Anopticism: Invisible Populations and the Power of Not Seeing

  • Emily DaleEmail author


Utilizing Foucault’s theory of panopticism, social scientists have consistently studied the ways past populations were made visible and how this served as a form of power. Understudied, however, are the ways invisibility can be imposed or adopted. This paper models new discussions of power relationships I have named anopticism. Anopticism is concerned with the power exercised in making populations invisible, both as a form of domination and as form of resistance. By examining two Chinese communities in Nevada and California, I explore the ways strategies and tactics, discipline and agency, and power over and power to intertwine to effectively and purposefully hide individuals, groups, and their behaviors.


Panopticism Power Chinese diaspora Nineteenth-century Western United States 



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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyNorthern Arizona UniversityFlagstaffUSA

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