Jeremy Bentham and the Origins of the Panopticon

Janet Semple

in Bentham's Prison

Published in print July 1993 | ISBN: 9780198273875
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191684074 | DOI:
Jeremy Bentham and the Origins of the Panopticon

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This chapter discusses the family and personal background of Jeremy Bentham and the origins of the panopticon. Bentham was born in London, England in 1748 and was the eldest son of Alicia and Jeremiah. His five brothers and sisters died in early childhood and only Samuel survived. When his mother died, his father married a widow whose own son Charles Abbot would play an important role in the story of the panopticon. In 1776, he wrote a successful book titled A Fragment on Government and during this time Bentham was always engaged in ambitious and wide-ranging speculations on the foundations of government and punishment. In 1830 The Rationale of Punishment was published, which explains his motivation for building the panopticon. Safeguarding the interests of the criminal was the main preoccupation of Bentham's panopticon scheme.

Keywords: Jeremy Bentham; panopticon; A Fragment on Government; Charles Abbot; The Rationale of Punishment; prison

Chapter.  8517 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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