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Special issue

Introduction: Literary and Critical Approaches to Panopticism

Introduction : Réception littéraire et critique du Panoptisme
Claire Wrobel

Résumés

L’introduction revient tout d’abord sur le projet historique de Jeremy Bentham afin d’en faire ressortir des traits parfois méconnus, et notamment le fait qu’il n’était pas limité au domaine carcéral, témoignant d’une souplesse dont s’est saisie la littérature. La partie suivante porte sur le chapitre que Foucault consacre au panoptisme dans Surveiller et punir afin d’en dégager les aspects qui se sont avérés influents mais aussi d’autres qui ont été négligés. La troisième partie retrace la réception du panoptisme de Foucault dans la critique littéraire, partant des études fondatrices proposées par D.A. Miller et John Bender pour arriver à la critique contemporaine. La quatrième partie traite de l’influence du panoptisme dans le champ des surveillance studies, ainsi que de l’apport de la littérature à ces questions. Enfin, la structure du numéro est présentée et un résumé de chacun des cinq articles, ainsi que de l’entretien final, est proposé.

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Texte intégral

Adapting Jeremy Bentham’s historical scheme

  • 1 Useful overviews are provided in the following: Fludernik, Monika, ‘Panopticisms: from fantasy to m (...)

1While ‘Panopticon’ is the name of Jeremy Bentham’s plan for a model prison, ‘panopticism’ refers to Michel Foucault’s polemical reading of the scheme in Discipline and Punish (1975; 1977 for the English translation). For the purposes of this issue, ‘panopticism’ is broadened to include cultural reinterpretations and appropriations of Bentham’s invention in literature and literary criticism. While the Panopticon’s omnipresence in critical discourse has been acknowledged – and criticized – in surveillance studies, there has been little systematic account of its relevance for literary studies, a gap which this issue hopes to address.1

  • 2 On Samuel Bentham in Russia and the origins of the Panopticon model, see Christie, Ian R., The Bent (...)
  • 3 Ignatieff, Michael, A Just Measure of Pain: The Penitentiary in the Industrial Revolution, 1750-185 (...)
  • 4 Semple, Janet, Bentham’s Prison: A Study of the Panopticon Penitentiary (Oxford, Oxford University (...)
  • 5 Bentham, Jeremy, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, ed. John Bowring, vol. IV, pp.37-172
  • 6 Bentham, Jeremy, Panopticon versus New South Wales and Other Writings on Australia, ed. T. Causer a (...)

2When Jeremy Bentham, in the wake of a visit to his brother Samuel in Russia,2 designed a model-prison called ‘Panopticon’, his scheme was far from being an isolated one. On the contrary, it was very much part of a reform movement reconstituted by historians such as Michael Ignatieff or Robin Evans in the 1980s.3 While the first letters he wrote in 1786 on the topic sketch out the general principles of the project, the two Postscripts added in 1791 work out the details of his plan, showing that Bentham, like other reformers, tried to address technical challenges such as how to control acoustics or how to translate in architecture the principle of classification of inmates. As Janet Semple explains, Panopticon; or, The Inspection-House was printed along with the Postscripts in 1791, but not published. In 1802, a version appeared in the third volume of the Traités de Législation Civile et Pénale edited by Etienne Dumont.4 In the 1843 edition of Bentham’s Works, edited by John Bowring, the letters and the Postscripts are followed by two letters entitled Panopticon versus New South Wales.5 The two letters were addressed to Lord Pelham and were meant to convince the then Home Secretary that the Panopticon was a superior alternative to transportation to New South Wales. These letters, along with a third one – till now unpublished – are now available along with other material in the latest volume of the Collected Works edited by the Bentham Project at UCL.6

  • 7 Semple, Janet, Bentham’s Prison, chapter 5, ‘The First Phase, 1786-1793’
  • 8 Schofield, Philip, Utility and Democracy (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2006)

3The Panopticon was not developed in the abstract. It stood in competition not only with transportation, but with English gaols and the hulks (i.e. prison-boats moored on the Thames). The reformer had very real hopes of having his prison built and spent a lot of his personal inheritance on trying to get the scheme implemented. In 1793, the plan received Pitt’s approval and was presented in Parliament as an alternative to the scandal-ridden penal colony of Botany Bay.7 Ironically, after the project was abandoned, the spot in Battersea where the Panopticon was supposed to be built was used to erect the Millbank penitentiary, which was famous for its labyrinthine network of corridors and which was anything but a Panopticon. The frustration caused by the reformer’s protracted, fruitless campaign played a pivotal role in making him embrace the cause of parliamentary reform, leading him to develop the notion of ‘sinister interest’ and realize that legal reform would only be possible after reforming political institutions.8

4Although the prison is the most famous application of the Panopticon, it was not the only one. Already in the letters, Bentham marvelled at the number of institutions to which his principle of architecture could be applied:

  • 9 Bentham, Jeremy, Works, vol. IV, p.40, original emphasis

it will be found applicable, I think, without exception, to all establishments whatsoever, in which, within a space not too large to be covered or commanded by buildings, a number of persons are meant to be kept under inspection. No matter how different or even opposite the purpose: whether it be that of punishing the incorrigible, guarding the insane, reforming the vicious, confining the suspected, employing the idle, maintaining the helpless, curing the sick, instructing the willing in any branch of industry, or training the rising race in the path of education.9

  • 10 Brunon-Ernst, Anne, Beyond Foucault: New Perspectives on Bentham’s Panopticon (Aldershot, Ashgate, (...)

5The fame of the carceral application has obscured the fact that Bentham developed variations for workhouses (the ‘pauper-Panopticon,’ in 1797-8), schools (the ‘chrestomathic-Panopticon’ in 1816-7) and political institutions (the ‘constitutional-Panopticon,’ in the 1830s).10 The works discussed in this issue show how the Panopticon has been creatively appropriated beyond the limited realm of the prison or penitentiary, with for instance a youth care unit and former asylum in Jenni Fagan’s The Panopticon (2012) or a retail store in Grady Hendrix’s Horrorstör (2014). Although these settings retain strong links to the theme of incarceration, they register the versatility of the Panopticon.

Complexifying Foucault’s Panopticism

  • 11 Grieve, Ann, ‘Du bon usage du picaresque et du panoptique: Nights at the Circus, d’Angela Carter’, (...)

6The reason why the Panopticon stands out in penal history and in the legacy of the Enlightenment–and the reason why it was brought to the attention of authors and literary critics alike – lies in its popularization by Michel Foucault in Surveiller et punir (1975), in which the French philosopher tied Bentham to the rise of the penitentiary. It is surely no coincidence that shortly after the publication of the English translation of Foucault’s work, under the title Discipline and Punish in 1977, explicit reference to the Panopticon and its inventor was made in Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus (1984) and Patrick McGrath’s ‘Vigilance’ (1989). Carter, whose version of the Panopticon is an all-women penitentiary located in nineteenth-century Siberia, makes direct textual borrowings from Foucault’s text.11 Both the historical scheme – Bentham’s Panopticon – and Foucault’s reading of it – panopticism – have been sources of literary inspiration. Tracing and distinguishing between the two sources may be difficult – but not impossible, as Leblond’s contribution shows.

