Like Durkheim, Weber and Marx, Foucault created the new “theater of language” in which the major role was played by the language itself. Perhaps he was the most influential figure amongst the XX century thinkers with no sphere of humanitarian knowledge free from being affected by him in one way or another. The philosophizing never was the same after Foucault.
He developed the number of ideas throughout the corpus of his works: “Madness and Insanity: History of Madness in the Classical Age” (1960), “The Birth of the Clinic: <An Archeology of Medical Perception> – in translation” (1963), “Discipline and Punish” (1975), “The History of Sexuality” (1976), “Society Must Be Defended” (the course of lectures, 1975-76), “Governmentality” (1978) and others.
“Discipline and Punish”
Chapter 1. Docile Bodies
In the seventeenth-eighteenth centuries the body becomes “object and target,” instrument and implementation of power. It is accordingly trained, subjected, observed, reconfigured, and becomes a center of the subtle coercion, manipulation, manifold usage and constant improvement. The structures that become those by means of which the body is produced as a tool of self-training and adequate functioning are the disciplinary spaces: the school, the military camp, the barrack, the manufacture, the hospital, the workshop. They themselves are the social consequences of the developing of the bodies that go with the perfecting precision towards the further mechanization. The disciplinary spaces evolved with the adopting of the technics used in monastic orders, fortresses, and other pre-disciplinary organizations that promised such possibilities. The ceremony of exercise transformed the human body into the part of the machinery of power. From the more rough technics of the type the gradual ascending was made into the spheres of great exactitude that the punctilious regulation, monotony of repetition, constant supervision and surveillance could afford.
The disciplines of pedagogy, medicine, tactics and strategy are marked with obsessive control, partitioning the space into the units suitable for an individual, recording the absences and presences, dividing the time first into the equally potentially charged moments from which the force might be extracted, and then, gradually more and more attentively, towards the shorter and shorter periods. The functionality of the space is largely free from any initial meaning and might be decoded in accordance with the new paradigm of its usage. The circulation of the goods, individuals, ideas and contraband is brought under the scrutiny. The inspection is imposed on everything that previously escaped its vigilant eye. The agent of a discipline performing its task is its victim and its impostor at the same time. The individuals are sorted according to its places, ranks, position in table, cell, according to the ultimate albeit constantly reconfiguring classification. The regulation of procedures comes from the “body-object” dichotomy that interflows and forms a unity where an instrument is the expansion of the living organism, and the organic individual is the function of phantasmagoria of the machine. Not only body is the manipulated object but it is not the arena of animal spirits anymore, it is obedient to authority insofar as it is the embodiment of the authority. It is used and utilized and it is its goal and the meaning. The genesis of an individual and the progress of society like concepts make the reciprocate movement: body is cleared from its individuality and functionally reduced in order to become the part of the apparatus and the machine of power becomes a summoned up, chronologically attuned serial of movements performed by the bodies. The development of an individual is hierarchized by the series of re-initiations into the society according to the segments of time devoted to particular period of life and to accomplishing of the tasks.
Chapter 2. The Means of Correct Training
From the power of discipline, in Foucault’s view, those who impose the corresponding mode on others, directly as well as the model, are not excluded.
The means of observation are such that they permeate everything. Power exercised on armed men is possible insofar as it is ritualized. The major switch in architecture consists in the changing of the places that allowed be covered and hidden to the places of transparency, suitable for control. The entrances, exits and passages start to be built in such a way that it is possible to observe them any time. The buildings are the apparatuses for observation: colleges, military camps and hospitals alike. Architecture expresses the political utopia. The manufactures are brought under the regime of surveillance despite that workers preferred the guild type of organization of work. The pedagogical sense of surveillance ensures the hierarchy of subordination. As the result of the attunement of the mechanisms of power the power became anonymous and unloaded from the private inclinations of the agents: whether the person who performs an action of power experiences the satisfaction or regret, it performs the same sequence of movements. The justice and penance are meticulously regulated and diligently executed. The neutrality, such as simple inability to carry on a certain task, is punishable too. The mood of punishment is corrective. “To punish is to exercise.” The unification of the tasks in order for them to be interchangeable implemented, the mathematics of indulgence, calculation of points and standardization are regulated. Those who are privileged receive the right to be punished in a certain manner. The detailed insignia of being privileged has developed and stigmatization of abnormal widely used. It all serves the goal of the society to be normalized. Normalization is the instrument of power. It includes the examination which is highly ritualized. The examination is the method which is used in many spheres from the scientific one to the pedagogical. The inspection becomes regular and repetitious. The school turns into the abode of constant examination by means of which individuals are compared and compartmentalized, their abilities measured, their skills evaluated. Thus pedagogy was born as a science.
