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Michel Foucault: Discipline & Punish

Zaradi
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12/4/2012 1:12:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Does anyone know Foucault well enough to Foucault's point about panopticism to me? I'm trying to do research for the new LD topic and a friend of mine (TOC Qualifier) recommended Foucault to me, but I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around what she's trying to say. I'm getting that she's advocating for some sort of system of rehabilitation where the observers can observe all the rehab-mates at any time, yet never be seen themselves, but I don't understand what the implications of this or why we would implement this.
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Cody_Franklin
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12/4/2012 1:23:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
It stems from Jeremy Bentham's concept of the panopticon, a type of prison with a very peculiar design: http://philosophyforchange.files.wordpress.com...

Essentially, it's a spherical prison in which each cell faces a central surveillance tower from which monitors may gaze on any prisoner (hence "panopticon"--"pan", for all, plus "optic", for sight). In this building, the potential for being watched gradually starts to regulate inmates' behavior to such an extent that, whether they are being watched or not, they behave in a particular fashion as a consequence of having internalized the norms in correspondence with which they are being monitored (hence the notion of "self-government").

Foucault, tracing out a genealogy of certain technologies and techniques of discipline, notes the potential for this very sort of regulation at the level of particular populations (e.g., students, prisoners, camp inmates, the infirm), which ties discipline immediately to bio-power, but also to pastoral power, according to which the shepherd must not only manage the flock as such, but also attend to the particular needs of each individual member of that flock, thereby joining homeostatic regulation with disciplinary techniques designed to produce individual subjects.
Zaradi
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12/4/2012 1:34:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Couldn't someone then use that as a justification for an omniscient, totalitarian government as a way to end all crime?
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Cody_Franklin
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12/4/2012 1:36:14 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
What is, by the way, particularly interesting is that, according to Foucault, panoptic design is such that there never actually has to be anyone in the central tower for exercises of power to be internalized by the surveilled, making it a self-sustaining kind of power which subjects willingly exercise over themselves.
Cody_Franklin
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12/4/2012 1:38:08 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/4/2012 1:34:50 PM, Zaradi wrote:
Couldn't someone then use that as a justification for an omniscient, totalitarian government as a way to end all crime?

If by "could", you mean "already have and do", then yes. I guess you aren't familiar with the state of surveillance and data-mining technologies, are you? :P
Zaradi
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12/4/2012 1:40:31 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/4/2012 1:38:08 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:34:50 PM, Zaradi wrote:
Couldn't someone then use that as a justification for an omniscient, totalitarian government as a way to end all crime?

If by "could", you mean "already have and do", then yes. I guess you aren't familiar with the state of surveillance and data-mining technologies, are you? :P

No I'm perfectly aware of that :P I'm just thinking about how I would counter that point seeing as people have the general consensus that totalitarian governments are bad.
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Cody_Franklin
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12/4/2012 1:42:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/4/2012 1:40:31 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:38:08 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:34:50 PM, Zaradi wrote:
Couldn't someone then use that as a justification for an omniscient, totalitarian government as a way to end all crime?

If by "could", you mean "already have and do", then yes. I guess you aren't familiar with the state of surveillance and data-mining technologies, are you? :P

No I'm perfectly aware of that :P I'm just thinking about how I would counter that point seeing as people have the general consensus that totalitarian governments are bad.

Well, you can't. Not convincingly.
Zaradi
Posts: 14,123
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12/4/2012 1:50:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/4/2012 1:42:01 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:40:31 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:38:08 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:34:50 PM, Zaradi wrote:
Couldn't someone then use that as a justification for an omniscient, totalitarian government as a way to end all crime?

If by "could", you mean "already have and do", then yes. I guess you aren't familiar with the state of surveillance and data-mining technologies, are you? :P

No I'm perfectly aware of that :P I'm just thinking about how I would counter that point seeing as people have the general consensus that totalitarian governments are bad.

