Foucault Disciplinary Power

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Foucault Disciplinary Power



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Foucault on Power (1981)

At one extreme, the discipline-blockade, the enclosed institution, established on the edges of society, turned inwards towards negative functions: arresting evil, breaking communications, suspending time. At the other extreme, with panopticism, is the discipline-mechanism: a functional mechanism that must improve the exercise of power by making it lighter, more rapid, more effective, a design of subtle coercion for a society to come. The movement from one project to the other, from a schema of exceptional discipline to one of a generalized surveillance, rests on a historical transformation: the gradual extension of the mechanisms of discipline throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, their spread throughout the whole social body, the formation of what might be called in general the disciplinary society.

A whole disciplinary generalization — the Benthamite physics of power represents an acknowledgement of this — had operated throughout the classical age. But this extension of the disciplinary institutions was no doubt only the most visible aspect of various, more profound processes. The functional inversion of the disciplines. The disciplines function increasingly as techniques for making useful individuals.

Hence the slow loosening of their kinship with religious regularities and enclosures. Hence also their rooting in the most important, most central and most productive sectors of society. They become attached to some of the great essential functions: factory production, the transmission of knowledge, the diffusion of aptitudes and skills, the war-machine. Hence, too, the double tendency one sees developing throughout the eighteenth century to increase the number of disciplinary institutions and to discipline the existing apparatuses.

The swarming of disciplinary mechanisms. Thus the Christian School must not simply train docile children; it must also make it possible to supervise the parents, to gain information as to their way of life, their resources, their piety, their morals. Similarly, the hospital is increasingly conceived of as a base for the medical observation of the population outside; after the burning down of the Hotel-Dieu in , there were several demands that the large buildings, so heavy and so disordered, should be replaced by a series of smaller hospitals; their function would be to take in the sick of the quarter, but also to gather information, to be alert to any endemic or epidemic phenomena, to open dispensaries, to give advice to the inhabitants and to keep the authorities informed ,of the sanitary state of the region.

One also sees the spread of disciplinary procedures, not in the form of enclosed institutions, but as centres of observation disseminated throughout society. From the Counter-Reformation to the philanthropy of the July monarchy, initiatives of this type continued to increase; their aims were religious conversion and moralization , economic aid and encouragement to work or political the struggle against discontent or agitation. One has only to cite by way of example the regulations for the charity associations in the Paris parishes. The territory to be covered was divided into quarters and cantons and the members of the associations divided themselves up along the same lines.

These members had to visit their respective areas regularly. Whether there is peace between them and their neighbours, whether they are careful to bring up their children in the fear of God, whether they do not have their older children of different sexes sleeping together and with them, whether they do not allow licentiousness and cajolery in their families, especially in their older daughters. The state-control of the mechanisms of discipline. In England, it was private religious groups that carried out, for a long time, the functions of social discipline cf. Radzinovitz, ; in France, although a part of this role remained in the hands of parish guilds or charity associations, another — and no doubt the most important part— was very soon taken over by the police apparatus.

And, in order to be exercised, this power had to be given the instrument of permanent, exhaustive, omnipresent surveillance, capable of making all visible, as long as it could itself remain invisible. And this unceasing observation had to be accumulated in a series of reports and registers; throughout the eighteenth century, an immense police text increasingly covered society by means of a complex documentary organization on the police registers in the eighteenth century, cf. In short, the eighteenth-century police added a disciplinary function to its role as the auxiliary of justice in the pursuit of criminals and as an instrument for the political supervision of plots, opposition movements or revolts. The organization of the police apparatus in the eighteenth century sanctioned a generalization of the disciplines that became co-extensive with the state itself.

In appearance, it is merely the solution of a technical problem; but, through it, a whole type of society emerges. Antiquity had been a civilization of spectacle. With spectacle, there was a predominance of public life, the intensity of festivals, sensual proximity. We are much less Greeks than we believe. We are neither in the amphitheatre, nor on the stage, but in the panoptic machine, invested by its effects of power which we bring to ourselves since we are part of its mechanism. At the moment of its full blossoming, the disciplinary society still assumes with the Emperor the old aspect of the power of spectacle. Generally speaking, it might be said that the disciplines are techniques for assuring the ordering of human multiplicities.

It is true that there is nothing exceptional or even characteristic in this; every system of power is presented with the same problem. This triple objective of the disciplines corresponds to a well-known historical conjuncture. The development of the disciplinary methods corresponded to these two processes, or rather, no doubt, to the new need to adjust their correlation. It must also master all the forces that are formed from the very constitution of an organized multiplicity; it must neutralize the effects of counter-power that spring from them and which form a resistance to the power that wishes to dominate it: agitations, revolts, spontaneous organizations, coalitions — anything that may establish horizontal conjunctions.

