Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Robb L., Deane F. (2021) Smart Cities as Panopticon: Highlighting Blockchain’s Potential for Smart Cities Through Competing Narratives. In: Wang B.T., Wang C.M. (eds) Automating Cities. Advances in 21st Century Human Settlements. Springer, Singapore.

This chapter argues that the narratives of smart cities demonstrate the potential value of blockchain technologies. Drawing upon competing narratives within the cultural imaginary, both the ‘dream’ of a better city, and the ‘fear’ of an oppressive structure will highlight the need to consider both Bentham and Foucault’s Panopticon. The term ‘panopticon’ is defined and explored within the context of blockchain technology. In doing so three concepts are identified: the enabling nature of a panopticon; the use of a blockchain-enabled-panopticon to encourage human flourishing; and the ability for technology such as this to enhance standards above a basic minimum of the law. This chapter suggests that understanding smart cities, panopticon and blockchain, may allow for a better account for competing narratives of fear that can lead to a deeper understanding of how this technology can be deployed. © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021.

Author Keywords
Blockchain; Cultural imaginary; Law and society; Law and technology; Panopticon; Smart cities; Supply chain; Technology

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