Michel Foucault and Erving Goffman’s work was centralised around there two different concepts of how your identity is formed through the process of power and expert knowledge. This Essay will discuss the ideas of Michel Foucault who was a French Social Theorist. His theories addressed the relationship between power and knowledge and how both of these are used as a form of social control through society. The essay will look at Foucault’s work in The Body and Sexuality, Madness and Civilisation and Discipline and Punish which displays how he conceptualised Power and identity on a Marxist and macro basis of study. The Essay will also address the Ideas of Erving Goffman who was A Canadian Born Sociologist who’s key study was what
Through the discussion of punishment and its purpose Foucault brings up the idea of normalization. Government and other higher levels of authority have established what they consider to be proper conduct within society. Those who deter from those guidelines are punished.
Throughout the history of civilization, there have been many great thinkers and philosophers who lay claim and offer their theory of the world around them. Michel de Montaigne, a prominent philosopher of the French Renaissance, argued in his essays of the habitual inconsistency of man and how it is nearly impossible for man to correct these everyday irregularities and contradictions. To say that man is flawed and utterly irregular are statements not particularly surprising or revelatory for philosophers to make, even in Montaigne’s time. However, what can be considered unique about Montaigne, aside from his sharp perceptions of the everyday man, are his sharp—and honest—perceptions of himself, never bragging about his intellectual prowess or
Panopticism is a social theory named after the Panopticon, according to Foucault, his describes a watch tower in a prison and he thinks Panopticism is how people act different when they’re being watched. Rayner perspective on Panopticism is how we can use social media to our advantage. In this essay, I will analyze both Foucault and Rayner perspective on Panopticism and will determine the rhetorical appeals of both writings.
Foucault goes through the way governments have attempted to control populations throughout history, and how power has exercised
In Foucault’s account of Biopower, norms and normalization include both discipline and Biopolitics of populations, ie, the social and political regulation. For him, a normalizing society is the historical outcome of a technology of power centred on life. Normalization produces individuals as the counterpart of the operation of norms which is a material artifact of power. In a Biopolitics of population, norms are mobilized in the opposite way, ie, normal comes first and the norm is deduced from it. Thus Biopolitics of populations
Michel Foucault wrote a book called History of Sexuality. In Part five of the book Right of Death and Power over Life, he discusses about the historical “Sovereign Power” where one is allowed to decide who has the right to live and who has the right to die. The sovereign uses his power over life through the deaths that he can command and uses his authority to announce death by the lives he can spare. Foucault then moves on to Disciplinary Power where he came up with the “Panopticon” where one is to believe they were under surveillance at all times. Such surveillance is still used in our everyday life such as schools, prisons, offices, hospitals, and mental institutes. Later in his life, Foucault discovered Bio-power. This bio-power
“Our society is not one of spectacle, but of surveillance; under the surface of images, one invests bodies in depth; behind the great abstraction of exchange, there continues the meticulous concrete training of useful forces; the circuits of communication are the supports of an accumulation and a centralization of knowledge; the play of signs defines the anchorages of power; it is not that the beautiful totality of the individual is amputated, repressed, altered by our social order, it is rather that the individual is carefully fabricated in it, according to a whole technique of forces and bodies. (pp.333-34)”
In The Introduction to the History of Sexuality, Foucault explains how during the 19th century with the raise of new societies, the discourse or knowledge about sex was not confronted with repulsion but it “put into operation an entire machinery for producing true discourses concerning sex” (Foucault 69). In fact, this spreading of discourse on sexuality itself gives a clear account of how sexuality has been controlled and confined because it was determined in a certain kind of knowledge that carries power within it. Foucault reflects on the general working hypothesis or “repressive hypothesis,” and how this has exercised power to suppress people’s sexuality. It has power on deciding what is normal or abnormal and ethical or unethical
Michel Foucault’s work within philosophy has made important impacts when it comes to understanding how power affects a capitalist state. Believed that history of a country should how the past created a better future for society but in most cases through history, that was not the case. One of the examples that Foucault uses is how the mentally ill were treated in the Renaissance compared to the 18th century. During the Renaissance period, the mental ill people were allowed to seen within society and were seen as useful and gave wisdom into their society rather than in the 18th century. People with mental illness were put away and see as a burden to society and seen as needed to being cured by sinister people. Another example that Foucault discuss
dealing simply with subjects, or even with a “people,” but with a “population,” with its specific phenomena and its peculiar variables." (298/25) This is where we begin to see Foucault's concept of Biopower come into play. One of the central themes of Foucault's writing, he defines biopower as "[T]he forms of power, the channels it takes, and the discourses it permeates in order to reach the most tenuous and individual modes of behavior, the paths that give it access to the rare or scarcely perceivable forms of desire, how it penetrates and controls everyday pleasure—all this entailing effects that may be those of refusal, blockage, and invalidation, but also incitement and intensification: in short, the 'polymorphous techniques of power.'” (292/11 For Foucault, Biopower relates to the government's concern with fostering the life of the population, but is also a form of complete control of that population through surveillance or perceived surveillance. Foucault believed that Biopower permeates through the
Michel Foucault is a very famous French intellectual who practiced the knowledge of sociology. Foucault analyzed how knowledge related to social structures, in particular the concept of punishment within the penal system. His theory through, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, is a detailed outline of the disciplinary society; in which organizes populations, their relations to power formations, and the corresponding conceptions of the subjects themselves. Previously, this type of punishment focused on torture and dismemberment, in which was applied directly to bodies. Foucault mentions through his literary piece, “the soul is the effect and instrument of a political anatomy: the soul is the prison of the body (p.30). However, today, the notion of punishment involves public appearances in a court and much more humane sentences. However, it is important to note and to understand the idea of power and knowledge; it is fundamental to understand the social system as a whole.
This part of the paper will provide a comparison with a theorist previously discussed in a lecture. The theorist with whom Michael Foucault’s arguments will be compared to is Emile Durkheim. Durkheim sees crime as functional. He says that if there was no crime, all our values would be dispersed--these values are laws. These laws are observed by sanctions and punishments attached to it. However, in order for these laws to exist, there must be a punishment, thus, for there to be a punishment, there has to be crime. Repressive law, according to this classical theorist was based on punishing for the evil doing of the criminal through revenge. Durkheim believes that a crime is not collective and when one goes against the core values of society, one threatens the entire order of society. Therefore, this theorist would agree with Foucault that when disciplining a criminal, he or she should be stripped of their freedom and when
While Valjean occasionally uses utilitarian reasoning in his approach to ethics, he is more representative of a third approach to ethics, a virtue-based approach. If a deontological approach to ethics first asks “what does the law say?” and a
“Foucault’s work gave the terms discursive practices and discursive formation to the analysis of particular institutions and their ways of establishing orders of truth, or what is accepted as ‘reality’ in a given society” (Goldberg). Discursive formations display hierarchical arrangement and are understood as reinforcing certain already established identities or subjectivities- in matters of sexuality, status, or class for example. These dominant discourses are understood as in turn reinforced by existing systems of law, education and the media”. Foucault’s work is to show that members of society such as intellectuals, “are implicated in discourse and in the discursive regimes or systems of power and regulation which give them their livelihoods