Well, you can't. Not convincingly.

Fun. Guess I better start prepping those "Totalitarian Governments Good" arguments.
Want to debate? Pick a topic and hit me up! - http://www.debate.org...
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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12/4/2012 1:55:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/4/2012 1:50:43 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:42:01 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:40:31 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:38:08 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:34:50 PM, Zaradi wrote:
Couldn't someone then use that as a justification for an omniscient, totalitarian government as a way to end all crime?

If by "could", you mean "already have and do", then yes. I guess you aren't familiar with the state of surveillance and data-mining technologies, are you? :P

No I'm perfectly aware of that :P I'm just thinking about how I would counter that point seeing as people have the general consensus that totalitarian governments are bad.

Well, you can't. Not convincingly.

Fun. Guess I better start prepping those "Totalitarian Governments Good" arguments.

As long as you aren't trying to use Foucault at the same time. Anyone who knows what they're doing would murder you, bring you back to life, and murder you a second time.
Zaradi
Posts: 14,123
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12/4/2012 2:07:57 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/4/2012 1:55:39 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:50:43 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:42:01 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:40:31 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:38:08 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:34:50 PM, Zaradi wrote:
Couldn't someone then use that as a justification for an omniscient, totalitarian government as a way to end all crime?

If by "could", you mean "already have and do", then yes. I guess you aren't familiar with the state of surveillance and data-mining technologies, are you? :P

No I'm perfectly aware of that :P I'm just thinking about how I would counter that point seeing as people have the general consensus that totalitarian governments are bad.

Well, you can't. Not convincingly.

Fun. Guess I better start prepping those "Totalitarian Governments Good" arguments.

As long as you aren't trying to use Foucault at the same time. Anyone who knows what they're doing would murder you, bring you back to life, and murder you a second time.

Well that's joyous.
Want to debate? Pick a topic and hit me up! - http://www.debate.org...
YYW
Posts: 36,242
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12/4/2012 5:16:19 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/4/2012 1:23:40 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
It stems from Jeremy Bentham's concept of the panopticon, a type of prison with a very peculiar design: http://philosophyforchange.files.wordpress.com...

Yes.

Essentially, it's a spherical prison in which each cell faces a central surveillance tower from which monitors may gaze on any prisoner (hence "panopticon"--"pan", for all, plus "optic", for sight). In this building, the potential for being watched gradually starts to regulate inmates' behavior to such an extent that, whether they are being watched or not, they behave in a particular fashion as a consequence of having internalized the norms in correspondence with which they are being monitored (hence the notion of "self-government").

Well, the idea is that observation, the fact that the prisoners are at once cognizant of the fact that they could be observed and that they cannot know when they are being observed, is a means of regulating behavior. This is also something Foucault explores in Madness and Civilization.

Foucault, tracing out a genealogy of certain technologies and techniques of discipline, notes the potential for this very sort of regulation at the level of particular populations (e.g., students, prisoners, camp inmates, the infirm), which ties discipline immediately to bio-power, but also to pastoral power, according to which the shepherd must not only manage the flock as such, but also attend to the particular needs of each individual member of that flock, thereby joining homeostatic regulation with disciplinary techniques designed to produce individual subjects.

Pastoral power is one aspect of what Foucault is talking about, but that's not all of it. And "regulation" isn't so much a word I would use. Granted, the architecture of power is something that he widely focuses on, but the idea of the panopticon is to stress the impact of power as is exercised, and the process of subjectification.
YYW
Posts: 36,242
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12/4/2012 5:20:34 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/4/2012 1:34:50 PM, Zaradi wrote:
Couldn't someone then use that as a justification for an omniscient, totalitarian government as a way to end all crime?

