Monday, 17 October 2011

Lecture 1 : Panopticism

Panopticism, Institutions and institutional power.

Literature, art and their respective producers do not exist independently of a complex institutional framework which authorises enables and 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 And Chaplin 1999)
1792 – Panopticon – Building that is used for social control. Jeremy Bendon

This building has the same principles of control as our society has the same principles of control.

Michel Foucault- Died from Aids, Frenchman, 1926-1984
-Madness and civilisation, Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison.

Madness, insanity, the village idiot etc, were socially accepted and used within society for what they were. Up until the early 1600’s.

Those who couldn’t work or weren’t useful to society were shunned to one side, The great confinement, was a project working to separate criminals, the insane, the poor and unemployed, single mothers (Anyone who couldn’t be put into work) were placed in these houses of correction.

They were put to work, facing the consequence of being beaten if the work wasn’t completed. Rather than making people socially productive, the houses of correction corrupted people more.

After the houses of correction, certain other affiliations started to appear, this is when Asylums started to appear. Knowledge specialists, taking on the status of being able to stand above others and have the ability to judge people for their uses. 1700’s.

At this time all different forms of knowledge emerge, biology psychiatry, medicine etc, legitimise/support/protect these institutions. They provide backing for the shift from physical to mental control. People who acted socially unacceptable were made a public mockery of (Put in shackles etc) This was not to shock or punish you but to expose the message that if others acted in the same way they would be humiliated. To be made an example of.

Disciplinary society and disciplinary power.Discipline is a technology aimed at how to keep someone under surveillance, how to control conduct, his behaviour, his aptitudes, how to improve his performances, multiply his capacities, how to put him where he is most useful.

The Panopticon-Designed 1791
Alike to a prison, spherically shaped so that the prisoners were always backlit by sunlight when encase in their cells.

The ideal mechanism for disciplinary power. Each prisoner separated in his cell can constantly see the middle tower, so they are constantly aware that they are being watched. However they cannot see each other, the only visible thing would be the middle tower, this created the illusion that knowing that you are being constantly watched but not being able to verify this has an unusual effect on the body. It makes you behave, how you think the person watching you would want you to behave, therefore not stepping out of line.

People started to mentally control themselves, and discipline their actions, Controlling themselves rather than being controlled.

Allows scrutiny, Allows supervisor to experiment on subjects, aims to make them more productive.

-Reforms prisoners
-Helps treat patients
-helps instruct school children
-Helps confine, but also study the insane,
-Helps supervise workers.
-helps to reform beggars to work.

The Panopticon reflects on society today, for example educational and work environments imitate the same principles the panopticon used. Its about training people to act a certain way, or getting to people to train themselves in respect to discipline.

In the modern world principles of the Panopticon can be seen from institute to institute, At work an open plan office can relate to the Panopticon because it gives the boss/leader superior power over his/her workers being able to monitor their progress from day to day.

Panoptisim-The act of controlling yourself in relation to behaviour.

The fear of being caught out makes us act much more responsibly because we face the illusion that we are constantly being watched.

Relationship between power, knowledge and the body.

Power relations have an immediate hold up it (the body), they invest it, mark it, train it, torture it, force it to carry out tasks to perform ceremonies.  Disiplinary society produces what Foucault calls – ‘Docile Bodies.’

-Self Monitoring
-Self correcting
-Obedient Bodies

Foucault and 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment