Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Prisoner' keyword pg.1 of 2
26 SEPTEMBER 2014

The Prisoner: the cult British television series

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1960s • Alcatraz • allegory • Angelo Muscat • art and technologyballoonBritish televisionBritish television series • Butlins • captors • coastal resort • coastal village resort • Colin Gordon • countercultural themes • cult televisiondemocracy • Denis Shaw • drama series • Fenella Fielding • Frank Maher • freedom • gilded cage • Gwynedd • held prisoner • individuality • inmate • Kafkaesque • Leo McKern • meteorological balloon • mysterious place • ominous • Patrick McGoohan • Penrhyndeudraeth • personal identity • Peter Swanwick • plotting to escape • Portmeirion • prisoner • psychological drama • roverscience fictionscientific progresssecret agent • spy fiction • surrealistic setting • television series • The Prisoner (television) • villageWales • war of attrition • white balloon

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 JUNE 2013

The Stanford Prison Experiment

"Welcome to the Stanford Prison Experiment web site, which features an extensive slide show and information about this classic psychology experiment, including parallels with the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. What happens when you put good people in an evil place? Does humanity win over evil, or does evil triumph? These are some of the questions we posed in this dramatic simulation of prison life conducted in the summer of 1971 at Stanford University.

How we went about testing these questions and what we found may astound you. Our planned two–week investigation into the psychology of prison life had to be ended prematurely after only six days because of what the situation was doing to the college students who participated. In only a few days, our guards became sadistic and our prisoners became depressed and showed signs of extreme stress. Please join me on a slide tour describing this experiment and uncovering what it tells us about the nature of human nature."

(Philip G. Zimbardo)

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1971Abu Ghraib Prisonauthoritybrutalitycommand responsibility • Cool Hand Luke (1967) • dehumanisationdeindividuationdignitydisciplineethics • guard • guilthuman experimentationhuman naturehuman subjectshuman willhumiliationimprisonmentmoral dignitymoral dilemmamoralitynature of morality • Philip Zimbardo • powerpower corruptsprisonprisonerpsychology • research experiment • research study • self-controlsimulation studysocial experimentssocial responsibility • Stanford Prison Experiment • suffering injustice

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
22 MARCH 2011

The Conformist: dramatic interplay of light and shadow, gestures and movements and room space and sound

"The Conformist is a difficult film, not because its themes are heavy or its form too radical, but because the statement it proposes is a tad indigestible. Once you get over its slight simplification of ideas and reasons, it is a sweeping masterwork that you are looking at. I probably haven't seen any film that as clearly reveal how we have all confused sexuality with morality, morality with religion, religion with politics and politics with security. The tension is palpable in almost every shot of the film. Consider the central scene of sheer cinematic awesomeness where Quadri and Clerici recollect what actually went wrong. Using staggering interplay of light and shadow, gestures and movements and room space and sound, Bertolucci develops the central motif of the film in pure film language, without ever betraying the diegesis of the film. Bertolucci's script takes up Plato's Allegory of the Cave, which suggests that humans are all prisoners inside a dark cave unable to differentiate between real objects and the shadows that they cast on the walls, and adapts it so as to examine the dark history of the country. It is after this point that every element of the film cries out for attention and the ambivalence of the central character brought to light. Especially remarkable is the final shot of the film where, after Italo is swept away by a Rossellinian crowd, Clerici sits on a low platform near the fire, looking towards a homosexual street dweller through prison–like iron bars, still unsure of his political, sexual and moral footing."

(Just Another Film Buff @ The Seventh Art)

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1970aestheticsallegory of the caveBernardo Bertoluccichiaroscurocinematiccinematographydesign formalismdiegesisfigures in spacefilmfilm languagefootinghomosexuality • Il Conformista • insecurity • Italy • light and shadow • masterworkmise-en-scenemoralitymotifmovementpatternPlatopoliticsprisonerrealityreligion • Roberto Rossellini • sexuality • shadows • shotspace • The Conformist • visual communicationvisual designvisual languagevisual literacyvisual spectacle

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 NOVEMBER 2009

Plato's Allegory of the Cave

"Behold! human beings living in a underground cave, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the cave; here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets.

