File spoon-archives/foucault.archive/foucault_2004/foucault.0405, message 5

Subject: Re: Panopticon Reversed
Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 09:24:46 +1000

hmm . . .since the panopticon is supposed to be *pan*optic, what we are
seeing is the beginning of panoptics in Abu Ghraib, not its 'reversal'.
Indeed, many of the complaints are precisely that the panoptic principles of
imprisonment were not observed, although there was a level of visibility, in
that prisoners themselves saw what was going on as did the guards, and so
did their superiors (apparently), and copious photography was done, which
has now made the practices of the prison visible to the world at large.
The interesting question about Abu Ghraib is what sort of power is in play
here? It would not seem to be disciplinary, but nor is it the sovereign
power, as practised by Saddam Hussein, which involved marking bodies by
violence etc. While the Americans certainly have inflicted brutality, this
aspect of humiliation of inmates is something rather new. The use of dogs
and homosexuality is an attack on the inmates via their cultural norms,
doing things which were unspeakable to them, and as some inmates have
pointed out, were things that the Ba'ath regime would not have done, despite
itssavagery. It seems like an attack at the level of culture, but more than
that I don't feel immediately able to characterise it, or ts objectives.
Anyone else?

----- Original Message -----
From: "max neill" <>
To: <foucault-AT-lists.village.Virginia.EDU>
Sent: Monday, May 10, 2004 5:34 AM
Subject: Panopticon Reversed

> Any opinions on the apparent reversal of the 'Panopticon Effect' at Abu
Ghraib, where now the gaze of the world is focussed on the jailers?
> "We speak and the word goes beyond us to consequences and ends which we
> not conceived of" Gadamer


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