Surveillance and Spectacle Inside The Circle

  • Brian JarvisEmail author


In Discipline and Punishment, Foucault implicitly rebukes Guy Debord by proclaiming that ‘[o]ur society is not one of spectacle, but of surveillance… We are neither in the amphitheatre, nor on the stage, but in the panoptical machine’ (p. 217). In our indefatigably surveillant twenty-first century, it would be impossible to contest Foucault’s claims regarding the potency of the panopticon, but is this necessarily exclusive of the power of the spectacle? This chapter will seek to answer this question in relation to Dave Egger’s novel The Circle (2013) and its film adaptation by James Ponsoldt (2017). The Circle also foregrounds the extent to which the wheels of Foucault’s ‘panoptical machine’ are greased by Debordian spectacle. Through close reading of The Circle, this chapter will offer a biopolitical reading of the intricate mechanisms of panoptic control at the interface between spaces of work and leisure, public and private spheres, bodies and machines, consciousness and communication networks.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Loughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK

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