Surveillance and discipline

>From what I have understood from the idea of Foucault on panoptic
discipline (but I am not an expert, and intentionally was only going to
listen in on this discussion list) it is about a way of having people
act according to rules set by others, using a clever instrument in order
to minimize the effort needed from disciplining party and by which the
disciplined party has to internalize the rules.

I don't know the situation in the Glasgow street which is discussed
here. But
- I can very well imagine that a large proportion of the people who are
being watched by the cameras, agree with their presence, because it
would make their environment more safe.
- I wonder if we should see camera observation at present as a clever
way of disciplining. The are being used for ages already, and in more
private environments they are quite common already.
- They need to be monitored by people on regular basis.
- The majority of people watched will not change their behaviour because
of it.

I think the municipality of Rotterdam is developing a more efficient and
more clever way of disciplining its inhabitants to create a more
regulated environment. It is part of a larger plan called 'social
renovation' and it is called to 'Opzoomer' according to the name of the
street where it started.
The big 'discovery' was that it appeared that even in a larger city the
inhabitants (who are mixed together from a great diversity of cultural
backgrounds), still have a strong tendency of controlling the behaviour
of the people in their neighbourhood, usually thought typical for
smaller sedentary villages. The expression of this tendency has been
substituted for a major part by active disciplining forces from outside,
like police and social workers; camera watching could have been one of
The idea of to 'Opzoomer' is to try to reverse this substitution by
actively stimulating social control tendencies of the inhabitants, but
also trying to keep them within the norms of the municipal government.
for instance: cleaning your street by its inhabitants is gravely
stimulated but it is watched for that no strong racist tendencies
surface. It is expected that people who clean their own streets also
watch out for others against littering. And more importantly: the
feeling of controlling your own street would give a feeling of more
In the end it saves of course the input of more police, more cleaning
personnel, more social workers, while at the same time the population is
following the rules of the municipality while even thinking they are
their own.
Rob Boer

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