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A hypothetical prison proposed by Jeremy Bentham, having circular tiers of cells surrounding a central observation tower.

[Earlier, a peepshow device used to exhibit pictures : pan- + Greek optikon, neuter of optikos, optic; see optic.]


1. a round prison in which all cells are visible from the centre point
2. archaic an optical instrument enabling wide views of cities
3. archaic an exhibition room


(pænˈɒp tɪˌkɒn)

a building, as a prison or library, so arranged that all parts of the interior are visible from a single point.
[1760–70; pan- + Greek optikón sight, seeing (neuter of optikós; see optic)]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.panopticon - an area where everything is visible
area - a part of a structure having some specific characteristic or function; "the spacious cooking area provided plenty of room for servants"
saleroom, salesroom, showroom - an area where merchandise (such as cars) can be displayed; "in Britain a showroom is called a salesroom"
2.panopticon - a circular prison with cells distributed around a central surveillance station; proposed by Jeremy Bentham in 1791
prison, prison house - a correctional institution where persons are confined while on trial or for punishment
References in periodicals archive ?
This is an appearance that also produces a paradigm shift at the level of the netocratic mechanism action from Bard and Soderqvist's (2012) theory, which passes from that of the panopticism surveillance paradigm to that of the superpanopticism one.
At the other extreme, with panopticism, is the discipline-mechanism: a functional mechanism that must improve the exercise of power by making it lighter, more rapid, more effective, a design of subtle coercion for a society to come.
In conclusion, the reciprocal information gathering by users about their peers invites to redraft, once again, concepts of panopticism commonly employed to describe modern societies of control and discipline.
Keeping Foucault and Derrida in Sight: Panopticism and the Politics of Subversion.
2014) 'Flesh made words: fingerprinting and the fantasy of documentary panopticism, 1900-1930', International Development Studies: Occasional Paper 23: 76-96 <http://ojs.
Foucault also clearly relates panopticism to capitalism commented that they provide a basis for obtaining "the exercise of power at the lowest possible cost (economically, by the low expenditure it involves; politically, by its discretion, its low exteriorization, its relative invisibility, the little resistance it arouses)" and "to link this 'economic' growth of power with the output of the apparatuses (educational, military, industrial or medical) within which it is exercised; in short, to increase both the docility and the utility of all elements of the system" (p.
The Scarlet P: Plagiarism, panopticism, and the rhetoric of academic integrity.
This article is framed within research on the relationship between novel and panopticism, literary discourse, and disciplinary discourse as features that would define modern Chilean literature and society.
Los labels this form of panopticism "enhanced" because it goes beyond "the internalization of the all-seeing eye and the habit of self-policing" by making each prisoner also aware of being "potentially viewed by others as a secret eye of the system.
For Foucault, the connecting link between the growth of capitalist disciplinisation of individuals and populations and the growth of the state, is what he refers to as the 'utilitarian rationalisation of morality and political control', or simply the principle of 'political utility' as first envisioned by Bentham's notion of Panopticism as a model for government (BOB, p67).
18) Michel Foucault, "Discipline and Punish, Panopticism," in Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison, trans.
2) Fagan's protagonist is alert to an institutional panopticism of soul sucking predicated upon a system of power that removes individuality in favour of manageable cogs.