Philadelphia Police Headquarters Buiilding

I was earlier today contemplating this statue, which stands outside of the Philadelphia Police Department Headquarters at 8th and Race Sts.  Note the quintessential 1950s “professional officer” style of uniform… and also how there is a gun on his right hip, a little girl on his left hip.   All kinds of signification going on here…  N.B. also that the Philly PD HQ (partially visible in the photograph, behind the statue) looks like a set of locked handcuffs from an aerial view.

Police “material culture”


5 thoughts on “Police “material culture”

  1. I’m not sure that’s what is here. For one, it’s a representation of police in the place of the tower. There was no such representation in Bentham’s original. In fact, part of the idea was that one could not “see” that which was watching. Police was unrepresentable and therefore unplaceable/unknowable (so better to direct oneself to oneself). Second, the office windows are in the place of the cell blocks. But you can’t see into them from the street / position of the statue; they are not watched, but their gaze is itself structured. So it’s not the panopticon where one/few surveilles many, but something else, where the architecture of daily life structures it so that the many are not necessarily watched but are directed to gaze upon a representation of police (thusly imagined)

    maybe i’m tripping out to much


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