Author Identifier

Donell Holloway

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Australian and New Zealand Communication Association


School of Arts and Humanities




Australian Research Council

Grant Number

ARC Number : DE140101978


Holloway, D. (2017). The panopticon kitchen: the materiality of parental surveillance in the family home. In Refereed Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference 2017 - Communication Worlds: Access, Voice, Diversity, Engagement.


This article examines the production and performance of parental surveillance of children’s internet activities within the family home. Through an analysis of qualitative interviews in the family homes of children aged from five to twelve years, the manner in which parents are positioned as ‘instruments of surveillance’ and the materiality of this surveillance are discussed. Parents’ worldly surveillance of their younger children’s internet use in Australian family homes can often be likened to Foucault’s panopticon, where the site of central inspection is often the family kitchen. This is because the physical positioning of spatial dimensions in the standard Australian home lends itself to panopticon surveillance of children. Communal living areas provide a site where the mechanisms of fixing and containing subjects (children) can be carried out. The use of these communal family spaces lends itself to watchtower-style monitoring, where the parental gaze is always possible and where children tend to assume that, and act as if, they are being watched. This is not to say, however, that children’s resistance and/or negotiation represent any lesser part of the power relationships within the panopticon kitchen.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution- Share Alike 3.0 Australia License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Australia License.