A FOUCAULDIAN READING OF DAVE EGGERS’ THE CIRCLE
Keywords:Post-Modernism, Michel Foucault, The Birth of Prison, The Theory of Panopticism, The Circle, Dave Eggers
Post-Modernism has begun after modernism. In the post-modern period, the post-structuralists have been interested in many fields such as sociology, anthropology, and linguistics, etc. Michel Foucault, who is one of the French post-structuralists, published his Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison in 1975. In this work, he analyses the social mechanisms and defines the theory of Panopticism, which was first put forward by Jeremy Bentham. The term of Panopticism can be explained as a feeling of being followed by an invisible eye metaphorically confining people and oppressing them due to the continuous observation, discipline and punishment that it brings about. Therefore, an individual has to be under control as if s/he were always watched. The Circle, which was published in 2013 by American author Dave Eggers, is a dystopian novel. The novel is based on the experiences of a young girl, Mae Holland and the situation of technology in today’s world. In this novel, Eggers portrays an oppressive system which controls the people through the hidden cameras. This paper will shed light on the similarities between Foucault’s theory of Panopticism, which is introduced and discussed in his Discipline and Punish, and Dave Eggers’ dystopian novel The Circle by revealing Eggers’ criticism on how surveillance is applied through technology in today’s world.
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