The Return of Panopticism: Supervision, Subjection and the New Surveillance

Bart Simon


This article revisits Foucault's concept of panopticism as in pertains to research on the new surveillance. Drawing on the work of neo-Foucauldian authors in surveillance studies the paper shows how the figures of the supervisor and inmate within the Foucauldian diagram suggest different directions for pursuing surveillance theory. On the one hand, there is a concern with processes of subjection and normalization that arise through the internalization of the gaze, while on the other there is a concern with processes of administration, social sorting and simulation that occur independently of embodied subjects. Foucault's model both allows for these twin concerns within the context of the new surveillance while serving as a source of further insight into the empirical nuances of contemporary surveillance relations.

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