One of the chilling aspects of Foucault is his admission that power, as it is exercised, is productive. The redemption in that though is that Foucault, in his work, is arguing that in and by the "suspension" of the microphysical aspects of power which make us subjects, there is an opportunity for experimentation, for innovation, for the trying of something new. So, where Nietzsche argued that when we remember pain the "lessons" of pain are burned into our consciousness (in GM), Foucault is saying that by transgressing the present (for which there is a history that he endeavored to -I think rather successfully- chart) we open the prospect for something better.
YYW
Posts: 36,242
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12/4/2012 5:22:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/4/2012 1:36:14 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
What is, by the way, particularly interesting is that, according to Foucault, panoptic design is such that there never actually has to be anyone in the central tower for exercises of power to be internalized by the surveilled, making it a self-sustaining kind of power which subjects willingly exercise over themselves.

Well, Foucault would actually argue that the hight of the manifestation of power is when the subject monitors himself, observes his own behavior, internalizes his own subjectification.
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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12/4/2012 11:30:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/4/2012 5:22:35 PM, YYW wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:36:14 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
What is, by the way, particularly interesting is that, according to Foucault, panoptic design is such that there never actually has to be anyone in the central tower for exercises of power to be internalized by the surveilled, making it a self-sustaining kind of power which subjects willingly exercise over themselves.

Well, Foucault would actually argue that the hight of the manifestation of power is when the subject monitors himself, observes his own behavior, internalizes his own subjectification.

Pretty sure that's what I said.
Cody_Franklin
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12/4/2012 11:46:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/4/2012 5:20:34 PM, YYW wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:34:50 PM, Zaradi wrote:
Couldn't someone then use that as a justification for an omniscient, totalitarian government as a way to end all crime?

One of the chilling aspects of Foucault is his admission that power, as it is exercised, is productive.

Uh, yeah. Because it produces subjects. Biopower, conversely, is targeted toward a "productive relation with life" at the level of population, given that the state takes the care of biological necessity as one of its principal task. It's not as if he gives that a positive connotation. He argues that governmentality regards its subjects as members of a national household (which, following Agamben, is the consequence of a politicization of zoe in its exposure to unmediated power to sovereign power), and, more precisely, as a biological body in need of constant purification, both from foreign entities and internal threats--hence the problems of state racism which he identifies as stemming from the application of biopower through techniques of subject-producing discipline (given that subject production is a mode of identification, which itself opens a space for exclusion).

The redemption in that though is that Foucault, in his work, is arguing that in and by the "suspension" of the microphysical aspects of power which make us subjects, there is an opportunity for experimentation, for innovation, for the trying of something new. So, where Nietzsche argued that when we remember pain the "lessons" of pain are burned into our consciousness (in GM), Foucault is saying that by transgressing the present (for which there is a history that he endeavored to -I think rather successfully- chart) we open the prospect for something better.

Well, Foucault never really argued for a "suspension" of aspects of power--Foucault recognized, as Peter Gratton argues in The State of Sovereignty, that we always already exercise power in most of the actions that we take, particularly insofar as subjectivity is constituted through an experience of different kinds of power relations. Even an experience of freedom, for Foucault, is an experience of the exercise of a particular sort of power, or at least of a category of powers. Foucault does gesture somewhat to a "right to be different" beyond the reach of sovereignty and particular technologies of power, but it's one whose character was never conceptualized in full. Really, the reason that Foucault stresses thought and criticism--and employs genealogy and archaeology so often as his methods--is precisely to remind us of the necessary difficulty of experiencing freedom a a resistance to, rather than a suspension of power (as indicated by his suggestion of a certain "recalcitrance of the will", though the focus on will stands in some contrast to his quasi-rejection of sovereign subjectivity, given the at least partial construction of subjectivity through power, which understanding of freedom Foucault is careful to distinguish from an understanding of such as recalcitrance).
Cody_Franklin
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12/5/2012 12:01:43 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Wow. I didn't even see this post. I may be mentally handicapped.

At 12/4/2012 5:16:19 PM, YYW wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:23:40 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
It stems from Jeremy Bentham's concept of the panopticon, a type of prison with a very peculiar design: http://philosophyforchange.files.wordpress.com...

