Panopticon

Panopticon The Panopticon in My Life Principles of the Panopticon can appear just about everywhere in our everyday life. The Panopticon itself is a simple system of centralized visualization. The basis of the original Panopticon was a circular prison system with a tower sitting in the middle that had a full, unobstructed view of all the prison cells. I can apply this idea to many situations in my life varying from computer use to my college classrooms. An instance, which stands out the most in my mind as being a panoptic environment, is my experiences in gaming casinos. The basic system of just about every casino is that of the tables (including Roulette, Blackjack and Craps) filling the center of the room with computerized machines (including slots and video poker) that don’t need much tending to surrounding the area.

Also, in many casinos there is a second floor surrounding the perimeter of the building with balconies everywhere so the main floor is still the center of attention. This setup brings the eye of casino patrons, wherever they may be, to the center of the casino. This strategic arrangement plays with the fact of human nature being drawn to the center of the action. Coincidentally, or not, the games in the center of the casinos are always the games where people often spend the most money. By chance if your eye isn’t drawn then perhaps the shrill of people winning will bring your attention. Don’t be fooled though, house advantage is always higher than yours.

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Besides the main setup of the casino building, the layout of the tables are also that of a panoptic style. The difference here is the layout is meant for the casino management to have full view of the players at the tables. Roulette, Blackjack and Craps tables are placed in a circular pattern with an area in the middle roped off for the casino personnel only. Within this area called the pit, stand the pit bosses. Their prime job is to keep an eye on all the tables and regulate them.

As a player you barely notice there invading eyes because you are distracted by your game. They make sure there is no foul play on your end such as making sure you pay the right amount for chips, play correctly, and act in a civil manner. They not only keep a close eye on you but they make sure the dealer gives you correct payouts, makes correct change and that the cards, dice or wheel is played properly. Another small panoptic system is the actual tables themselves. Each table, no matter which game, is arranged in a central way that the dealer is in the middle and the players surround him. All the players focus on the dealer and are reliant on his every move.

The dealer, representing the house, has the ultimate control of the situation. Although he does not know the outcome, the chances of you losing are always higher. This gives the casino their edge. You completely depend on their outcome even though you do have a decision in how you play. Lastly, the use of surveillance cameras is a prime panoptic example. Surveillance has to be the most prominent use of a Panopticon in society today. Cameras are placed all over the place in a casino in order for the house to have the ultimate, every angle gaze on you.

They monitor everything from vandalism to cheating or violence. They even scrutinize how long you have been gambling, what games you have been playing, and how much you have been winning or losing. This last kind of surveillance can definitely work to your advantage when casino comps come into play. Whether it be video surveillance, casino configuration, pit bosses, or dealers a casino is a prime example of a panoptic environment. A casino plays God the best they can.

They’ll even design the inside to look like a famous landmark to draw your business and attention. Despite the objectification the panoptic atmosphere brings, it is quite obvious by how well casinos do that we have adapted easily. We are a panoptic society and it can beyond doubt work for or against us. In a casino, I guess if you win or lose, will decide your reaction of your panoptic experience. Films and Cinema.