The Importance Of Classroom Surveillance In Society

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What is it about being watched that changes the way we act? Elementary school teachers tell their students that they have eyes in the back of their head, implying that they can always see their students. Even when the students know better, their behavior changes. It is not entirely the physical surveillance that impacts them, rather the belief of being surveilled. Surveillance is a means by which the person or group in power controls the powerless through observation. The variety of these relationships is large, ranging from school and the workplace to government. While the goal of surveillance in the classroom is instilling order to facilitate learning, it forces the students into acting as the teacher wishes. In this paper, I will use Michel Foucault’s “Panopticism” to demonstrate how classroom surveillance in grade school creates a society in which obedience is expected.…show more content…
Foucault introduces a plague-ridden society, where everyone is registered and held in certain quarters. As Foucault puts it, “Each street is placed under the authority of a syndic, who keeps it under surveillance” (Foucault 61). He notes that this surveillance is necessary to keep order and safety within the town. The lack of any surveillance would result in anarchy and widespread illness. Foucault goes on to explain the larger impact of this system: the disciplinary society. He notes the that this power extends beyond keeping safety, and into regulating normality. Because normality is subjective, the surveillance power can be used to discipline anything that does not go along with the ruling
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