡ under-ground Passage and then observing the circu-lar landscãpe of the Panopticon, was Ben-tham awa¡e of the Panoramas that Ba¡ker was constructing at exuctly'the same period(the first seems to have dated from 1787) and,in which the vi-sitors, occupying the ientralplace, saw unfolding around them a landscape, a city, or a battle, The visito-rs occupiedexactly the place of the soverei g gøe.

"In the second half of the eighteenth century, it was often suggested that the armyshould be used for the su:r¡eillance and general partitioning o¡Ihu population. Th!anny/ as yet to undergo discipline in the seventeenth centuqr, *ur tugutd"d as a forcecapable of instilling it. Cf., for example, Servar, L¿ Soldøt citoy:m, tZgO.oArsenal, MS. 2565. Under this number, one also finds rãgulatioru for.h"tity associ-ations of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

7Le Mai¡e in a memorandum written at the request of Sartine, in answer to sixteen.9ue¡tions posed by Joseph II on the Pa¡isian policá. This memora¡dum was publishedby Gazier :u:.1,879.


A¡chives militaires de Vincennes, A 1.,516 91 sc.Bentham, J.,Works, ed. Bowring, N,lg4Ì.Chassaigne, M., La Lieutenance génerale de potice, 1906.Delamare, N., Traité de police, 7705.

P"r:., C., Règlement pour les écoles de lø aille de Lyon, 1716.Des Essarts, T,N., Dictionnaire uniaersel de police, tZgT.Fr¡nck-Brentano, F,, cøtalogue des manuscrits de ra bibtíothèque de I'Arsenal, H.Guerry, F., and Deleule, D., Le Corps productif, 1973.Julius, N. H., Leçons sur les prisons,I, 1g31 (Fr. trans.).Léon, 4., La Rêaolution frønçaise et l,éducation technique, L96g.Loisel, G., Histoire des ménageríes,l., !912.Marx, Karl, Cøpital, vol. I, ed. 1920.Radzinovitz, L., The English Crimínal I^øw, n, 7956.Servan, J., It Soldat citoyen, lTB0.Tort, Michel, Q.L, \974.Treilhard, J.8., Motifs du code d,instruction uìminelle,7g0g.Vattel, E. de, Le Droit des gms,IT6g.

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Panopticism 343



Foucault's text begins with an account of â system enacted in the seven-

teenth century to control the spread of plague. After describing this sys-

tem of surveillance, he compares it to the "rituals of exclusion" used tocontrol iepers. He says, "The exile of the leper and the arrest of the plaguedo not bti.g with them the same political dream" (p. 312). At many pointshe sets up sirnilar pairings, all in an attempt to understand the relations ofpower and knowledge in modern public life.

As you reread, mark the various points at which Foucault works outthe differences between a prior and the current "political dream" of order.What are the techniques or instruments that belong to each? What mo-ments in history are defined by each? How and where are they visible inpublic life?

Toward the end of the chapter Foucault says, "The extension of the dis-ciplinary methods is inscribed in a broad historical process." Foucaultwrites a difficult kind of history (at one point he calls it a genealogy),since it does not make use of the usual form of historical narrative-withcharacterS, plots. scenes/ and action. As you reread, take notes that willallow you to trace time, place, and sequence (and, if you can, agents andagency) in Foucault's account of the formation of the disciplinary societybased on technologies of suweillance. Why do you think he avoids a nar-rative mode of presentation?

As you reread Foucault's text, bring forward the stages in his presentation(or the development of his argument), Ma¡k those moments that you con-sider key or central to the working out of his argrrment concerning thepanopticon. What sentences of his would you use to represent key mo-ments in the text? The text at times tums to numbered sections' FJow, forexample, do they function? Describe the beginning, middle, and end ofthe essay. Describe the skeleton or understructure of the chapter. Whatare its va¡ious stages or steps? How do they relate to each other?


L. About tllree-quarters of the way into this chapter, Foucault says,

Ou¡ society is one not of spectacle, but of su¡veillance; under the sur-face of images, one i¡vests bodies in depth; behind the great abstrac-

' tion of exchange, there continues the meticulous, concrete training ofusefr¡l forces; the ci¡cuits of corrmunication are the supports of an ac-

cumulation and a centralization of hnowledge; the play of signs definesthe anchorages of power; it is not that the beautiful totality of the indi-vidua-l is amputated, repressed, altered by otu social order, it is ratherthat ihe individual is carefi:Ily fabricated in it, according to a wholetechnique of forces and bodies, (pp. 333-3a)



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