Categorie archief: Technology

Watching You Watch Me!! (…on Facebook)

The Web 2.0 application FACEBOOK analysed through FOUCAULTS PHILOSOPHIES ON SOCIETY.

WARNING|DANGER: With this knowledge a consciousness is created with which people become aware about the possibilities of people watching/observing/monitoring people, both virtually as in the real world.


Michel Foucault described an obvious change in society where individuals are increasingly formed into an object of knowledge, and governments regulate populations through the use of “Bio-politics” and “Bio-power”. Foucault describes the notion of these terms as “a set of materials, elements and techniques that serve as weapons, relays, communication routes and supports for the power and knowledge relations that invest human bodies and subjugate them by turning them into objects of knowledge”(Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 1977). He sees the increasing documentation of individuals as a form of this power, which serves the purpose of chronicling past and present tendencies and essentializing them to the individual, in the service of predicting future tendencies (Humphreys, The consumer as Foucauldian object of knowledge, 2006). By noting this change in society he uses Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon model, which is a prison design that allows an ‘omnipresent’ observer to observe all prisoners without the prisoners being able to tell whether they are being watched or not, as a metaphor for society. In short, individuals are increasingly being documented and thus turned into objects of knowledge, with a panoptic society in which these objects of knowledge are potentially under constant observation, as a consequence.
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