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Foucault- The Surveillance Society

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Cierra Stein

on 17 April 2013

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Transcript of Foucault- The Surveillance Society

Michel Foucault The Surveillance Society Main Concepts Discussion Questions Panopticon Governmentality Background Introduction Born: October 15, 1926

French Philosopher, Social Theorist, & Historian of Ideas

Attended Lycée Henri-IV in Paris and École Normale Supérièure d’Ulm

Influenced by Nietzsche and Kant

Professor at Collége de France

The History of Sexuality (1976)
The Care of the Self (1984)
The Use of Pleasure (1984)

Forerunner to post modernism... rejects finding origins and focus on discontinuity Definition: practices and techniques by which control is maintained over people
Discipline and Punish is non-state related

Torture replaced by rules regarding criminals
greater positive effects
-imposed early
-taught and retaught
-associated with rationalization and bureaucratization
-maintains entire population regularly Definition: A structure that allows someone in power the ability to completely observe a group of people Increasing Technology
---Urban panopticism
Surveillance cameras, traffic cameras, internet tracking, drones, etc.
Selling financial/personal information
Patriot Act, Security in Britain, etc.
Imposing on general privacy
Endless examples!

-Bottom line=increasing technology causes people to monitor and impose rules on themselves
Is this actually a move forward??? 1. What do you think about Foucault's argument that forms of social control in today's society are more effective and also more constraining to freedom than the old methods of discipline and punishment?
2. In what ways do we, as a society, participate in our own oppression?
3. What other changes have occurred in society, other than increased surveillance, as a result of new technologies?
4. What do you think about the future of punishment? How do you think our society will progress to further technological surveillance? What kind of reform will occur?
Social Issue Panopticon Discipline & Punishishment 3 basic instruments to exercise control:
hierarchical observation=ability for officials at top to see all they control with a single gaze
normalizing judgments=people in power decide what is normal and those who violate the norms are punished
examinations=observe and judge actions of insubordinates Instruments applied:
1. Hierarchical observation=possibility that the subordinates may be being watched at any time
2. Normalizing judgments=focus on time or specific behaviors for activity of offenders
3. Examination=checking up on subordinates and assessing what they have done Increasing Power Better methods=ability to punish people has INCREASED


Pervasive and insidious without a humanization of punishment
Is this really humane?

Now seeing discipline shift into other areas of society...many other settings imitate prison system
schools, hospitals, malls, etc. People are not going to commit crime if they know they are being watched Jeremy Bentham
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