FBI vs. Orwell vs. Foucault

Open Geography

This image attracted a lot of attention around the web today:

The text on the left is from a story in the Washington Post which discusses the FBI’s ability to exploit laptop cameras without enabling the indicator light.  The text on the right is from Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four discussing the dystopian state’s capability to view any given citizen unknowingly through their telescreen. (The comparison was tweeted out by @tinyrevolution.)

To which we can add:

Foucault DP

Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish, page 201.

This was originally published (in French) in 1975, well after Orwell’s book. So Orwell was first with the idea? Not so fast! Foucault is discussing the ideas of the social reformer Jeremy Bentham, who proposed the idea of the “panopticon” (all-seeing) in the late 18th century. According to one history, there are at least 300 prisons worldwide built on panoptic principles. You can see a classic illustration

View original post 138 more words

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Nicholas. Bookmark the permalink.

About Nicholas

Associate Professor of Sociology, Environmental Studies, and Science and Technology Studies at Penn State, Nicholas mainly writes about understanding the scientific study of states and, thus, it is namely about state theory. Given his training in sociology and STS, he takes a decidedly STS-oriented approach to state theory and issues of governance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s