Foucault News

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

Jeremy Weissman, The Crowdsourced Panopticon. Conformity and Control on Social Media, Rowman & Littlefield, 2021

Review at LSE Review of Books

Behind the omnipresent screens of our laptops and smartphones, a digitally networked public has quickly grown larger than the population of any nation on Earth. On the flipside, in front of the ubiquitous recording devices that saturate our lives, individuals are hyper-exposed through a worldwide online broadcast that encourages the public to watch, judge, rate, and rank people’s lives. The interplay of these two forces – the invisibility of the anonymous crowd and the exposure of the individual before that crowd – is a central focus of this book. Informed by critiques of conformity and mass media by some of the greatest philosophers of the past two centuries, as well as by a wide range of historical and empirical studies, Weissman helps shed light on what may happen when our lives are increasingly broadcast online for everyone all the time, to be judged by the global community.

Table of contents

Part I: Conformity

1. The Human Animal in Civilized Society
2. Social Media as an Escape from Freedom
3. Meaninglessness in the Present Age

Part II: Control
4. The Spectacular Power of the Public
5. ‘P2P’ Surveillance and Control

6. The Net of Noramlization

Part III: Resistance

7. Freedom from the Public Eye

8. Strategies of Resistance

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