Quick update on last week.
Looking at some events that happened in the past few weeks / months: we can witness a certain “liberation of speech” where subjects that were considered taboo in certain places of the world are brought to the daylight thanks to movements of ‘parole collective’ (wether it is done online or in the street with manifestations).
These mouvements such as hashtags (#metoo for example) have spread internationally to become almost tools of ‘justice’ -in the sense of looking for what is just or fair- and created a wave of denunciations that have actual impacts: the casting out of people who are accused of immoral actions.
In a climate of denunciations that lead to direct punishment one might wonder: what is the role of justice -as in the authority figure- if justice is left to the hand of the people?
Another phenomena occurring in parallel of these mouvements is a certain rejection from smaller groups who argue that by doing this we risk losing all gallantry and call for a “liberté ‘importuner”(or right to importune). Others insist that by denunciating we obstruct the person in question’s right to benefit from the presumption of innocence.
So how do we play between presumption of innocence (for the defendant), justice (for the people) and presumption of credibility (for the victim)?
I looked into the idea of the Panopticon of Jeremy Bentham who proposed an architectural solution for prisons that would allow reducing the staff in prisons to 1 person. As the authority figure sits in the central tower of the circular prison -with the cells in the perimeter- they are able see every single cell without ever being seen. This climate of omnipresent surveillance would result in making the prisoners feel as if someone is constantly looking directly at them and therefore never be able to misbehave.
Foucault post rationalises the idea of the Panopticon saying that this model could be applying to our modern society where surveillance is everywhere, and most importantly that the people in it are not only behaving because of the omnipresent eye of the authority figure but mainly because they can all see each other: all the watching is then left to the watched.