And now look again, and see what will naturally follow if the prisoners are released and disabused of their error. At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck round and walk and look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive some one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but that now, when he is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned towards more real existence, he has a clearer vision, –what will be his reply? And you may further imagine that his instructor is pointing to the objects as they pass and requiring him to name them, –will he not be perplexed? Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him?"

(Plato)

Plato's Republic, book vii, 514a–c to 521a–e

[Plato's allegory about consciousness underpins Western philosophy. It also introduces a fundamental concept used by Christian theology to describe spiritual enlightenment.]

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allegoryallegory of the caveauthenticitycavechainClassicalcognitive immersionconsciousnesscopy • divine enlightenment • enlightenment • hierarchyimmersionmarionettemetaphysicsmimesisPlatoprisonerpuppetrealismrepresentationshadow • spiritual perception • Theory of Forms • transcendencetruth

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
04 OCTOBER 2005

Regulation through discourses/practices

"The prison operates through the production of norms to divide the population into prisoners and non–prisoners. Since the goal of the prison is to return prisoners to the status of non–prisoners, there must be a criterion, one carefully and comprehensively elaborated, to recognise the non–prisoner, the prisoner, and the developmental stages in the change from the one to the other. There must also be a detailed regimen to effectuate the change. There must finally be a method or system of keeping track of the change in each prisoner. Foucault borrows from Bentham the term Panopticon (one who sees all) to denote the entire apparatus of defining the norm, disciplining the negative term, observing the change from the negative to the positive and studying the whole process so that it can be perfected. But there is a difference. For Bentham the Panopticon was an artifice that deflected the criminal's mind from the irrationality of transgression to the rationality of the norm. It imposed social authority on the prisoner in a constant, total manner. The prisoner's actions could be monitored by guards at any time but without his ever knowing it. The prisoner would, in Rousseau's phrase, be forced to be free. With no escape or reprieve from the Panoptical eye, the prisoner would accept the authority of the norm with its rational system of pleasures and pains. For Foucault the task is to see the system as an imposition of a structure of domination, not as a rational, humanist intention. As we know, the Panopticon, evaluated on the standards of liberal and Benthamite theory, is a failure. Foucault's aim is to grasp the workings of the Panopticon outside the liberal framework: if it does not reform prisoners, what does it do? What are the effects of the social text of the prison, of Panoptical discourse? His argument is that the prison, in the context of a liberal capitalist society that celebrates the anarchy of the marketplace, the chaos of free monads pursuing infinite wants, the rationality of the unhindered subject – the prison in this world imposes the technology of power, the 'micropolitics' of the norm. In capitalist society, regulation takes the form of discourses/practices that produce and reproduce the norm. The school, the asylum, the factory, the barracks to greater or lesser degrees and with considerable variation all imitate the Panopticon. In modern society power is imposed not by the personal presence and brute force of a caste of nobles as it was in earlier times but by the systematic scribblings in discourses, by the continual monitoring of daily life, adjusting and readjusting ad in finitum the norm of individuality. Modern society may be read as a discourse in which nominal freedom of action is canceled by the ubiquitous look of the other. It may be interpreted semiologically as a field of signs in which the metadiscourse of the Panopticon is reimposed everywhere, even in places in which it is not installed. We may suggest that the free individual requires a repressed other, a sort of external super–ego, an absent father if only to guarantee his or her freedom."

(Mark Poster pp.90–91)

Poster, Mark. 1990 The Mode of Information: Poststructuralism and Social Context, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. ISBN: 0745603262

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asylumauthority • barracks • biopolitical power relationscapitalismcontrolcultural normsdisciplinediscipline and punishmentdiscoursedominationfactoryJeremy Bentham • liberal capitalist society • Mark Poster • metadiscourse • Michel Foucaultmonadmonitoringnormspanopticonpracticeprisonprisonerpunishmentregulationrulesschoolsocial normsthe other
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