Discipline and Punish

by: Michel Foucault

Important Quotations Explained

The Panopticon is a marvelous machine which, whatever use one may wish to put it to, produces homogeneous effects of power.

The Panopticon, the fantastic building designed by Bentham, has become a symbol of Foucault's argument. From the center of the panopticon, the controller can see each individual room or cell. Its effects are homogenous because, whether the building is used as a school or a prison, power operates in a certain way within it. Each individual held within it is isolated, permanently exposed to the gaze of the observer; by looking at them, the observer controls them. It is a building that makes examination easy: it is marvelous both because it allows one person to have power over many, and because it is such an unusual construction.