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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 ?
In a particularly important effort, Livingston brings together Romanticism, the antinomadic discursive field (ideology) of nascent capitalist hegemony, political economy (Marx's c-m-c; cyclical crises), and the panopticon as metaphor of the disciplinary performative.
His first collection, Panopticon (1943), was confiscated by a philo-fascist censorship.
The problem of seeing and power in the novel is of course most powerfully located in terms of the fantasy structure of the panopticon.
In a perverse realization of the old argument that the state would whither away once communism had been created (an argument usually employed by apologists for the construction of a panopticon state) our Conservative Party has withered away with the realization of a market-dominated state.
With contributions from industry experts with a global voice, including Accenture, Deloitte, TABB, National Australia Bank, Aite Group, Client Knowledge, Trader Tools, Headstrong, Quantia, Panopticon, Numerix, and professors from Columbia University and UC Berkeley, the 2011 guide is broken into five sections, covering key industry themes of: Advanced Trading, CEP Breaks Out, New Risk Strategies, Changing Landscape, and Quality Real-Time Data.
BOOK THE SUNLIGHT PILGRIMS JENNI FAGAN Author and poet Jenni Fagan cut the teeth of her mesmeric talent on her novel The Panopticon which saw her widely shortlisted and selected as a Granta Best Young British Novelist.
The party started last night in the Tartan Rose pub in Paisley where the tent are based and carries on today when members will head to Glasgow's Panopticon, where Stan debuted in 1906.
He explores in part one the metaphors of Orwell's Big Brother, the surveillance state, and the Foucault/Bentham Panopticon for our current situation.
NASDAQ: DWCH) has announced the initial product integration between Datawatch and the newly acquired Panopticon software.
Indeed, as the French writer Michel Foucault argues in his book "Discipline and Punish," the panopticon has become the paradigm of power in the modern age, far exceeding Bentham's expectations.
Shot in the actual panopticon of a Lisbon psychiatric hospital, the film features a stuffed rhinoceros being slowly, artlessly, and surreally wheeled around the room's perimeter, past the narrow cells.
In Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley has promised to transform his city from a barely scrutinized sanctuary of privacy--there are only 200 police-operated cameras in service there now--into a virtual panopticon.