The map and the territory: a subversive synopticon in an alternative educational space

Gila Amitay*, Giora Rahav

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between a school’s design and architecture and its educational practices, in light of critical theories regarding place, space and education. The study was based on 63 observations during the school daily activities and 75 semi-structured interviews with students, teachers and other staff, as well as two focus-groups consisting of school graduates. We identified two major elements that are shared by the school’s physical-architectural and pedagogical infrastructure: fluidity and synoptical practices of visibility, that construct two principles of a subversive structure, benevolent and therapeutic control, and detouring practices of power relations and the creation of emancipating spaces. The article proposes a conceptual framework to illuminate the findings and discusses theoretical and practical implementations that are essential for future policies regarding educational practices for youth at risk for dropout.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-381
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Studies in Sociology of Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


FundersFunder number
Topaz Fund for the Promotion of Children and Youths
Tel Aviv University


    • School architecture
    • panopticon
    • pedagogy
    • subversive surveillance
    • synopticon


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