7Some of the features of the Panopticon which Foucault brought to the fore in Discipline and Punish proved highly influential for appropriations of the Panopticon both in literary works and in literary criticism. The Panopticon is first introduced in Discipline and Punish as a piece of architecture, in which the central tower is presented as the site of power:

  • 12 Foucault, Michel, Discipline and Punish, The Birth of the Prison, trans. A. Sheridan (New York, Vin (...)

Bentham’s Panopticon is the architectural figure of this composition. We know the principle on which it was based: at the periphery, an annular building; at the centre, a tower; this tower is pierced with wide windows that open onto the inner side of the ring; the peripheric building is divided into cells, each of which extends the whole width of the building; they have two windows, one on the inside, corresponding to the windows of the tower; the other, on the outside, allows the light to cross the cell from one end to the other.12

  • 13 Bentham, Jeremy, Postscript I, Works, vol. IV, p.67
  • 14 Brunon-Ernst, A., Beyond the Panopticon, pp.40-41

8Even though in later versions of the plan the building was supposed to be a polygon,13 it is the circular shape that is most likely to be associated with the reformer’s model-prison, and the watchtower remains a striking symbol. As a piece of architecture, the Panopticon can provide a setting for literary fiction, as in Jenni Fagan’s The Panopticon. Foucault’s panopticism also influences how architectural features in literature are approached, as evidenced by Saint-Loubert’s reading of the turret in the colonial house in Witchbroom. This does not however mean that there cannot be panopticism without architecture. Bentham himself believed the Panopticon to be transitory and that it would no longer be necessary once its functions had been performed and appropriate utilitarian behaviour became generalized.14 As for Foucault, he sees in the Panopticon a diagram of disciplinary power meant to spread to the whole society. Although the architecture provides a striking, memorable image that makes tangible or graspable complex social phenomena, the latter are not bound by its walls.

  • 15 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, p.200
  • 16 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, p.200
  • 17 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, pp.201-202
  • 18 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, p.201
  • 19 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, p.203

9The description of the functioning of the Panopticon in Discipline and Punish is based on a dichotomy between darkness and light, opacity and transparency, in which the latter is associated with control: ‘Full lighting and the eye of a supervisor capture better than darkness, which ultimately protected. Visibility is a trap’.15 This last phrase, which resurfaces in Quaireau’s and Leblond’s articles, gives visuality sinister connotations. In Foucault’s presentation, the inmates are isolated and blinded, since the act of seeing is not reciprocal: ‘[The individual] is seen, but he does not see; he is the object of information, never a subject in communication’.16 Seeing is the prerogative of the inspector, and thus on the side of power and control: ‘The Panopticon is a machine for dissociating the see/being seen dyad: in the peripheric ring, one is totally seen, without ever seeing; in the central tower, one sees everything without ever being seen’.17 As Leblond explains, Jenni Fagan’s The Panopticon invalidates this conception of visuality. While, in Foucault’s presentation of the Panopticon, ‘[t]he crowd, a compact mass, a locus of multiple exchanges, individualities merging together, a collective effect, is abolished and replaced by a collection of separated individualities,’18 the occupants of Fagan’s Panopticon manage to create a sense of the collective by creating a new visual economy. Foucault also compared the Panopticon to a ‘laboratory’ which ‘could be used as a machine to carry out experiments, to alter behaviour, to train or correct individuals,’19 an idea which is appropriated and subverted in Fagan’s novel, but also in Grady Hendrix’s.

  • 20 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, p.202
  • 21 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, p.203
  • 22 Cohn, Dorrit, ‘Optics and Power in the Novel’, New Literary History, 26 (1995), pp.3-20; p.9
  • 23 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, p.200

10Whereas the ultimate goal of the Panopticon for Bentham was the reforming and emancipation of its occupants, in Discipline and Punish it appears as an oppressive structure. In Foucault’s version, ‘[a] real subjection is born mechanically from a fictitious relation,’20 which is all the more disturbing as this subjection is inescapable: ‘[I]t is a perpetual victory that avoids any physical confrontation and which is always decided in advance’.21 However, as Dorrit Cohn notes, in remarks echoed by Leblond,22 Foucault himself pointed out that in order to be disciplined, an individual has to be free, and that power cannot be conceived without resistance. The scenario of entrapment and escape comes up repeatedly in literary variations on the Panopticon. Between these two extremes, the theatrical image which appears in Discipline and Punish, where the cells are compared to ‘so many theatres’ and the inmates to ‘actor[s]’, 23 opens up the possibility of performance and negotiation, which is fully explored in Quaireau’s article.

  • 24 Semple, Janet, ‘Foucault and Bentham: A Defence of Panopticism’, Utilitas, 4 :1 (1992), pp.105-120
  • 25 This is particularly apparent in the figure which displays a scale comparison between Jeremy Bentha (...)
  • 26 See Wrobel, Claire, Roman noir, réforme et surveillance en Angleterre (1764-1842); Gothique et pano (...)
  • 27 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, p.201

11Bentham scholars have done a lot to correct the image of the Panopticon as an emblem of disciplinary power and forerunner of twentieth-century totalitarianism.24 It should be borne in mind that the Panopticon was supposed to be a small structure,25 and that solitary confinement was soon dismissed by Bentham as harmful for the inmates.26 The main mechanism which readers of Discipline and Punish tend to associate with the Panopticon is the idea of the internalization of surveillance and the automatic functioning of power: the ‘major effect of the Panopticon,’ for Foucault, is ‘to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power’.27 It should be noted however that although panoptic surveillance is often reduced to the one-directional gaze coming from the watchtower and targeting inmates, it was meant to be multi-directional. The idea that the Panopticon could be opened to the public was actually foregrounded in Discipline and Punish, a dimension which is often overlooked:

  • 28 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, p.204

The Panopticon may even provide an apparatus for supervising its own mechanisms. In this central tower, the director may spy on all the employees that he has under his orders: nurses, doctors, foremen, teachers, warders; he will be able to judge them continuously, alter their behaviour, impose upon them the methods he thinks best; and it will even be possible to observe the director himself. An inspector arriving unexpectedly at the centre of the Panopticon will be able to judge at a glance, without anything being concealed from him, how the entire establishment is functioning. And, in any case, enclosed as he is in the middle of this architectural mechanism, is not the director’s own fate entirely bound up with it?28

  • 29 Semple, J., Bentham’s Prison, p.140
  • 30 See Laval, Christian, ‘Comment Michel Foucault a-t-il lu Bentham ?’, in Bentham et la France; Fortu (...)
  • 31 See Brunon-Ernst, Anne, Utilitarian Biopolitics: Bentham, Foucault, and Modern Power (London, Picke (...)

