Power & FreedomMichel Foucault The Body of the Condemned (Political Science 506)
Michel Foucault • Social theorist & critic • 1926-1984 • “Critical history” of modernity • Postmodernism & poststructuralism • Left-wing politics • Madness & Civilization • Discipline & Punish • The History of Sexuality • First major figure in France to die of complications from HIV/AIDS
Discipline • Causing people to behave in particular ways • Can be via punishment, the threat of punishment, surveillance, or reward • Old types of discipline rooted in spectacle, personal power • Foucault argues that modern discipline is based in surveillance, and takes place in private • Power omnipresent, and need never be exercised • Prisons, schools, hospitals, militaries, factories are interacting institutions that rely on identical forms of discipline, creating individuals who act in cooperation for maximal economic productivity • Modern punishment disciplines individuals by working on their souls • Not preventing particular bad acts, but creating a desired kind of person
Disciplines • Individuating • Name & define individuals for treatment • Normal • Interlocking, the network of disciplines works together to create an edifice of power through omnipresent surveillance, the “panopticon” • Martial discipline • Psychology • Biology • Penal philosophy • Medicine & health • Sexuality • Sociology • Ethics • Etc. etc. etc.
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?