The Panopticon Bill of 1794

Janet Semple

in Bentham's Prison

Published in print July 1993 | ISBN: 9780198273875
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191684074 | DOI:
The Panopticon Bill of 1794

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This chapter examines the issues related to the Panopticon Bill of 1794. Jeremy Bentham spent five months—from October 1793 to February 1794—drafting the Panopticon Bill. There were three possible panopticon statutes that existed in the spring of 1794, which includes the draft act that was eventually enacted and Bentham's own two bills. The original panopticon bill and Bentham's commentaries on it provide valuable information about Bentham's ideas on bureaucracy and an extraordinary prescient discussion on the problems of the administration of welfare. The chapter suggests that Bentham's principles and his practice in the panopticon bill appear irreconcilable, and that his long hidden draft legislation adds another problem to the question about the place of the panopticon in his thought.

Keywords: Panopticon Bill; Jeremy Bentham; legislation; welfare administration; bureaucracy; statutes

Chapter.  10068 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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