12As Janet Semple has demonstrated, there are five levels of surveillance inside Bentham’s project: the prisoners are watched by the authorities; the governor watches the wards; the wards watch the governor; the inmates watch each other; and the whole structure is open to the public.29 Returning to Bentham’s writings on the Panopticon thus makes it possible to foreground certain of its lesser-known aspects. Similarly, while Foucault has been taken to task for the partial reading he offered of Bentham’s scheme, his chapter on panopticism must be understood within the book’s overall strategy,30 and it has been established that Foucault’s knowledge and understanding of Bentham was not limited to the letters on the Panopticon.31

  • 32 See Bartky, Sandra Lee, ‘Foucault, femininity, and the modernization of patriarchal power’, in Femi (...)

13As feminists promptly noted, the inmate, like the inspector, in Foucault’s account, is a generic ‘he’,32 and a significant share of recent work has consisted precisely in highlighting differential experiences of surveillance, reintroducing gender, but also race and social class. Quaireau’s article highlights gender as well as social class in its discussion of panopticism as the internalization of the metropolitan gaze by women travel writers. Saint-Loubert’s article also borrows the useful concept of the ‘Medusa’s gaze’ developed by Maria Cristina Fumagalli to expose North Atlantic/Eurocentric modernity. Like the gendered gaze, the colonial gaze deserves further scrutiny, and literature offers a valuable resource to avoid simplistic understandings of its mechanisms. Quaireau’s article shows how one individual may occupy several positions simultaneously, as women travellers in the nineteenth century had internalized the home country’s gaze while themselves casting a colonial gaze on the travellees. As for Saint-Loubert’s contribution, it highlights the specificity of the position of white creole women in a (post-)colonial environment.

14The articles published in this issue and the works they discuss contribute to a complexifying of panopticism. Labrune’s article shows how Fielding’s seemingly omniscient narrator manages both transparency and opacity; Quaireau’s article studies the effects of the internalization of the gaze on female travel writers, bringing gender but also social class to the fore; Saint-Loubert explains how the protagonist of Witchbroom is both inside and outside the central turret; Leblond’s contribution discusses how the occupants of the eponymous building in Jenni Fagan’s The Panopticon manage to mend the ‘see/being seen dyad’; Marks shows how Dave Eggers’ The Circle stages the multi-directional gaze of surveillance in today’s digital society. Taken together, the contributions challenge dichotomies which oppose light and darkness, transparency and opacity, inside and outside, male and female, inspector and inmates, showing how one is not limited to occupying one position only inside the fictional Panopticon. They highlight how spaces for negotiation are carved out, both on the stage of fiction and in the writing itself. The works discussed challenge understandings of the Panopticon and panopticism as monolithic, oppressive structures of control which cannot be defeated. Outgazing, looking back, speaking back are practices which are both thematized and encouraged, even by novels which do not end on the defeat of the panoptic system as is the case in The Circle.

Reception in literary criticism

  • 33 Fludernik, M., ‘Panopticisms’, p.5
  • 34 Miller, D.A., ‘The Novel and the Police’, Glyph, 8 (1981), pp.117-147 ; Miller, D.A., The Novel and (...)
  • 35 Seltzer, Mark, Henry James and the Art of Power (Ithaca, Cornell Univresity Press, 1984), p.54; quo (...)

15In addition to making English-speaking authors aware of Bentham’s Panopticon, the publication of the English translation of Surveiller et punir also brought it to the attention of literary critics, among whom it became a ‘master trope.’33 In the same decade which witnessed the publication of Nights at the Circus and ‘Vigilance’, several landmark works of literary criticism appeared which drew on Foucault’s theses – Mark Seltzer’s Henry James and the Art of Power (1984), John Bender’s Imagining the Penitentiary (1987), and D.A. Miller’s The Novel and the Police (1988), part of which had appeared in a 1981 article.34 The corpus studied was mainly eighteenth and nineteenth– century fiction which thematized incarceration, social control and discipline. Panopticism was transposed to the realm of narratology, equated with narratorial omniscience as illustrated by third-person narration but also free indirect discourse. Seltzer for instance denounced omniscient narration’s ‘fantasy of […] absolute panopticism.’35

  • 36 Miller, D.A., The Novel and the Police, p.19
  • 37 Miller, D.A., The Novel and the Police, p.23
  • 38 Bender, J., Imagining the Penitentiary, p.5
  • 39 Bender, J., Imagining the Penitentiary, p.203

16D.A. Miller’s The Novel and the Police (1988) discusses the narrative techniques used by Victorian novelists, noting that the hegemony of the novel was achieved in the context of the age of discipline, and that it ‘frequently places its protagonists under […] social surveillance.’36 Thus, disciplinary techniques are not just thematised in the setting and in terms of plot. They are woven into the narrative act. Omniscient narration was equated with ‘assum[ing] a fully panoptic view of the world it placed under surveillance.’37 In Imagining the Penitentiary (1987) John Bender suggests ‘the novel enabled the penitentiary by formulating, and thereby giving conscious access to, a real texture of attitudes, a structure of feeling, that [he calls] the ‘penitentiary idea.’38 As in fiction the interiority of characters is rendered transparent through free indirect discourse, so in penal theory and practice ‘the penitentiary stages impersonal, third-person presence […] so as to represent actual character and conscience as fictions capable of alteration.’39

  • 40 Cohn, D., ‘Optics and Power in the Novel’, p.8
  • 41 Cohn, D., ‘Optics and Power in the Novel’, p.3
  • 42 Cohn, D., ‘Optics and Power in the Novel’, p.9
  • 43 Cohn, D., ‘Optics and Power in the Novel’, p.13; original emphasis. For a more detailed presentatio (...)

17Such interpretations were attacked by Dorrit Cohn in an article entitled ‘Optics and Power in the Novel,’ (1995) later integrated in The Distinction of Fiction (1999). Cohn pointed out that terms like ‘transparency’, ‘character’, ‘technical practices’ and ‘fiction’ have different meanings in ‘literary-critical discourse’ and in their application to ‘physical, social or psychological reality.’40 She refused the ‘panoptic conceit’ which ‘is powerfully charged with negative meaning and invariably contextualized in ideological interpretations that cast a peculiarly hostile light on the novel genre and/or its practitioners.’41 One of Cohn’s main criticisms lies in the idea that authors and characters exist on different ontological levels, and that ‘[fictional characters] are not free subjects who can potentially escape their graphic prisons and make fictional subjects of – or even talk back to – their author or narrator.’42 Another problem is that the guardian inside the Panopticon ‘can only perceive his subjects’ manifest behavior, which he can punish or reward’, but not their minds.43

  • 44 See the references given in Fludernik, M., ‘Panopticisms’, n7 pp.21-22; Fludernik, M., ‘Surveillanc (...)

18Since this seminal debate, and despite Cohn’s objections, panopticism has kept on being used metaphorically in literary criticism.44 As Wasihun sums up,

  • 45 Wasihun Betiel, ‘Introduction: Narrating Surveillance’, in Narrating Surveillance -Überwachen erzäh (...)

