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*Foucault Intensifies*

I don’t understand the Foucault intensifies thing. all I know about with Foucault is the type of pendulum

In short, Foucault took the idea of the Panopticon, the philosophical system of control commonly associated with prisons, and pointed out that many insitutions are built around this same idea of constant surveillance and control to regulate behavior, including schools:

It is polyvalent in its applications; it serves to reform prisoners, but also to treat patients, to instruct schoolchildren, to confine the insane, to supervise workers, to put beggars and idlers to work. It is a type of location of bodies in space, of distribution of individuals in relation to one another, of hierarchical organization, of disposition of centres and channels of power, of definition of the instruments and modes of intervention of power, which can be implemented in hospitals, workshops, schools, prisons. Whenever one is dealing with a multiplicity of individuals on whom a task or a particular form of behaviour must be imposed, the panoptic schema may be used. It is – necessary modifications apart – applicable ‘to all establishments whatsoever, in which, within a space not too large to be covered or commanded by buildings, a number of persons are meant to be kept under inspection’ (Bentham, 40; although Bentham takes the penitentiary house as his prime example, it is because it has many different functions to fulfil – safe custody, confinement, solitude, forced labour and instruction).

In each of its applications, it makes it possible to perfect the exercise of power.

Prison guards patrolling the perimeter with guns just makes that comparison a WHOLE LOT MORE DIRECT

My favourite part about Foucault and the Panopticon theory in general is that it doesn’t just apply to institutions, it applies to the way we present ourselves as a whole. Kids try so hard to fit in with each other because the systems they live in teach them that someone is always watching, someone always knows everything they do and their lives will be ruined if they step a foot out of line; it’s useful in systems like schools and community centres that function around control, but it’s a severely fucked up way to live and a really fucked up way for kids and young adults to grow up thinking. 

Like, slightly off tangent but that’s what I find fascinating about that in gender theory, both as someone who has studied it and as a Trans person; I found myself not only performing the gender I was assigned for everyone else, but I also perform my own gender sometimes to an extreme that would be uncomfortable if I had been born in the body I was supposed to be born in, specifically because “They” who watch are going to judge me and stop me from getting my shit done. I mean it’s not wrong, I’ve had some interesting conversations with people that boil down to “I don’t think you have a right to exist go to hell in a handbasket” but it’s always about being SEEN with me, being seen talking to me, etc etc. It’s all about public perception, and the idea that people are going to be punished for stepping out of the box society has created for them.

Once you’re aware of the theory it really helps you examine your own actions, and look at how communities, no matter how big or small, structure themselves around Panopticons as a basic operating system because we’ve fucked each other up that much.

I don’t think I’d ever recognized how directly surveillance and “protection” parallels the feeling of being in prison. And how literally privacy parallels freedom and liberty.

Major internet sites, big corporations in general, and conservative politicians are working to implement a panopticon dystopia in order to monitor, control, and use us for their own profit.

That’s the definition of life in prison. The prison-industrial complex seeks to expand its reach to all of us.

Don’t let them win.