Yes.

Essentially, it's a spherical prison in which each cell faces a central surveillance tower from which monitors may gaze on any prisoner (hence "panopticon"--"pan", for all, plus "optic", for sight). In this building, the potential for being watched gradually starts to regulate inmates' behavior to such an extent that, whether they are being watched or not, they behave in a particular fashion as a consequence of having internalized the norms in correspondence with which they are being monitored (hence the notion of "self-government").

Well, the idea is that observation, the fact that the prisoners are at once cognizant of the fact that they could be observed and that they cannot know when they are being observed, is a means of regulating behavior. This is also something Foucault explores in Madness and Civilization.

Yep. That's what I said.

Foucault, tracing out a genealogy of certain technologies and techniques of discipline, notes the potential for this very sort of regulation at the level of particular populations (e.g., students, prisoners, camp inmates, the infirm), which ties discipline immediately to bio-power, but also to pastoral power, according to which the shepherd must not only manage the flock as such, but also attend to the particular needs of each individual member of that flock, thereby joining homeostatic regulation with disciplinary techniques designed to produce individual subjects.

Pastoral power is one aspect of what Foucault is talking about, but that's not all of it. And "regulation" isn't so much a word I would use. Granted, the architecture of power is something that he widely focuses on, but the idea of the panopticon is to stress the impact of power as is exercised, and the process of subjectification.

Well, there are exercises of power, technologies of power, techniques of power, etc. The reason I invoke pastoral power is because it's the nexus of disciplinary and regulatory techniques ("regulation" being the term I think Foucault uses in his 1970s lectures)--doing a little bit of political theology, the notion of the pastor stems from the notion of the shepherd, who looks out for his flock--regulation as a form of power focuses on care for the entire flock as such, i.e., for the population. Enter the metaphors of the national household, or the nation as a biological body in need of defense (hence, biopolitics); however, in addition to regulating the well-being of the group, the shepherd must also know and attend to the needs of each particular individual in that flock, which administration is carried out through technologies and techniques of discipline (among others), given that discipline, operating at the level of the individual, produces and monitors the subjects whose needs are attended to. The panopticon, seeking to manage some population for whatever reason, operates through X techniques of power, e.g., surveillance, which self-sustain through the particular structure of the given technology (i.e., through its capacity to induce self-government in subjects via internalization of those norms in whose name power governs).
YYW
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12/5/2012 9:17:23 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/4/2012 11:46:36 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 12/4/2012 5:20:34 PM, YYW wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:34:50 PM, Zaradi wrote:
Couldn't someone then use that as a justification for an omniscient, totalitarian government as a way to end all crime?

One of the chilling aspects of Foucault is his admission that power, as it is exercised, is productive.

Uh, yeah. Because it produces subjects. Biopower, conversely, is targeted toward a "productive relation with life" at the level of population, given that the state takes the care of biological necessity as one of its principal task. It's not as if he gives that a positive connotation. He argues that governmentality regards its subjects as members of a national household (which, following Agamben, is the consequence of a politicization of zoe in its exposure to unmediated power to sovereign power), and, more precisely, as a biological body in need of constant purification, both from foreign entities and internal threats--hence the problems of state racism which he identifies as stemming from the application of biopower through techniques of subject-producing discipline (given that subject production is a mode of identification, which itself opens a space for exclusion).

The redemption in that though is that Foucault, in his work, is arguing that in and by the "suspension" of the microphysical aspects of power which make us subjects, there is an opportunity for experimentation, for innovation, for the trying of something new. So, where Nietzsche argued that when we remember pain the "lessons" of pain are burned into our consciousness (in GM), Foucault is saying that by transgressing the present (for which there is a history that he endeavored to -I think rather successfully- chart) we open the prospect for something better.