[t]he observation techniques employed in both film and literary fiction are akin to the functioning of surveillance, in that the narrator informs the audience how characters act or behave, or in the case of omniscience, how they think. Authorial or omniscient narration has been compared with Bentham’s notion of the panopticon because of the similar functions of a centralized narrator and the figure of the watchman one whose all-encompassing vision exerts control.45

19Yet this parallel always calls for an explanation. Bender’s and Cohn’s approaches to panopticism are revisited in Labrune’s and Leblond’s articles. The first severs the association made between Fielding and transparency by showing how the author introduces opacity in the narrative. Leblond suggests that making the thoughts of the protagonist of The Panopticon ‘visible’ through first-person narration may not so much be a means to put her under surveillance as to foster empathy in readers. Quaireau’s contribution is based on an understanding of panopticism as an internalization of expectations by authors, a sort of gaze which shapes the writing through anticipation of reception, rather than as authorial figures putting characters under surveillance. Marks contends that literature may convey the experience of surveillance from multiple viewpoints, offering a complex picture that may activate readers. While Miller and Bender tended to foreground literature’s complicity with emerging disciplines, the recent fiction studied in the articles often thematizes a combination of incarceration and surveillance, as well as resistance to both, on the level of the plot.

Taking the long view on surveillance

  • 46 For an overview of the field, see Castagnino, Florent (2018), ‘Critique des surveillance studies. E (...)
  • 47 Elmer, Greg, ‘Panopticon – discipline – control’, in The Routledge Handbook of Surveillance Studies(...)
  • 48 Rosen, David and Aaron Santesso, The Watchman in Pieces: Surveillance, Literature, and Liberal Pers (...)
  • 49 Rosen, D. and A. Santesso, The Watchman in Pieces, p.7

20In addition to literature and literary criticism, a significant area of reception of Bentham’s Panopticon and Foucault’s panopticism is the field of surveillance studies,46 where the former ‘continues to serve as a key theoretical frame’ and the latter is ‘still the preeminent theoretical figure.’47 As Rosen and Santesso note at the beginning of The Watchman in Pieces, ‘[n]early all contemporary philosophical discussions of surveillance lead back, one way or another, to Jeremy Bentham’48 and ‘Foucault’s major revision of Bentham […] was to expand his model – and his psychology – to fit the entire body politic: a surveillance society.’49

  • 50 Vareschi, M., ‘Surveillance Studies and Literature of the Long 18th Century’, p.1
  • 51 Lyon, David, ‘Surveillance Studies: understanding visibility, mobility and the phenetic fix’, Surve (...)
  • 52 Lyon, David, The Electronic Eye: The Rise of Surveillance Society, (Cambridge, Polity, 1994), p.78
  • 53 Banita, Georgiana, Plotting Justice. Narrative Ethics & Literary Culture after 9/11, (Lincoln and L (...)

21Surveillance studies is a field that ‘cohered in the mid-2000s following the 9/11 attacks,’ as evidenced by the creation of the Surveillance & Society journal in 2002.50 The key disciplines of this ‘cross-disciplinary enterprise’ are sociology, political science and geography, as well as computing and information science, law, social psychology and anthropology. From the inception of the field, David Lyon noted that history and philosophy ‘contribute in important ways.’51 He also identified literature as a resource and called for a diversification of tropes, noting that while George Orwell’s Big Brother was omnipresent, ‘[p]owerful metaphors [lay] relatively unexamined in various films as well as novels such as Franz Kafka’s The Castle or Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.’52 The post-9/11 period was also marked by fiction which tackled surveillance in an increasingly explicit manner, as evidenced by Jonathan Raban’s novel Surveillance (2006). Georgiana Banita devotes the last chapter of Plotting Justice (2012) to studying the ethics of surveillance in contemporary American literature. She notes that disciplinary aesthetics is a ‘recurrent trope in fiction,’ but argues that 9/11 was a turning point, after which surveillance has been exercised through ‘the eyeless sight and industrialized supervision of more discreet tracking devices.’ The novels she studies reflect the ‘panoptic obsession triggered by the terrorist attacks’ and stage new surveillance practices such as ‘panoptic data mining,’ while on a metafictional level they display a ‘panoptic impulse.’53

  • 54 Monahan, Torin, ‘Surveillance as Cultural Practice’, The Sociological Quarterly, 52 (2011), pp.495- (...)
  • 55 Monahan, T., ‘Surveillance as Cultural Practice’, p.496
  • 56 Monahan, T., ‘Surveillance as Cultural Practice’, p.499

22Reassessing panopticism in a literary context may contribute to the development of ‘cultural studies of surveillance,’ an approach which views surveillance as ‘embedded within, brought about by, and generative of social practices in specific cultural contexts.’54 Although one chapter in his latest book–The Culture of Surveillance: Watching as a Way of Life (2018) – is devoted to Eggers’ The Circle, the meaning given to culture by David Lyons is mostly anthropological. Torin Monahan, however, takes a bolder step when he defines ‘cultural studies of surveillance’ as ‘more likely to include elements of popular culture, media, art, and narrative.’55 He goes on to make the point that ‘[j]ust like all technologies […] surveillance systems attain presence as negotiated components of culture and accrete meaning by tapping a culture’s immense symbolic reservoirs, which can include narrative, media, and art, among other things.’56

  • 57 Marks, Peter, Imagining Surveillance: Eutopian and Dystopian Literature and Film (Edinburgh: Edinbu (...)
  • 58 Castagnino, F., ‘Critiques des ‘surveillance studies’’, p.13; my translation
  • 59 Browne, Simone, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness (Durham and London, Duke University (...)

23The new angle defined by Monahan entails a shift in perspective, adopting a contextualized perspective from below, where surveillance is experienced, rather than starting from the institutional level from which surveillance is exercised. Literature constitutes a privileged resource to explore surveillance – whether panoptic or other–as an ambiguous policy or attitude ranging from care to control and as a multidirectional phenomenon. It offers ‘vicarious experiences of surveillance,’57 and, by focusing also on appropriation, counter-surveillance, sousveillance or resistance, corrects the ‘negative ontology,’ which consists in over-rationalizing power and its exercise.58 Agency – from participation to outright opposition–is thus reintroduced. Saint-Loubert’s article draws on Simone Browne’s concept of ‘dark sousveillance,’ itself derived from Steve Mann’s definition of sousveillance ‘as a way of naming an active inversion of the power relations that surveillance entails,’59 and shows how it is practiced by several marginalized figures in Witchbroom.

  • 60 Vareschi, M., ‘Surveillance Studies and Literature ofo the long 18th century’, p.1; Hier, Sean and (...)

