Kelsey’s Discipline and Punish Blog

Throughout the semester we have discussed many different aspects of four main topics. The main topics that we discussed all focused around nonverbal communication. The three topics that I will be discussing will be interpersonal communication, visual rhetoric, and mediated communication. These three topics of nonverbal communications are used in everyday life to control people and surveillance them, without people even realizing their decisions are being decided based off of everyday signs and communication. Foucault said to “make the technology of power the very principle of humanization o the penal system and of the knowledge of the man.” Today I believe technology is used to its fullest power due to everyone being on some sort of media or Internet, others are influencing them even when they do not realize it. Control and surveillance is something that technology is used for in order to make people act differently.

Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication is used in everyday life, some examples being eye contact, posture, how someone presents themselves and gestures. Someone controls everyday people that they are interacting with, based on how they use these movements. The article Interpersonal Communication Skills, refer to Interpersonal communication as being a two way process, one person is talking and the other is listening and giving feedback through nonverbal cues. These reactions can determine and control how one continues to tell a story or what information they continue to give the listener. For example, in a regular everyday conversation with a friend, if you are telling them something exciting about your day and they do not seem interested or seem upset they will give a fake smile and try to be happy for you. Due to the tone in their voice and the fake smile on their face, you stop telling them all the details of why your day was so good because they do not really care to hear it at that moment. Cues like these happen in daily conversations and can control what a person tells one another and how they act regaridng that story. If I were to have a friend not be happy or interested in exciting news then myself would be less excited since I did not gain that confirmation from my friend.

Along with being controlled, interpersonal communication also is using surveillance, which affects how people act. When people are constantly being watched or getting checked in on they tend to act better. For example, surveillance occurs when college students live on campus. It is known that the students wearing the black and orange polo with khaki pants are resident assistants who are making sure everyone is acting properly. That being said when students see someone that fits this description they tend to be quiet and behave. They are being watched by the RA to ensure that they are following the rules and although students might not notice, but there behavior is being determined by a certain presence of an authority figure.

Visual Rhetoric

Visual rhetoric is a type of image that is used to control how people act, “and every time someone looks at something else, they are being persuaded by a whole host of things” (Newbald). For example, non-smoking signs tell people they should not smoke in that area. One of the most common visual rhetoric images that controls people, especially in large cities are the walk and do not walk sign. This is something people that live in cities encounter everyday when they leave their house or apartment. These two symbols control when people cross the street and when they wait on the corner. It is crazy that just one symbol can determine how someone behaves.


Surveillance in visual rhetoric is a little more challenging. However, some visual rhetoric has consequences if the signs are not obeyed. So if a person decides not to follow the sign or park where it says not to park then they are also being surveillance by the police. If they do not want to be controlled by that sign then they will face a ticket or fine. This fine or ticket alone influences people to behave as the image is saying. The cops are watching at all times of the day so that factor impacts how people act and follow the visual rhetoric.

Mediated Communication

The media and technology controls how people act and determines what people post. Social media is used for us to get updates on other peoples lives and when they do not answer the text another media will be checked to see what they are doing (Karli). Media is allowing us to control how we view others as well as our actions on media. For example, on Snapchat I will post stories or send snaps of me drinking at the bar or parties. Where on Facebook I do not post any images that resemble that same type of behavior. The differences in posting on one media compared to another are due to who is on that media. I will not post a picture or a tweet based on what people will think of me because of that post. They control how I behave because their opinion or confirmation of liking what I post determines the types of pictures I will post. I am being controlled by others without even realizing it every time I post on a social media.

With the increase use of technology and social media surveillance is everywhere. Due to the technology surveillance is an interference to privacy. (Communications surveillance). If you think about how much you are being watched it is almost scary how much people can find out about one person without even knowing them. The government is obviously watching everyone, which if people behave unethically then they might change what they post due to the government finding it. However, average people like myself does not worry about the government as much as parents or grandparents. The surveillance of my family on Facebook determines what I post. Like I mentioned above I do not post many pictures of me at the bar or at parties because that is not the type of crowd I want seeing me act that way. My family would lecture me about studying more and going out less. So to avoid the lecture from them watching what I post, I decided to not post those types of images.


Foucault, M. (1979). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. New York: Vintage Books.

Gershon, I. (2010). The Breakup 2.0. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.

2011-2016, (. C. (n.d.). Interpersonal Communication Skills. Retrieved December 12, 2016, from

Newbald, C. (2014). What is Visual Rhetoric? Retrieved December 12, 2016, from

P. (n.d.). Communications surveillance. Retrieved December 12, 2016, from

Karli, A. (n.d.). How Strongly Can Social Media Influence and Control People’s Lives? Retrieved December 12, 2016, from




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