Well, Foucault never really argued for a "suspension" of aspects of power--Foucault recognized, as Peter Gratton argues in The State of Sovereignty, that we always already exercise power in most of the actions that we take, particularly insofar as subjectivity is constituted through an experience of different kinds of power relations. Even an experience of freedom, for Foucault, is an experience of the exercise of a particular sort of power, or at least of a category of powers. Foucault does gesture somewhat to a "right to be different" beyond the reach of sovereignty and particular technologies of power, but it's one whose character was never conceptualized in full. Really, the reason that Foucault stresses thought and criticism--and employs genealogy and archaeology so often as his methods--is precisely to remind us of the necessary difficulty of experiencing freedom a a resistance to, rather than a suspension of power (as indicated by his suggestion of a certain "recalcitrance of the will", though the focus on will stands in some contrast to his quasi-rejection of sovereign subjectivity, given the at least partial construction of subjectivity through power, which understanding of freedom Foucault is careful to distinguish from an understanding of such as recalcitrance).

Read the final chapter of History of Sexuality Vol. 1. and Foucualt's essay published in the early 1980s, "The Subject and Power." That should clear things up.
Cody_Franklin
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12/5/2012 1:56:05 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/5/2012 9:17:23 AM, YYW wrote:
At 12/4/2012 11:46:36 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 12/4/2012 5:20:34 PM, YYW wrote:
At 12/4/2012 1:34:50 PM, Zaradi wrote:
Couldn't someone then use that as a justification for an omniscient, totalitarian government as a way to end all crime?

One of the chilling aspects of Foucault is his admission that power, as it is exercised, is productive.

Uh, yeah. Because it produces subjects. Biopower, conversely, is targeted toward a "productive relation with life" at the level of population, given that the state takes the care of biological necessity as one of its principal task. It's not as if he gives that a positive connotation. He argues that governmentality regards its subjects as members of a national household (which, following Agamben, is the consequence of a politicization of zoe in its exposure to unmediated power to sovereign power), and, more precisely, as a biological body in need of constant purification, both from foreign entities and internal threats--hence the problems of state racism which he identifies as stemming from the application of biopower through techniques of subject-producing discipline (given that subject production is a mode of identification, which itself opens a space for exclusion).

The redemption in that though is that Foucault, in his work, is arguing that in and by the "suspension" of the microphysical aspects of power which make us subjects, there is an opportunity for experimentation, for innovation, for the trying of something new. So, where Nietzsche argued that when we remember pain the "lessons" of pain are burned into our consciousness (in GM), Foucault is saying that by transgressing the present (for which there is a history that he endeavored to -I think rather successfully- chart) we open the prospect for something better.

Well, Foucault never really argued for a "suspension" of aspects of power--Foucault recognized, as Peter Gratton argues in The State of Sovereignty, that we always already exercise power in most of the actions that we take, particularly insofar as subjectivity is constituted through an experience of different kinds of power relations. Even an experience of freedom, for Foucault, is an experience of the exercise of a particular sort of power, or at least of a category of powers. Foucault does gesture somewhat to a "right to be different" beyond the reach of sovereignty and particular technologies of power, but it's one whose character was never conceptualized in full. Really, the reason that Foucault stresses thought and criticism--and employs genealogy and archaeology so often as his methods--is precisely to remind us of the necessary difficulty of experiencing freedom a a resistance to, rather than a suspension of power (as indicated by his suggestion of a certain "recalcitrance of the will", though the focus on will stands in some contrast to his quasi-rejection of sovereign subjectivity, given the at least partial construction of subjectivity through power, which understanding of freedom Foucault is careful to distinguish from an understanding of such as recalcitrance).

Read the final chapter of History of Sexuality Vol. 1. and Foucualt's essay published in the early 1980s, "The Subject and Power." That should clear things up.

Well, I'm pretty sure I'm correct on this. In part, I was referring to Subject and Power in the point about a right to be different/a right beyond sovereignty. But, I'll have to reread. Better scholars than I have made worse mistakes.