24The ‘symbolic reservoirs’ highlighted by Monahan may include not only the ever-growing number of works of contemporary fiction that focus explicitly on surveillance, but also earlier fiction which predates the inception of surveillance studies as an academic field. Indeed, despite ‘an explosion of scholarly and popular writing on surveillance,’ there is a dearth of research on ‘the pre-9/11 forms of surveillance that made post-9/11 surveillance possible.’60

  • 61 Bentham, J., Works, vol. X, p.21
  • 62 Rosen, D. and A. Santesso, The Watchman in Pieces, p.63, original emphasis
  • 63 Rosen, D. and A. Santesso, The Watchman in Pieces, p.88, original emphasis
  • 64 Rosen, D. and A. Santesso, The Watchman in Pieces, p.101
  • 65 Rosen, D. and A. Santesso, The Watchman in Pieces, p.103
  • 66 See Wrobel, C., Roman noir, réforme et surveillance; Thompson, Lucy E., Gender, Surveillance and Li (...)
  • 67 See Blake, Kathleen, Pleasures of Benthamism: Victorian Literature, Utility, Political Economy (Oxf (...)

25The long view on surveillance is taken for instance by David Rosen and Aaron Santesso in The Watchman in Pieces. In their broad survey, they revisit panopticism by locating Bentham in the literary context of his time, and in particular the sentimental novel, exemplified by Samuel Richardson’s Pamela (1740) and Clarissa (1747), over which the reformer admittedly wept for hours.61 For them, the problem of the age was that of authenticity, and its ‘treacherous relation to personality.’62 In the face of the inaccessibility of others, two classes of approach were developed, namely empathy and coercion: ‘do you watch other people in order to understand them better, or do you watch them in the hope that, by watching them, you will successfully influence their behavior?’63 In their reading, Bentham is an ‘heir to the sentimental tradition and its complex ideas about performance.’64 They question the centrality of the mechanism of internalization in Bentham’s scheme, showing, like Dorrit Cohn, that panoptic surveillance was confined to overt acts: ‘like Richardson, [Bentham] drew a sharp distinction between ‘overt acts,’ the performance that is part of everyday social behavior, and the truth of inner life, whose only possible spectator is God’.65 Their reading of the Panopticon alongside eighteenth-century sentimental novels participates in current efforts to locate the Panopticon, and Bentham’s thought more generally, in its immediate literary context,66 as well as a growing interest in the aesthetic dimensions of Utilitarianism.67

  • 68 Deleuze, Gilles, ‘Postscript on the Societies of Control’, October, 59, (1992), pp.3-7
  • 69 Poster, Mark, The Mode of Information (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990); Haggerty, K.D. (...)
  • 70 See Lewis, Randolph, Under Surveillance: Being Watched in Modern American (Texas University Press, (...)
  • 71 Murakami Wood, David, ‘Beyond the Panopticon: Foucault and Surveillance Studies,’ in Space, Knowled (...)

26Whether an eighteenth-century scheme like the Panopticon can shed light on contemporary forms of surveillance is debatable, especially if, as Deleuze suggests, there has been a shift from disciplinary societies to societies of control.68 The discussion of the limits of the Panopticon as a model for digital surveillance societies has generated alternative models, such as Poster’s ‘Superpanopticon’, Haggerty and Ericson’s ‘surveillant assemblage’ or–after Baudrillard–‘simulation’.69 Changing attitudes towards, and participation in, surveillance have also led to the idea of the ‘Funopticon’.70 A leading surveillance scholar suggests that the ‘Panopticon remains a useful figure, however every new technology is not the Panopticon recreated, nor does the Panopticon describe every situation’.71 The studies published in this issue of the Revue d’études benthamiennes do not seek to reinforce or restore the hegemony of the Panopticon in discussions on surveillance, whether literary or not, but to stress the cultural work the paradigm can still do. Given its cultural persistence, the historical scheme deserves to be studied in its nuances, which, as noted above, imply its comprehension in the context of eighteenth-century literature.

  • 72 See Wrobel, Claire, ‘A Gothic Dystopia at the Antipodes: Australia in Bentham’s Letters to Lord Pel (...)
  • 73 Nicolazzo, Sal, Vagrant Figures: Law, Literature, and the Origins of the Police (New Haven, Yale Un (...)

27This issue intends both to acknowledge and move beyond the pathbreaking work of Miller and Bender. It aims to open up panopticism by foregrounding gender, race and social class. It hopes to show how literature has explored the versatility of the Panopticon beyond its carceral application and how Panopticon-inspired fiction can yield complex understandings of surveillance. By including discussions of (post)colonial literature, it also hopes to contribute to ongoing efforts to understand the Panopticon within the context of empire72 and to trace the articulation of what is often perceived as typically English issues of policing with transatlantic problematics.73

Structure of the issue and summary of articles

28The articles are arranged according to the appearance order of the works they discuss, starting with Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones (1749), moving on to nineteenth-century travel writing by British women – Anna Jameson’s Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada (1838), Isabella Bird’s A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains (1879) and Mary Kingsley’s Travels in West Africa (1897) –, then to Trinidadian writer Lawrence Scott’s first novel Witchbroom (1992), and Scottish author Jenni Fagan’s The Panopticon (2012). The last contribution analyses the novel by the American author and journalist Dave Eggers, The Circle (2013) alongside Shoshana Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance Capitalism (2019). The interview with Grady Hendrix centres on his book Horrorstör, published in 2014.

29The structure also moves from the metaphorical to the literal, as references to the Panopticon leave the work of critics to feature in the fiction itself. Foucault’s shadow looms large over the interpretations made of the texts discussed in the first articles: the influence of Discipline and Punish can easily be traced in John Bender’s Imagining the Penitentiary (1987) as well as in Sara Mills’ Discourses of Difference (1991) which provide the starting points for, respectively, Labrune and Quaireau. Panopticism is thus read or reconstructed in the fiction and travel writing by critics who project a Foucault-influenced interpretation. With Witchbroom, the text foregrounds one of the key architectural characteristics likely to be associated with Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon, i.e. the central watchtower. Fagan’s The Panopticon derives its title from the eponymous building, which almost becomes a character of its own. The very title of Dave Eggers’ The Circle brings to mind the Panopticon. Grady Hendrix clearly labels the nineteenth-century penitentiary which features in his novel Horrorstör as a Panopticon.

30Labrune’s article initiates a direct dialogue with John Bender’s Imagining the Penitentiary, which leads him to revisit the tropes of light and darkness, transparency and opacity. Imagining the Penitentiary devoted two chapters to Henry Fielding, as both justice of the peace and novelist. Due to his use of seemingly omniscient narrators, he is presented by Bender as the epitome of the penitentiary novelist, bent on asserting control over narrative devices and processes. However, by introducing other works in the discussion, such as Tom Jones, as well as looking at prefaces and essays, Labrune shows that Fielding did not really try to control readerly perception and that his ironical perspectives and avowals of fictionality tend to generate ambiguity, undecidability, even opacity. The article also focuses on the religious aspects of Fielding’s novels, which are missing in Bender’s landmark study. Labrune thus shows how Shamela and Joseph Andrews expose the hypocrisy of Methodism that Fielding saw at work in Richardson’s Pamela, and how, while the latter is a novel of salvation, Tom Jones is properly read as a novel of reformation. To Fielding, the authorial figure was probably nothing more than a character, another fictitious creation that cannot be held accountable. This analysis leads Labrune to conclude that ‘Fielding writes penitentiary novels not only because he writes about reformed sinners and is careful of his plots, but because that narrative architecture allows him to organise his own disappearance,’ and that if a parallel is to be drawn with the Panopticon, it is probably because ‘it is always impossible to decide whether or not the author in their centre watches carefully over the reception of his endeavours’.

