Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I always feel like somebody is watching me....

Foucalt (Allan, 2007; Appelrouth & Edels, 2008: 655) presents the concept of panopticism in which the power to control has been shifted from the controller to the controlee in other words the inability to know when and if one is being watched (under surveillance by the power) now serves as an auto or internal control mechanism so as to keep the individual and society as a whole in line. “The efficiency of power, its constraining force have, in a sense, passed over to the other-side to the side of its surface of application. He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection. By this fact, the external power may throw off its physical weight; it tends to the non-corporal; and the more it approaches this limit, the more constant, profound and permanent are its effects: it is a perpetual victory that avoids any physical confrontation and which is always decided in advance,” Michel Foucalt (1975, as cited in Appelrouth & Edels, 2008: 655). What changes, if any, have you noticed in your life since homeland security measures have been heightened? Do you feel like now you yourself have been given a greater responsibility to conduct yourself in a more “proper” manner?

Applerouth, S. & Edles, L. D.2008.Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory:

Text Readings.Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press


  1. The biggest changes that I have seen since homeland security has been heightened is definitely airport security. I think that not only has it changed my life but also all other frequent travelers like myself. I take a plane about once a month to visit my boyfriend and sometimes it just seems so ridiculous, the measures that have to be taken to enter the main terminal.
    I understand why security is so strict but I literally feel nervous every time I'm going through, I feel as though I am guilty of something. Not only does your ID get thoroughly checked under a blue light and a magnifying glass but also, I have to take off my shoes, and coat before going through the metal detector.

    I once had a nail clipper in my purse and had to get it taken away. It was so silly to me. I am entirely under panopticism control! I have to be very serious as I go through security, stray away from certain language, and overall act in a habitual manner.

  2. I’m going to have to agree with Rosie and say airport security. It defiantly went from minor security at the airport to extreme after 9/11, which makes sense. If taking off my shoes and having to arrive at the airport two hours early to get through security to ensure my safety, I’m happy to go along with it. At international ports of entry’s, Customs and Border Protection officers seem to more thoroughly check vehicles entering the United States which again is another good thing. There are heightened security measures all around us, and I really don’t see it as a way to control society but keep it safe.

  3. I have to agree with both of the above comments in that airport security has been the biggest change. I think we are so scared of the same thing happening to us again that we have taken on extreme measures in order to feel safe.
    I may fly once or twice a year and I get so nervous passing through the security. I make sure I have my paperwork and ID ready. I just hate the whole taken off your shoes thing. I don't mind doing it but I wish they had a special line for people with children. It is very difficult traveling with small kids, taking off and putting back on their shoes while trying not to lose them can make things even more stressful especially when the person behind you is rushing you.

  4. The answer is definitely airport security. instead of feeling safe at the airport you are constantly reminded of what they are trying to protect us from. You almost have to go online before going to the airport to make sure that you aren't taking anything they won't let you take on the plane.

  5. The most difficult change since homeland security has been the passport requirement. It has been a hassle and a waste of money for individuals who cross over to Mexico regularly. Understandable that because of 9/11 we have to have extreme caution about terrorist attacks, but the fact that I feel pinpointed for the safety of the country is ridiculous.
    I do feel like if we now have to behave in a more proper manner because everyone is watching. You make a joke of something that deals with national security and its still a touchy subject. So yes, you have to watch and behave very differently from before.

  6. I agree with Liz with the requirement of the passoport because everytime migration is getting stricter with their laws, and make people feel uncomfortable, annd not wanting to visit relatives somewhere else, because what if they dont let you come in again. Because of all the laws we have to behave differently. Also, i think is very uncomfortable having to see our boder with a gate all over, because it seems that we are different from the rest of the world.