They must also increase the particular utility of each element of the multiplicity, but by means that are the most rapid and the least costly, that is to say, by using the multiplicity itself as an instrument of this growth. Hence, in order to extract from bodies the maximum time and force, the use of those overall methods known as time-tables, collective training, exercises, total and detailed surveillance. In a word, the disciplines are the ensemble of minute technical inventions that made it possible to increase the useful size of multiplicities by decreasing the inconveniences of the power which, in order to make them useful, must control them.

A multiplicity, whether in a workshop or a nation, an army or a school, reaches the threshold of a discipline when the relation of the one to the other becomes favourable. If the economic take-off of the West began with the techniques that made possible the accumulation of capital, it might perhaps be said that the methods for administering the accumulation of men Panopticism made possible a political take-off in relation to the traditional, ritual, costly, violent forms of power, which soon fell into disuse and were superseded by a subtle, calculated technology of subjection.

At a less general level, the technological mutations of the apparatus of production, the division of labour and the elaboration of the disciplinary techniques sustained an ensemble of very close relations cf. Marx, Capital, vol. Each makes the other possible and necessary; each provides a model for the other. But, on the other hand, the technical analysis of the process of production, its mechanical breaking-down, were projected onto the labour force whose task it was to implement it: the constitution of those disciplinary machines in which the individual forces that they bring together are composed into a whole and therefore increased is the effect of this projection.

The panoptic modality of power — at the elementary, technical, merely physical level at which it is situated — is not under the immediate dependence or a direct extension of the great juridico-political structures of a society; it is nonetheless not absolutely independent. Historically, the process by which the bourgeoisie became in the course of the eighteenth century the politically dominant class was masked by the establishment of an explicit, coded and formally egalitarian juridical framework, made possible by the organization of a parliamentary, representative regime. But the development and generalization of disciplinary mechanisms constituted the other, dark side of these processes. The general juridical form that guaranteed a system of rights that were egalitarian in principle was supported by these tiny, everyday, physical mechanisms, by all those systems of micro-power that are essentially non-egalitarian and asymmetrical that we call the disciplines.

And although, in a formal way, the representative regime makes it possible, directly or indirectly, with or without relays, for the will of all to form the fundamental authority of sovereignty, the disciplines provide, at the base, a guarantee of the submission of forces and bodies. The real, corporal disciplines constituted the foundation of the formal, juridical liberties. The contract may have been regarded as the ideal foundation of law and political power; panopticism constituted the technique, universally widespread, of coercion.

It continued to work in depth on the juridical structures of society, in order to make the effective mechanisms of power function in opposition to the formal framework that it had acquired. In appearance, the disciplines constitute nothing more than an infra-law. They seem to constitute the same type of law on a different scale, thereby making it more meticulous and more indulgent. The disciplines should be regarded as a sort of counter-law They have the precise role of introducing insuperable asymmetries and excluding reciprocities. In any case, in the space and during the time in which they exercise their control and bring into play the asymmetries of their power, they effect a suspension of the law that is never total, but is never annulled either.

The minute disciplines, the panopticisms of every day may well be below the level of emergence of the great apparatuses and the great political struggles. But, in the genealogy of modern society, they have been, with the class domination that traverses it, the political counterpart of the juridical norms according to which power was redistributed. Taken one by one, most of these techniques have a long history behind them. But what was new, in the eighteenth century, was that, by being combined and generalized, they attained a level at which the formation of knowledge and the increase of power regularly reinforce one another in a circular process.

The extension of the disciplinary methods is inscribed in a broad historical process: the development at about the same time of many other technologies — agronomical, industrial, economic. But it must be recognized that, compared with the mining industries, the emerging chemical industries or methods of national accountancy, compared with the blast furnaces or the steam engine, panopticism has received little attention.

It is regarded as not much more than a bizarre little utopia, a perverse dream — rather as though Bentham had been the Fourier of a police society, and the Phalanstery had taken on the form of the Panopticon. And yet this represented the abstract formula of a very real technology, that of individuals. An inglorious culmination had an origin that could be only grudgingly acknowledged. They are much less; and yet, in a way, they are much more. If a historical equivalent or at least a point of comparison had to be found for them, it would be rather in the inquisitorial technique. The eighteenth century invented the techniques of discipline and the examination, rather as the Middle Ages invented the judicial investigation.