31While Labrune’s article revisits the dichotomy between transparency and opacity, that of Quaireau centres on another legacy of Foucault’s panopticism highlighted above: the internalization of the gaze, which leads to self-surveillance. Her contention is that travel writing relied on a categorizing gaze. Panopticism, alongside concepts of discourse and discipline, has had significant influence on travel writing studies, where it has been understood both as an illustration and an instrument of panopticism. The article shows that women’s narratives contributed to enforcing discipline, while instantiating it, because the travellers were aware of the metropole readership to whom they addressed their narratives. Not only did they enact their femininity through clothing and behaviour–and the article highlights the centrality of women’s bodies in that respect – but they also enacted it in their narratives, in which there is evidence of surveillance and performance of the self. As in Labrune’s article, the question of authorial control and readers’ reception is apparent, especially in paratexts. Because they had internalized the gaze, women travellers adapted their narratives to correspond to the expectations of their British readership, even when they were thousands of miles away. Indeed, Quaireau is careful to stress that not all those women authors were protofeminists, and that they reproduced domestic spaces in their travels and in their narratives. But the article also shows the performance of gender and social class offered opportunities for self-fashioning, as in the case of Kingsley, who presented herself as ‘the lady she never was at home’. In this case, visibility was a trap but also an opportunity, showing how panopticism invites us to reconsider the binary opposition between home and away, and private and public.

32Questions of reception (authorial control and reader manipulation) and of gender/genre-crossing also appear in Saint-Loubert’s article, entitled ‘The turret room as a Caribbean heterotopia in Lawrence Scott’s Witchbroom (1992): on optics, deviation and reader manipulation’. In his first novel, Trinidadian writer Lawrence Scott presents a family saga through the eyes of the family’s last surviving member, Lavren, a hermaphrodite trickster-narrator. The place from which s/he tells his/her ‘Carnival Tales’ is the houses of Kairi (the indigenous name of Trinidad), in which the turret room features prominently. Saint-Loubert argues that it functions as a synecdoche of the colonial house and the colonial project. Drawing on Foucault’s concept of ‘heterotopia,’ she explains how the turret, a complex and paradoxical site, functions as a ‘heterotopia of deviation’. In the novel, the central watchtower is not only a vantage-point from which the whole space of the plantation can be observed, thereby embodying colonial surveillance, but also a place from which time is surveyed. As in the travel writings discussed by Quaireau, panopticism opens up a space of negotiation, a site which materializes the colonial patriarchal model through gendered confinement, but which also proves to be a limited site of female empowerment and rehabilitation. Saint-Loubert shows how the white creole women, who have internalized and reproduce the male gaze, partake in ‘complicit colonial scopophilia.’ In this context, the turret may well become an ‘ivory tower’ where the white creole women of the family live both in seclusion and denial. However, the ‘Medusa’s gaze’ central to postcolonial literature is not just a petrifying one. Drawing on Edouard Glissant’s discussion of opacity, and on Simone Browne’s concept of ‘dark sousveillance’, Saint-Loubert draws our attention to the oppositional practices with which those exposed to race-based surveillance practices inherited from transatlantic slavery respond to and challenge the all-encompassing white gaze.

33The figure of Lavren, outside of the turret room and ‘looking up at the house to blow it down’, finds a Scottish counterpart in Anais Hendricks, the protagonist of Jenni Fagan’s The Panopticon, who, in the final pages of the novel, leads a rebellion and blows up the central watchtower. While the colonial house is not explicitly identified as a Panopticon in Scott’s Witchbroom, Fagan chose to expressly locate her first novel within the context of Jeremy Bentham’s legacy. In this case, the Panopticon is a youth care unit to which the protagonist is being taken as investigation is conducted on an accusation of battery on a police officer, a case in which she is the primary suspect. As Diane Leblond notes in the fourth contribution to this issue, entitled ‘Jenni Fagan’s The Panopticon (2012) or, when contemporary fiction grapples with disciplinary visuality,’ before the building itself appears, its name is introduced on a sign, which tells readers that they are on the level of discourse. Fagan both plays with Bentham’s original scheme, and with Foucault’s reading. As in the works discussed in the previous articles, negotiation is central, as the protagonist tries to escape the pre-scripted institutional narrative that would entrap her. Leblond goes back to Dorrit Cohn’s objections to the spread of panopticism in criticism, and tries to show ‘how one contemporary representation of the Panopticon helps us respond to Cohn’s indictment, and rise to the challenges she outlined for its role within fiction.’ For Leblond, the conflation of different ontological planes criticised by Cohn is precisely the type of breach which happens when ‘figures of authority assume that scientific understanding of a subject allows them to look into their innermost thoughts and see their future’. Indeed, ‘[t]he ability to look into a character’s ‘transparent mind’ or to envision their fate can characterise a fictional narrator’s relation to their creations, but not the interaction between human beings.’ In Leblond’s analysis, the novel, which is set in contemporary Britain, takes readers ‘beyond the realm of surveillance, into a visual culture that has infinitely expanded modalities of making oneself seen,’ and which is characterized by ‘constant over-exposure.’ However, Leblond contends that the skewed experience of visuality has to do ‘with a social organisation of the visual field that defines [Anais Hendricks] as a delinquent and has reduced ‘care’ to surveillance and punishment.’ By contrast, the novel also explores the possibility of ‘looking back, speaking back, evading the gaze of power’, so that visibility can be both a trap and a resource.

34While Dave Eggers’ The Circle, which was published one year later, does not explicitly mention the Panopticon, Peter Marks, in ‘Big Other Is Watching You: Shoshana Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance Capitalism and Dave Eggers’ The Circle’, underlines the many ways in which it panopticism can be traced in the novel, while also raising the question of its relevance for contemporary forms of surveillance. His starting-point is Shoshanna Zuboff’s best-selling book on The Rise of Surveillance Capitalism (2019), from which, tellingly, Bentham’s scheme is absent. After showing how Zuboff broadens the creative pool from which references are extracted so as to come to grips with surveillance – with works such as W.H. Auden’s sonnet sequence from Journey to a War (1939) and B.F. Skinner’s Walden Two (1948) – the article critically assesses Zuboff’s claims that there now exists a ‘ubiquitous digital apparatus,’ that ‘renders, monitors, computes and modifies human behaviour’ and that ‘surveillance capital leaders are sui generis utopianists’ in relation to Eggers’ novel The Circle. The article compares Zuboff and Eggers on the impact of surveillance in the contemporary world, using utopia as a central concept. Indeed, Zuboff deplores the utopian drive of surveillance capitalists, who want to create a ‘Utopia of Certainty’ using data collection and its monetization. For her, Walden Two is the anticipation of the type of ‘instrumentarian power’ that has superseded the ‘totalitarian power’ Orwell depicts in Nineteen Eighty-Four. In Marks’s analysis, creative works such as Journey to a War are important to Zuboff ‘for their explanatory power and their potential to activate critical thought and necessary action’, which is precisely what Eggers does with The Circle. The latter novel provides a vicarious experience of surveillance through the eyes of a protagonist who becomes an employee of the eponymous company, offering a fictional rendition of a world where behaviourist principles are incorporated into a surveillance capitalist utopia. As an attempt to warn and activate readers about an emerging dystopian reality, The Circle strives to achieve an aim similar to that set out by Zuboff in The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. Its ambiguous ending may thus be read as ‘a final prompt to readers to think independently, and perhaps to resist the utopianist claims of surveillance capitalism.’

