Pattern Index


The panopticon is a disciplinary concept introduced by British philosopher Jeremy Bentham in the 18th century. It is often illustrated as a penal structure of circular design that houses the prisoners on its circumference and the guardroom at its centre in such a way that the prisoners cannot see whether a guard is present or not. This arrangement ensures that the prisoners have the impression that they are continually being surveilled and therefore practice self discipline. The concept is foundational to the history of surveillance.