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Sovereignty, surveillance and speeding: Considering the Panopticon as a method of policing

  • Deagon, Alex
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2015
Queensland University of Technology ePrints Archive
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This paper argues that the Panopticon is an accurate model for and illustration of policing and security methods in the modern society. Initially, I overview the theoretical concept of the Panopticon as a structure of perceived universal surveillance which facilitates automatic obedience in its subjects as identified by the theorists Jeremy Bentham and Michel Foucault. The paper subsequently moves to identify how the Panopticon, despite being a theoretical construct, is nevertheless instantiated to an extent through the prevalence of security cameras as a means of sovereignly regulating human conduct; speeding is an ordinary example. It could even be contended that increasing surveillance according to the model of the Panopticon would reduce the frequency of offences. However, in the final analysis the paper considers that even if adopting an approach based on the Panopticon is a more effective method of policing, it is not necessarily a more desirable one.


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