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Power & Freedom Michel Foucault

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Power & Freedom Michel Foucault. Panopticism (Political Science 506). Architecture. “Architectures” of power The space in which people live & interact Power more present in these architectures than in individuals - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
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Power & Freedom Michel Foucault Panopticism (Political Science 506)
Page 1: Power & Freedom Michel Foucault

Power & FreedomMichel Foucault

Panopticism(Political Science 506)

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Architecture• “Architectures” of power• The space in which people live & interact• Power more present in these architectures than in

individuals• While individuals may occupy particular nodes within these

networks of power, the power resides in the architecture • Literal and metaphorical• Networks• What are the beliefs and behaviors encouraged by a

particular structure?

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Panopticism• Plague towns

– Freeze life into immobility, tremendous enforcement cost• Panopticon

– Allows for dynamic progress & experimentation, once constructed power continuously present but ideally never need be exercised, extraordinarily low cost

– A massively plastic & adaptable organization of power– By allowing public examination of the panopticon, remains democratic: a power of no

one over all– Surveillance, not spectacle– “the circuits of communication are the supports of an accumulation and a

centralization of knowledge; the play of signs defines the anchorages of power” (217)– The individual is constituted w/in this architecture– “a power that insidiously objectifies those on whom it is applied; to form a body of

knowledge about those individuals, rather than to deploy the ostentatious signs of sovereignty” (220)

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The Disciplined Society• The functional inversion of the disciplines

– Example: free schools founded on negative justification (combat godlessness, idleness, gangs of beggars), but move to positive justification (prepare child for job market, develop the mind)

• The swarming of the disciplinary mechanisms– Disciplinary mechanisms emerge into society– Example: schools supervise children’s families

• State control of mechanisms of discipline– Police, interested in everything, omnipresent surveillance– Police are disciplinary mechanism that fills the gaps between

other mechanisms

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The Disciplined Society• Disciplines as “infra-law” (222)

– System of omnipresent but uncertain surveillance– “systems of micro-power that are essentially non-egalitarian and

asymmetrical”• Example: female sexual morality, health, violence, surveillance

– Treated as very foundation of society, without which it will collapse• “a series of mechanisms for unbalancing power relations definitively and

everywhere; hence the persistence in regarding them as the humble, but concrete form of every morality, whereas they are a set of physico-political techniques.” (223)

– “The formation of knowledge and the increase of power regularly reinforce one another in a circular process” (224)

– Names and power• How could this system of power be resisted?