35The issue ends with an interview of Grady Hendrix, whose novel Horrorstör is set in in a retail store located on the site of a nineteenth-century prison named the ‘Cuyahoga Panopticon’, after the adjacent river. The author explains how he first came across the concept, discusses his own experience in jail and elaborates on the parallel between a certain type of labour performed in a late-capitalist economy and the hard labour prisoners were subjected to in the early nineteenth century. Hendrix plays loose with Bentham’s idea and Foucault’s interpretation to offer an indictment of nineteenth-century North-American penal policies and contemporary labour in a retail environment. He locates the Panopticon within the American horror tradition, referencing key novels and their filmic adaptations, such as Stephen King’s The Shining (1977; 1980 for Stanley Kubrick’s film) and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House (1959; adapted as The Haunting in 1963 and 1999, and in Mike Flanagan’s series in 2018.) Hendrix discusses the cultural significance of motifs such as the labyrinth and the tower and explains how, in a context where surveillance is hard to grasp and visualize, the Panopticon still offers a valuable imaginative resource for the artist and a heuristic resource for the surveilled subject.

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Notes

1 Useful overviews are provided in the following: Fludernik, Monika, ‘Panopticisms: from fantasy to metaphor to reality’, Textual Practice, 31:1 (2017), pp.1-26; Vareschi, Marc, ‘Surveillance Studies and Literature of the Long 18th Century’, Literature Compass, 14:12 (2017), pp.1-7; Fludernik, Monika, ‘Surveillance in Narrative: Post-Foucauldian Interventions’, in Narrating Surveillance -Überwachen erzählen, ed. Betiel Wasihun (Baden Baden, Ergon Verlag, 2019) pp.43-73

2 On Samuel Bentham in Russia and the origins of the Panopticon model, see Christie, Ian R., The Benthams in Russia, 1780-1791 (Oxford, Providence/Berg, 1993); Christie, Nils, Crime Industry: Towards Gulags, Western Style [1993] (London, Routledge, 2000, 3rd ed.); Stanziani, Alessandro, ‘The traveling Panopticon: Labor Institutions and Labor Practices in Russia and in Britain in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 51:4 (2009), pp.715-741; Werrett, Simon, ‘Potemkin and the Panopticon: Samuel Bentham and the Architecture of Absolutism in Eighteenth-Century Russia’, Journal of Bentham Studies, 2 (1999), pp.1-25

3 Ignatieff, Michael, A Just Measure of Pain: The Penitentiary in the Industrial Revolution, 1750-1850 (London, Macmillan, 1978); Evans, Robin, The Fabrication of Virtue: English Prison Architecture, 1750-1840 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1982)

4 Semple, Janet, Bentham’s Prison: A Study of the Panopticon Penitentiary (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1993)

5 Bentham, Jeremy, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, ed. John Bowring, vol. IV, pp.37-172

6 Bentham, Jeremy, Panopticon versus New South Wales and Other Writings on Australia, ed. T. Causer and P. Schofield (London, UCL Press, 2022)

7 Semple, Janet, Bentham’s Prison, chapter 5, ‘The First Phase, 1786-1793’

8 Schofield, Philip, Utility and Democracy (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2006)

9 Bentham, Jeremy, Works, vol. IV, p.40, original emphasis

10 Brunon-Ernst, Anne, Beyond Foucault: New Perspectives on Bentham’s Panopticon (Aldershot, Ashgate, 2012), pp.19-21

11 Grieve, Ann, ‘Du bon usage du picaresque et du panoptique: Nights at the Circus, d’Angela Carter’, Cahiers Charles V, 18 (May 1995), pp.79-92; pp.89-90

12 Foucault, Michel, Discipline and Punish, The Birth of the Prison, trans. A. Sheridan (New York, Vintage, 1995, 2nd ed.), p.200

13 Bentham, Jeremy, Postscript I, Works, vol. IV, p.67

14 Brunon-Ernst, A., Beyond the Panopticon, pp.40-41

15 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, p.200

16 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, p.200

17 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, pp.201-202

18 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, p.201

19 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, p.203

20 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, p.202

21 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, p.203

22 Cohn, Dorrit, ‘Optics and Power in the Novel’, New Literary History, 26 (1995), pp.3-20; p.9

23 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, p.200

24 Semple, Janet, ‘Foucault and Bentham: A Defence of Panopticism’, Utilitas, 4 :1 (1992), pp.105-120

25 This is particularly apparent in the figure which displays a scale comparison between Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon and Millbank Prison in Cottell, Fran and Marianne Mueller, ‘From Pain to Pleasure: Panopticon Dreams and Pentagon Petal’, in Bentham and the Arts, eds. A. Julius, M. Quinn and P. Schofield, pp.244-269; p.261

26 See Wrobel, Claire, Roman noir, réforme et surveillance en Angleterre (1764-1842); Gothique et panoptique (Paris, Classiques Garnier, 2022), pp.241-243

27 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, p.201

28 Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish, p.204

29 Semple, J., Bentham’s Prison, p.140

30 See Laval, Christian, ‘Comment Michel Foucault a-t-il lu Bentham ?’, in Bentham et la France; Fortunes et infortunes de l’utilitarisme, ed. E. de Champs and J.-P. Cléro (Oxford, Voltaire Foundation, 2009), pp.275-286

31 See Brunon-Ernst, Anne, Utilitarian Biopolitics: Bentham, Foucault, and Modern Power (London, Pickering & Chatto, 2012)

32 See Bartky, Sandra Lee, ‘Foucault, femininity, and the modernization of patriarchal power’, in Feminism and Foucault, eds. I. Diamond and L. Quinby (Boston, Northeastern University Press, 1988), pp.61-86

33 Fludernik, M., ‘Panopticisms’, p.5

34 Miller, D.A., ‘The Novel and the Police’, Glyph, 8 (1981), pp.117-147 ; Miller, D.A., The Novel and the Police (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1988)

35 Seltzer, Mark, Henry James and the Art of Power (Ithaca, Cornell Univresity Press, 1984), p.54; quoted in Cohn, D., ‘Optics and Power in the Novel’, p.7

36 Miller, D.A., The Novel and the Police, p.19

37 Miller, D.A., The Novel and the Police, p.23

38 Bender, J., Imagining the Penitentiary, p.5

39 Bender, J., Imagining the Penitentiary, p.203

40 Cohn, D., ‘Optics and Power in the Novel’, p.8

41 Cohn, D., ‘Optics and Power in the Novel’, p.3

42 Cohn, D., ‘Optics and Power in the Novel’, p.9

43 Cohn, D., ‘Optics and Power in the Novel’, p.13; original emphasis. For a more detailed presentation of the debate, see Fludernik, M., ‘Panopticisms’, pp.7-12

44 See the references given in Fludernik, M., ‘Panopticisms’, n7 pp.21-22; Fludernik, M., ‘Surveillance in Narrative’, p.49; see also the discussion of Georgiana Banita’s Plotting Justice (2012) below.

