Public health surveillance and the media: a dyad of panoptic and synoptic social control

Danielle Couch, Gil-Soo Han, Priscilla Robinson, Paul Alter Komesaroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This paper examines how Foucault s [(1979). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. New York, NY: Vintage Books] concept of the panopticon coexists in a dyadic relationship of social control with the system of the contemporary mass media - the synopticon [Mathiesen, T. (1997). The viewer society: Michel Foucault s panopticon revisited. Theoretical Criminology, 1(2), 215-234], and the relevance and significance of this dyad of social control to public health. We consider its application in the examination of several public health issues, including motherhood and gambling, and we extend Mathiesen s work to include consideration of newer interactive forms of mass media and social media and demonstrate how these contribute to this social control, again examining this in the context of public health issues and campaigns, such as alcohol and smoking, as well as noting that newer media formats may present opportunities for resistance. We explain how this theoretical concept might be used more generally in consideration of public health research and interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128 - 141
Number of pages14
JournalHealth psychology and behavioral medicine
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Cite this

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title = "Public health surveillance and the media: a dyad of panoptic and synoptic social control",
abstract = "This paper examines how Foucault s [(1979). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. New York, NY: Vintage Books] concept of the panopticon coexists in a dyadic relationship of social control with the system of the contemporary mass media - the synopticon [Mathiesen, T. (1997). The viewer society: Michel Foucault s panopticon revisited. Theoretical Criminology, 1(2), 215-234], and the relevance and significance of this dyad of social control to public health. We consider its application in the examination of several public health issues, including motherhood and gambling, and we extend Mathiesen s work to include consideration of newer interactive forms of mass media and social media and demonstrate how these contribute to this social control, again examining this in the context of public health issues and campaigns, such as alcohol and smoking, as well as noting that newer media formats may present opportunities for resistance. We explain how this theoretical concept might be used more generally in consideration of public health research and interventions.",
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Public health surveillance and the media: a dyad of panoptic and synoptic social control. / Couch, Danielle; Han, Gil-Soo; Robinson, Priscilla; Komesaroff, Paul Alter.

In: Health psychology and behavioral medicine, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2015, p. 128 - 141.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AB - This paper examines how Foucault s [(1979). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. New York, NY: Vintage Books] concept of the panopticon coexists in a dyadic relationship of social control with the system of the contemporary mass media - the synopticon [Mathiesen, T. (1997). The viewer society: Michel Foucault s panopticon revisited. Theoretical Criminology, 1(2), 215-234], and the relevance and significance of this dyad of social control to public health. We consider its application in the examination of several public health issues, including motherhood and gambling, and we extend Mathiesen s work to include consideration of newer interactive forms of mass media and social media and demonstrate how these contribute to this social control, again examining this in the context of public health issues and campaigns, such as alcohol and smoking, as well as noting that newer media formats may present opportunities for resistance. We explain how this theoretical concept might be used more generally in consideration of public health research and interventions.

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