Orwellʼs Panoptic Society: Methods of Gaining and Maintaining Power in <em>Nineteen Eighty-Four</em>
Keywords:Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Foucault, Panopticon, power, discipline, surveillance, control, hate, group psychology.
AbstractThe goal of the paper is to demonstrate Orwell’s society as a panoptic one, employing all of the elements of Jeremy Bentham’s Panoptical model, as well as presenting it through Foucault’s conception of the shift from punishment to discipline as stated in Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Panopticon will be presented not as a model of a prison as it was initially intended to be, but as a concept which can be applied to the entire society. The two types of power, the power of sovereignty and disciplinary power shall be applied to the novel with the aim of finding parallels between the two mentioned systems, as well as some possible contraditions and deciding which system is in place in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Constant surveillance, establishing routines and controlling activity will be discussed in terms of mechanisms for gaining and maintaining power. Hate is seen as another mechanism for establishing power and one of the key emotions implemented in group psychology of a totalitarian regime. We shall discuss the role of the collective and the individual in power relations and the way they form ”collective individualism” – a society in which one may notice both a unity of the group and an isolated individual.
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