45 Wasihun Betiel, ‘Introduction: Narrating Surveillance’, in Narrating Surveillance -Überwachen erzählen (Baden Baden, Ergon Verlag, 2019), pp.7-20; p.10

46 For an overview of the field, see Castagnino, Florent (2018), ‘Critique des surveillance studies. Eléments pour une sociologie de la surveillance’, Déviance et société 42 :1 (2018), pp.9-40

47 Elmer, Greg, ‘Panopticon – discipline – control’, in The Routledge Handbook of Surveillance Studies, eds. K. Ball et al. (Routledge, London and New York, 2012), pp.21-29 ; p.21

48 Rosen, David and Aaron Santesso, The Watchman in Pieces: Surveillance, Literature, and Liberal Personhood (New Haven, Yale University Press, 2013), p.4

49 Rosen, D. and A. Santesso, The Watchman in Pieces, p.7

50 Vareschi, M., ‘Surveillance Studies and Literature of the Long 18th Century’, p.1

51 Lyon, David, ‘Surveillance Studies: understanding visibility, mobility and the phenetic fix’, Surveillance & Society, 1:1 (2002), pp.1-7; p.5

52 Lyon, David, The Electronic Eye: The Rise of Surveillance Society, (Cambridge, Polity, 1994), p.78

53 Banita, Georgiana, Plotting Justice. Narrative Ethics & Literary Culture after 9/11, (Lincoln and London, University of Nebraska Press, 2012)

54 Monahan, Torin, ‘Surveillance as Cultural Practice’, The Sociological Quarterly, 52 (2011), pp.495-508; p.496

55 Monahan, T., ‘Surveillance as Cultural Practice’, p.496

56 Monahan, T., ‘Surveillance as Cultural Practice’, p.499

57 Marks, Peter, Imagining Surveillance: Eutopian and Dystopian Literature and Film (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015), p.3

58 Castagnino, F., ‘Critiques des ‘surveillance studies’’, p.13; my translation

59 Browne, Simone, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness (Durham and London, Duke University Press, 2015), pp.18-19; Mann, Steve, et al., ‘Sousveillance: Inventing and Using Wearable Computing Devices for Data Collection in Surveillance Environments’, Surveillance & Society, 1:3 (2002), pp.331-355

60 Vareschi, M., ‘Surveillance Studies and Literature ofo the long 18th century’, p.1; Hier, Sean and Joshua Greenberg, The Surveillance Studies Reader (Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2007), p.7

61 Bentham, J., Works, vol. X, p.21

62 Rosen, D. and A. Santesso, The Watchman in Pieces, p.63, original emphasis

63 Rosen, D. and A. Santesso, The Watchman in Pieces, p.88, original emphasis

64 Rosen, D. and A. Santesso, The Watchman in Pieces, p.101

65 Rosen, D. and A. Santesso, The Watchman in Pieces, p.103

66 See Wrobel, C., Roman noir, réforme et surveillance; Thompson, Lucy E., Gender, Surveillance and Literature in the Romantic Period: 1780-1830 (London, Routledge, 2021); Shanafelt, Carrie, ‘Jeremy Bentham and the Pleasures of Fiction’, Revue d’Etudes Benthamiennes, 20 (2021) 

67 See Blake, Kathleen, Pleasures of Benthamism: Victorian Literature, Utility, Political Economy (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009); Quinn, Malcolm, Utilitarianism and the Art School in Nineteenth-Century Britain (London, Pickering & Chatto, 2013); Julius, A. et al., eds. Bentham and the Arts

68 Deleuze, Gilles, ‘Postscript on the Societies of Control’, October, 59, (1992), pp.3-7

69 Poster, Mark, The Mode of Information (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990); Haggerty, K.D. and R. V. Ericson, ‘The Surveillant Assemblage’, British Journal of Sociology 51 :4 (2000), pp.605-22; Bogard, William, ‘Simulation and post-panopticism,’ Routledge Handbook of Surveillance Studies, pp.30-37. See also Galič, Maša et al., ed., ‘Bentham, Deleuze, and Beyond: An Overview of Surveillance Theories from the Panopticon to Participation’, Philosophy & Technology, 30 :1 (2017), pp.9-37

70 See Lewis, Randolph, Under Surveillance: Being Watched in Modern American (Texas University Press, 2017); see also Harcourt, Bernard, Exposed: Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age (Harvard University Press, 2015)

71 Murakami Wood, David, ‘Beyond the Panopticon: Foucault and Surveillance Studies,’ in Space, Knowledge and Power: Foucault and Geography, eds. J.W. Crampton and S. Elden (Aldershot, Ashgate, 2007), pp.145-264

72 See Wrobel, Claire, ‘A Gothic Dystopia at the Antipodes: Australia in Bentham’s Letters to Lord Pelham (1802)’, in Gothic N.E.W.S., ed. Max Duperray (Paris, Michel Houdiard, 2009), pp.111-124; Arneil, Barbara, ‘Jeremy Bentham: Pauperism, Colonialism, and Imperialism’, American Political Science Review (2021), pp.1-12; issue 19 of the Revue d’Etudes Benthamiennes on ‘Panopticons in Australia’, ed. Anne Brunon-Ernst (2021); Causer, Tim, Finn, Margot Finn and Philip Schofield, Jeremy Bentham and Australia: Convicts, Utility and Empire (London, UCL Press, 2022)

73 Nicolazzo, Sal, Vagrant Figures: Law, Literature, and the Origins of the Police (New Haven, Yale University Press, 2020)

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Claire Wrobel, « Introduction: Literary and Critical Approaches to Panopticism  »Revue d’études benthamiennes [En ligne], 22 | 2022, mis en ligne le 30 juillet 2022, consulté le 05 février 2023. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/etudes-benthamiennes/9920 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/etudes-benthamiennes.9920

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Claire Wrobel

Paris-Panthéon-Assas University and VALE (Voix Anglophones, Littérature et Esthétique – Sorbonne University)

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