But it did so by quite different means. The investigation as an authoritarian search for a truth observed or attested was thus opposed to the old procedures of the oath, the ordeal, the judicial duel, the judgement of God or even of the transaction between private individuals. The investigation was the sovereign power arrogating to itself the right to establish the truth by a number of regulated techniques. Now, although the investigation has since then been an integral part of western justice even up to our own day , one must not forget either its political origin, its link with the birth of the states and of monarchical sovereignty, or its later extension and its role in the formation of knowledge.

In fact, the investigation has been the no doubt crude, but fundamental element in the constitution of the empirical sciences; it has been the juridico-political matrix of this experimental knowledge, which, as we know, was very rapidly released at the end of the Middle Ages. It is perhaps true to say that, in Greece, mathematics were born from techniques of measurement; the sciences of nature, in any case, were born, to some extent, at the end of the Middle Ages, from the practices of investigation. But what this politico-juridical, administrative and criminal, religious and lay, investigation was to the sciences of nature, disciplinary analysis has been to the sciences of man.

These investigations are perhaps to psychology, psychiatry, pedagogy, criminology, and so many other strange sciences, what the terrible power of investigation was to the calm knowledge of the animals, the plants or the earth. Another power, another knowledge. On the threshold of the classical age, Bacon, lawyer and statesman, tried to develop a methodology of investigation for the empirical sciences. What Great Observer will produce the methodology of examination for the human sciences? Unless, of course, such a thing is not possible. For, although it is true that, in becoming a technique for the empirical sciences, the investigation has detached itself from the inquisitorial procedure, in which it was historically rooted, the examination has remained extremely close to the disciplinary power that shaped it.

It has always been and still is an intrinsic element of the disciplines. And, in effect, its appearance in the form of tests, interviews, interrogations and consultations is apparently in order to rectify the mechanisms of discipline: educational psychology is supposed to correct the rigours of the school, just as the medical or psychiatric interview is supposed to rectify the effects of the discipline of work. But we must not be misled; these techniques merely refer individuals from one disciplinary authority to another, and they reproduce, in a concentrated or formalized form, the schema of power-knowledge proper to each discipline on this subject, cf.

The great investigation that gave rise to the sciences of nature has become detached from its politico-juridical model; the examination, on the other hand, is still caught up in disciplinary technology. In the Middle Ages, the procedure of investigation gradually superseded the old accusatory justice, by a process initiated from above; the disciplinary technique, on the other hand, insidiously and as if from below, has invaded a penal justice that is still, in principle, inquisitorial. All the great movements of extension that characterize modern penality — the problematization of the criminal behind his crime, the concern with a punishment that is a correction, a therapy, a normalization, the division of the act of judgement between various authorities that are supposed to measure, assess, diagnose, cure, transform individuals — all this betrays the penetration of the disciplinary examination into the judicial inquisition.

The public execution was the logical culmination of a procedure governed by the Inquisition. Is it surprising that the cellular prison, with its regular chronologies, forced labour, its authorities of surveillance and registration, its experts in normality, who continue and multiply the functions of the judge, should have become the modern instrument of penality? Is it surprising that prisons resemble factories, schools, barracks, hospitals, which all resemble prisons?

Bentham, Panopticon, Works, Vol. I believe that teachers need to be made aware of ways to assess students for specific difficulties and then strategies and instructional tools that can help students develop these specific missing skills. Once teachers have access to these tools, they can use Aimsweb to continually progress monitor their students in order to determine if the instruction is working or not.

If a school 's standardized test scores are low, they see the school 's staff as ineffective. This idea begs the question, Are schools focusing more on making sure students learn educational subjects for the real world or making sure that they are prepared to pass a standardized test? The focus of standardized assessments in the classroom seems to be on preparing the students for these types of immense assessments. Essays Essays FlashCards. Browse Essays. Sign in. Essay Sample Check Writing Quality. Show More. Read More. Words: - Pages: 4. Words: - Pages: 5. Words: - Pages: 3. Behaviour Problems In Schools Rogers stated that where a child has inappropriate and dysfunctional patterns of behaviour, teachers work with the child to directly teach new, appropriate self-coping behaviours that will strengthen poor behaviour.

Words: - Pages: 7. Pros And Cons Of Standardized Testing Standardized testing permits school locale to give a similar test to the greater part of the students. Words: - Pages: 6. Skinner Therefore, I will have to find different stimuli to reach out my diverse group of students. Standardized Testing In The Education System If a school 's standardized test scores are low, they see the school 's staff as ineffective. Related Topics. Ready To Get Started? Create Flashcards. Discover Create Flashcards Mobile apps. Follow Facebook Twitter.

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