Assignment: Summary of readings and open ended questions\
Summary of articles
Part Three: Discipline 3. Panopticism (Abridged)
Foucault, the author begins by explaining measures taken to mitigate the plague by closing houses, inspection, quarantine, and constant inspection. Those affected by the plaque were separated from society. However, as revealed, all these measures aimed to create a disciplined community since the existence of a set mechanism brings forth disciplinary mechanisms brought by fear of the plague. Modern mechanisms and procedures to control abnormal people derive and acquired from this. Foucault then explores Jeremy Bentham’s building (Panopticon) build to see each cell in which a prisoner is incarcerated. The building creates a sense of visibility which is a trap. As Bentham says, power should be visible but unverifiable. Panopticon though not a dream building is a laboratory where experiments are conducted on staff and prisoners “laboratory; it could be used as a machine to carry out experiments, to alter behavior, to train or correct individuals. To experiment with medicines and monitor their effects” Panopticon is a building symbolizes an architecture that gives power over people’s mind.
Panopticon makes power more efficient and economic through education and public morality. It creates subordination of bodies and formula for functional society through the dispensation of disciplinary mechanisms. Disciplinary society is connected through historical processes through elaborate tactics of power that operates invisibly and economically, and panoptic modality of power which is independent. These tactics increase both utility and docility of elements. Panopticism and discipline create processes that guarantee rights. The enlightenment of the eighteenth century invented liberties and disciplines. This happened through the development of modern technologies. As the eighteenth century invented examination, the middle ages came up with judicial acquisition.
Part four: Foucalt’s chapter on Methods
In this chapter, Foucault defines the concept of power. He sees power as something exercised to subjugate, dominate, and render subservient. Power exists everywhere even in silence and subjection. Foucault proposes five propositions concerning power. First, “ power is no something that is acquired, or shared, something that one holds on to or allows to slip away…”. Secondly, “power is not only applied to external relationships of sex, knowledge, and economics, but it determines internal structures. Thirdly, “power comes from below; that is, there is no binary and all-compassing opposition between rulers and ruled at the root of power relations, and serving as a general matrix” . Fourthly, there is rationality and logic behind power any power relationship, therefore no individual subjects exercise power. Fifth, “ where there is power, there is resistance, and yet or rather consequently, this resistance is never in a position of exteriority in relation to power” Resistance manifests itself in different forms, it may manifest in solid and steady form, but may also pop up and move in different places as power dynamics change. Foucault's analysis of power shows that sexuality cannot be understood as single unilaterally power relations. It is examined in different aspects through the following rules: the rule of immanence, continual variation, and rule of double local centers” or conditioning.
What is the role of the panopticon in the digital age? Can we free ourselves from panoptic power?
What is the meaning of Foucalt’s visibility is a trap? Does it mean police cameras?
What is Foucault's definition of power? Does power mean coercion?
Is the sex form of power? Does sex mean extortion?
Foucault, Michel. The history of sexuality. W. Ross MacDonald School Resource Services Library, 2007. New York: Pantheon Books
Foucault, Michel Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison (NY: Vintage Books 1995) pp. 195- 228
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