The principle of visibility is such that it works in one direction: the power is exercised on visible by an invisible. The individual turns into a case. The documenting and writing, that previously described the events of the life of privileged individuals, and now ubiquitous and permeate all sides of ordinariness that previously was beyond description. A citizen is more interesting for a system and concentrates the greater attention on himself if he is abnormal: a patient, a child, a madman. Thus, the writing is the technic of power, too.
Foucault offers to stop using the negatively charged verbs speaking of power. Power produces the reality.
Chapter 3. Panopticism
The political dream of plague is the dream about the strictly observed quarantine and the partition of the members of society whereas the dream of the leper’s exile is a hope for the purification of community.
The English philosopher Bentham’s Panopticon is an architecture model of ideal surveillance. Panopticon consists of the amphitheater of the cells and a tower in the center of the circular building, from which observations are made. The prisoners separated from each other by the stony walls but the other two walls are the windows, so every movement of an incarcerated is clear for a gaze of an inspector.
This is a metaphor of society and a model of it. While the disciplinary mechanisms come into their perfection, they are de-individualized and de-institutionalized: anyone anytime may make the observation of transparent for an inspector and impenetrable for an incarcerated a prison or a workshop, a mental institution or whatever use may be found for the model. Discipline is not the apparatus it is the mode of power. Discipline mode penetrates the society on all the level from the family to the state. The metaphor of the theater is replaced by the metaphor of the panoptic machine, the society is not that of a spectacle but of the regulation. It serves the goals of fixing and ruling over the growing and floating population. The switch from the economy of power to the economy of discipline allowed the “cycle of perpetual reinforcement” be replaced by the disciplinary techniques that produced not only goods but health, knowledge, skills, forces. The political anatomy in which these processes resulted is exercised by the societies of different kinds regardless of the regime, apparatuses, institutions. Disciplinary techniques are perceived like the everyday morality. Redistribution of the disciplinary technics is ruthless and punctilious.
The History of Sexuality
There is an eternal curiousity about sex, we demand truth from it. The West managed to bring sex into the field of rationality. It is possible to speak about sex but only in the context of its repression. Sex is the matter of power. Power takes negative attitude: it represses, blocks, masks, rejects, dictates rules, establishes laws, divides sex into accessible and forbidden, and it does all these operations using language, which becomes the primal instrument. Power prohibits and censures and does it on all the levels. Power has difficulties performing its oppressive functions on sex because the power is repetitious and uninventive. It demands obedience. However power may function only if it hides itself and is not manifestly cynical. Power arranges itself into judirico-political discourse ever since establishing of the monarchy institutions, it speaks with the language of laws. Since the beginning of the XVIII century, the new mechanisms behind the laws are those that are connected with the mode of being of men as living bodies. New analytic of power would not concentrate on law because the suppression and other technics escape into the domain of everyday practices.
Power is every-present, imminent to any relation within society. Power is not anyone’s privilege but rather spread out evenly on those who govern and those who are governed. The relations of power and resistance are such that the one is impossible without the other, but there is no real conflict between them, all the conflicts within the power are isomorphous to the power. The resistance plays the role of power, the resistance is not homogeneous but is the complex of intentions, it regroups and reframes the power.
Sexuality is the point where the relations of power are transferred with a special density: relations between men and women, a parent and a child, a teacher and a pupil, a citizen and a state, a ruler and the governed.
A woman as a figure of sexuality is hystericized: her body is perceived like the imbued with sexuality. A child’s sexuality is deemed non-existing or deviant, in the last case it is in need of control and surveillance. Procreate behavior is a matter of state policy and a state’s concern. The normalizations of bodies leads to appearance and stigmatization of a pervert. These figures are conceptualized through the sex-power relations. Family cell is an arena for deployment of sexuality.
Foucault finds two main raptures in the history of sexuality: 1) The XVII century is characterized with the surge of prohibition, exclusive permission of marital sex, the demand of covering the body and silencing. 2) The XX century allowed the moment of the lifting of prohibitions which nevertheless is only the curve and not really the rapture.
