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Surveillance and the Panopticon

  • In: Encyclopedia of Identity
  • Edited by: Ronald L. Jackson II & Michael A. Hogg
  • Subject:Self & Identity, Identity, Self & Identity

In its simplest sense, surveillance is the act of observing or the condition of being observed, and it has always existed in some form. The term surveillance is generally used, however, to mean the act of watching or being watched in a systematic and focused manner. The Panopticon is a prison structure designed by Englishman Jeremy Bentham in 1785, which allows one guard to observe all the prison cells from a central tower that provides a view into each prison cell. The Panopticon is often ...

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