« Psychological care of the family | Go to Blog Top | Chronological table of Morioka »

Discipline & Punish, Foucault, Michel, panopticon


One of the most important characteristics of Chapter 2 of Brain Dead Person is that the function of "intensive care unit" is discussed in terms of ethics. This was because I believed that the creation of a "brain dead person" is closely connected to the function of "intensive care unit" in a hospital.

In this chapter I discussed that an intensive care unit looks like a "panopticon" that was described by J. Bentham, and later by Michel Foucault in his "Discipline & Punish : The Birth of the Prison."

I wrote in my book as follows:

"The beds have been separated with walls or curtains between them. Fellow patients have had their lines of sight entirely cut off. However, it has been made possible to see all of the patients from the nurses’ station in the very center. Here the intense gaze of those supervising falls on all those being supervised. This one central watchtower is designed to allow supervision of many small rooms from one place.
    This looks incredibly similar to the structure of the modern European thinker Jeremy Bentham’s “Panopticon” -- a design for a prison. This was designed so that all the movements of the inmates could be seen from a central watchtower. The ICU is at the forefront of contemporary medicine, which started in Europe, and so it is of deep significance that the model of the Panopticon reappears here. Perhaps only a modern gaze fills the ICU. " (See this page)

When this book was published in 1989, some critics said that this idea was very interesting. Do you have any comments about the above idea?

Photo: No comment

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

About this Blog

This is the official blog of