Lecture 1: Institutional Power

by am109145

PANOPTICISM – INSTITUTIONS & INSTITUTIONAL POWER 

‘Literature, art and their respective producers do not exist independently of a complex institutional framework which authorises, enables, empowers and legitimises them. This framework must be incorporated into any analysis that pretends to provide a thorough understanding of cultural goods and practices.’  Randal Johnson in Walker & Chaplin (1999)

LECTURE AIMS:

•UNDERSTAND THE PRINCIPLES  OF THE PANOPTICON
•UNDERSTAND MICHEL FOUCAULT’S CONCEPT OF
DISCIPLINARY SOCIETY.
•CONSIDER THE IDEA THAT DISCIPLINARY SOCIETY IS A WAY OF MAKING INDIVIDUALS ‘PRODUCTIVE’ AND ‘USEFUL’
•UNDERSTAND FOUCAULT’S IDEA OF TECHNIQUES OF THE BODY AND ‘DOCILE’ BODIES
MICHEL FOUCAULT

Michel Foucault is a 20th century french philosopher and social theorist, his work is focused on institutional power and this is outline in the two books he has published the two books being:

(1926-1984)

•Madness & Civilisation
•Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison
These two books outline,considered and differentiated the difference better sanity and insanity between normality and abnormality etc.
THE GREAT CONFINEMENT  (late 1600s)

(late 1600s) ‘Houses of correction’ was created  to curb unemployment and idleness’. Those who were considered as the village idiots, alcoholics, beggars those of whom were different from society who were previously called the ‘mad’ were sent to the house of correction. In the great confinement these village idiots and co. were now required to contribute to society and work in the same manner ie. conduct manual labour within the house of correction as a technique of moral reform , this was due to new sensibilities being emerged and people valuing productivity. Now that the these people were separate from society into the ‘House of Correction’ there was a sense of normality and abnormality being distinguished in society.

THE BIRTH OF THE ASYLUM (1700s)

Screen Shot 2013-10-19 at 18.51.36

Later on in the 1700 is became apparent that putting all of these abnormal people together had a negative spiral, the village idiots were influencing the alchoholics, the alcoholics were passing on there negative tendencies to the beggars and vice-versa. It was then suggested and carried forward that the best thing to do from here would be to send the each type of abnormal group into a different house depending on what they made. This separation created the emergence of forms of knowledge eg. biology, psychiatry, medicine which ultimately legitimised the practices of hospitals, doctors, psychiatrist.

DISCIPLINARY SOCIET & DISCIPLINARY POWER  

Discipline is a ‘technology’ [aimed at] ‘how to keep someone under surveillance, how to control his conduct, his behaviour, his aptitudes, how to improve his performance, multiply his capacities, how to put him where he is most useful: that is discipline in my sense’ (Foucault,1981 in O’Farrrell 2005:102)

PANOPTICISM 

panopticon

The panopticon was designed by Jeremy Bentham in 1791, the panopticon is designed so that each individual internalises in there conscious state  in order to maximise efficiency of work. The basic idea of the panopticon was make the individual feel as though they were being watched all the time from the watch tower to maximise there productivity of manual labour (each individual did not know whether there was a guard watching them or not) however the thought of being watched internalised there conscious state to tell them to be productive as they were perceivably being watched.  Although the panopticon were not built in Jeremy Bentham’s time they were built much later when referring to panopticism Jeremy Bentham is almost referred to as the theorist of the idea.

The way panopticon is evident in our society today:
Screen Shot 2013-10-19 at 21.42.21 Screen Shot 2013-10-19 at 21.42.28 Screen Shot 2013-10-19 at 21.42.34
What panopticism does:
•Allows scrutiny
•Allows supervisor to experiment on subjects
•Aims to make them productive
•Its intention is to increase productivity through internalisation
•Reforms prisoners
•Helps treat patients
•Helps instruct schoolchildren
•Helps confine, but also study the insane
•Helps supervise workers
•Helps put beggars and idlers to work.
What Foucault is describing is a transformation in Western societies from a form of power imposed by a ‘ruler’ or ‘sovereign’ to……….. A NEW MODE OF POWER CALLED “PANOPTICISM”
The ‘panopticon’ is a model of how modern society organises its knowledge, its power, its surveillance of bodies and its ‘training’ of bodies.’

 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN POWER KNOWLEDGE & THE BODY 

Disciplinary Society produces what Foucault calls:- ‘docile bodies’.
•Self monitoring
•Self-correcting
•Obedient bodies
Disciplinary Techniques:“That the techniques of discipline and ‘gentle punishment’ have crossed the threshold from work to play shows how pervasive they have become within modern western societies” (Danaher, Schirato & Webb 2000)

FOUCAULT & POWER
•His definition is not a top-down model as with Marxism
•power is not a thing or a capacity people have – it is a relation  between different individuals and groups, and only exists when it is being exercised.
• The exercise of power relies on there being the capacity for power to be resisted
•‘Where there is power there is resistance’
Advertisements