[-empyre-] Not-watching the detectives

Simon Biggs s.biggs at eca.ac.uk
Mon Jan 31 19:33:02 EST 2011

The idea that the Panopticon need not require "round the clock" maintenance
or engagement for it to fully function is explicit in Bentham's original
proposal. Indeed, he indicated that such a system, where the simple fear of
being watched was sufficient to alter behaviour, was highly efficient and
therefore a more profitable system of social control. This was a point that
Christina raised earlier in the discussion.

In the UK we have ten's of thousands of traffic speed cameras. People have
complained about them for years. However, in recent years they have become
unprofitable for local authorities to maintain (perhaps because they work?)
and now many of them are simply dummies. A different group of people are now
complaining about these dummy cameras. As yet there are no indications that
speeding is on the increase. It will be interesting to monitor the situation
as a test of Bentham's premise. At what point does the benefit of
transgression begin to outweigh the benefit of obedience? Where is the
viable threshold of fear located?



Simon Biggs
simon at littlepig.org.uk

s.biggs at eca.ac.uk

Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201

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