Panoptic Discipline Essay, Research Paper
In Michael Foiucault?s ?Panopticism? he breaks down our social/economical systems and explains societies mentality on the law system. He answers the ?why?s? in the way certain individuals act and think as they do. Many times his explanation is very much branched off of J. Bentham?s ?Panopticon?. In one paragraph of ?Panopticism?, a disciplinary mechanism is described, which is considered the best way for one to be punished, in that new knowledge and learning is gained by every individual.
In this paragraph on page 316, Foucault explains how he feels a person should be disciplined and he looks at it from many different angles. ?This enclosed, segmented space, observed at every point, in which the individuals are inserted in a fixed place, in which the slightest movements are supervised, in which all events are recorded in which an uninterrupted work of writing links the center and periphery, in which power is exercised without division, according to a continuous hierarchical figure, in which each individual is constantly located, examined, and distributed among the living beings, the sick, and the dead-all this constitutes a compact model of the disciplinary mechanism.? In this first sentence of the paragraph a description of how closely watched and evaluated the individuals are. All movements all actions everything would be analyzed. This is how he feels a disciplinary mechanism should be and is a key model for all to follow. In disciplining that way it would make the individual a better person, ?excercising power without division? is an example.
?The plague is met by order; its function is to sort out every possible confusion: that of the disease, which is transmitted when bodies are mixed together; that of the evil, which is increased when fear and death overcome prohibitions.? Disease, definatly a confusion in our society when two or more people come together. Evil becomes very overwelming when it can not be controlled or prevented. With the help of this plague everything becomes more controlled.
?It lays down for each individual his place, his body, his disease, and his death, his wellbeing, by means of an omnipresent and omniscient power that subdivides itself in a regular, uninterrupted way even to the ultimate determination of the individual, of what characterizes him, of what belongs to him, of what happens to him.? The plague serves as a sort of god to the individual. It breaks everything down and as described is an ?omnipresent and omniscient power?. Acts as it is keeping an eye on the individual to sort of test and see how he/she would react knowing that they are being watched regardless of what they believe in or know… just how they would adapt to their own surroundings.
?Against the plague, which is a mixture, discipline brings into play its power, which is one of analysis.? In this fourth sentence it describes how analyzation is the stregnth of what is considered power. Learning can only make you more intelligent and the more you know the broader your understanding would be which in a mental state would make you stronger. ?A whole literary fiction of the festival grew up around the plague: suspended laws, lifted prospect, individuals unmasked, abandoning their statutory identity and the figure under which they had been recognized, allowing a quite different truth to appear?. When the idividuals were in this plague they began acting different. They were changing their personalities to fit into this containment, as I said earlier, trying to adapt to thier envrionments.
But their was also a political dream of the plague, which was exactly its reverse: not the collective festival, but strict divisions; not laws transgressed, but the penetration of regulation into even the smallest details of everyday life through the meditation of the complete hierarchy that assured the capillary functioning of power; not masks that were put on and taken off, but the assignment to each individual of his ?true? name, his ?true? place, his ?true? body, his ?true? disease.? This sentence in the paragraph is talking about a totally different side the of the plague, the ?political side?. Instead of analyizing individuals use the force out of the power to handle these individuals. This was the dream of many that instead of interaction total integration and strict regulation of everything done.
?The plague as a form, at once real and imaginary, of disorder had as its medical correlative disciple. Behind the disciplinary mechanisms can be read the haunting memory of ?contagions,? of the plague, of rebellions, crimes, vagabondage, desertions, people who appear and disappear, live and die in disorder.? The plague can be used as an effective way to discipline, it is how we would use it that has an effect on if ever it would be possible.
Foucault, Michel. ?Panopticism.? Ways of reading. Ed. David Bartholomae Boston:Bedford/St. Martins, 1999 314-42