Christianity affected the rigor with which the prohibitions were installed. Sex became the matter of the state concern about the population, connected with its illnesses, its perversions, and the birth rate. The XIX century divided sex from the body holding it responsible for pathologies and deviations that are capable of being cured. The idea of eugenics was brought in the field of problematization at the same time. Psychiatry and jurisprudence were the institutions of social control. Sex was medicalized. The ruling classes were subjected first to such control. The notions of self-examination, surveillance of children, were planted among the privileged, “idle” woman was the first to be sexualized and hystericized. Then the “moralization of the poorer classes” eventually occurred. The working bodies are cleared from the sexuality by the classes that rule over them, namely bourgeoisie. Family wore the air of the gathering of neurotics. The whole body of the population was sexualized. Sex became no longer a prerogative of bourgeoisie. The critique of sexual repression was, too, unfolding, but within the domain of sexuality. The sexual revolution was only the tactical shift and not radical.
Society Must Be Defended
The sovereign has a right of life and death, which is a principle of the classical theory of sovereignty. The default state of those who are under the power of the sovereign is neutral, neither life, nor death. The right of a sovereign exercised only when a sovereign can kill, because to grant life means not to inflict death. This is a certain dissymmetry which is compensated by the new power approach “to “make” live and “let” die.” Right of life and death was the foundation of the contract which produced a sovereign. New technology of power emerges in XVIII century and applies itself not to man-as-body but to man-as-living-being, man-as-species, to the mass that is a subject of characteristics of birth, death, illness, production. Foucault calls it the second seizure of power. Here the beginning of natalist policy is registered. The state intervenes having a goal of improving the birth rate, diminishing the death rate, it has concern over the environment, deals with individuals insofar as they are the units of population, deals with population as political problem. The hygiene is a matter of public concern, the medicine is coordinated and normalized. Such institutions as insurance, savings, have developed, and biopolitics emerges along with its methods: statistic measurements, estimates, forecasts. In response to it death which previously was surrounded with the rituals, and was itself a ritual, becomes hidden, tabooed, private and shameful. Death is the moment when an individual escapes the dictate of power, which main concern is to keep him alive. The two series like Foucault puts them are: “the body-organism-discipline-institution” (the previous model) and “the population-biological processes-regulatory mechanisms-State” (the new model).
Sexuality is a matter of control and constant surveillance because it is the corporeal mode of behavior, but it is also ensures the living of the population and therefore inscribed in the circle of biological processes. Sexuality exists on the borders of the body and the population, private/social. The twofold attitude toward unrestrained sexuality is that it brings an illness on the body and provides the heredity. The new power covers the whole surface between organic and biological, it ensures the norm applied to the body and the population. Self-denying, suicidal side of power is the weapon of mass destruction: it exercises the right of death by using it and thus kills itself.
Racism is inscribed into the mechanism of the state ever since emerging of biopower and because of it. It provides the means of fragmentation of the population, creating of the image of the enemy. It operates with the evolutionary terms and the terms of biological competition. The criminality is conceptualized in racism terms. Racism is imminent to biopower.
Nazism is “in fact the paroxysmal development of the new power mechanisms”. Under the rule of Nazism people were granted with the ultimate right to exercise the power of life and death over their neighbors.
The racism of Socialism is warranted by the fact that socialism did not criticize the techniques of biopower but in fact implements them, therefore it is equally racist yo any modern state. The rights to eliminate, disqualify, politically kill, reject, expel, and so on are legalized by the biological power. It might be not ethnical but it is still exercised over mentally ill.
The govermentality is the Foucauldian term that encircles all the multitude of relations connected with the verb “govern” and a denoted action, whether it implies the government of others, the state or oneself. The practices of government are numerous and affect the relationships of a teacher and a child, a head of a family and the household, the prince and the state. All these relations are imminent to the state. Police emerges as an institution that connects the family and the state level of government. The state exercises the same surveillance and control over its people with which a head of the family governs his subordinates. A metaphor in use here is a ship lead by the wise and attentive ruler. The good sovereign, of the type to whom Machiavelli addressed his book, has a concern about everyone’s welfare and everyone’s salvation. Administrative apparatus has developed like an embodiment of the practices of government. During the XVII century the art of government remained not problematized because it was entangled with the complex of sovereignty. Later on the statistics becomes a method, a family ceases to be a model and starts to be the instrument of government of the population. The population is governed in a way that it remains ignorant of what it has become as a result of government. The triangle that defines the society is sovereignty-discipline-power, and has as its target the population.