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michelfoucalt - Michel Foficault DISCIPLINE AND'PUNISH...

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Unformatted text preview: Michel Foficault DISCIPLINE AND 'PUNISH Yfie Bin/5 oft/m Prison Thus/atea’from tfie Franc/z ' ‘ ' ' p. Pu." 'SH .' by Alan Sheridan” _ . .' - . ‘ _ 4“?” ' ' He __ Wm '3 A , W'Istnttmm {antmufitm ctnfiiwmms'pm... . 819 mm. ‘ i-Warmwnn’mr (WEN; VINTAGE BOOKS A DIVISION 0F fiANDOM HOUSE, INC. NEW YORK ban petir't Henri’, but in the misfortunes of ‘little Hans’. The Romance oftlze Ruse is written today by Mary Barnes; in the place of Lancelot, we have Iudge Schreber. It is often said that the model of a society that has individuals as its constituent elements is borrowed from the abstract juridiCai forms of contract and exchange. Mercantile society, according to this view, is represented as a contractual association of isolated juridical subjects. Perhaps. Indeed, the political theory of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries often seems to follow this schema. But it should not be forgotten that there existed at the same period a technique for constituting individuals as correlative ele- ments of power and knowledge. The individual is no doubt the fictitious atom of an ‘ideological’ representation of society; but he is also a reality fabricated by this specific technology of power that I have called ‘discipline’. We must cease once and for all to describe the effects of power in negative terms: it ‘excludes', it ‘represses', it ‘censors’, it 'abstracts‘, it ‘masks’, it ‘conceals’. In fact, power produces; it produces reality; it produces domains of objects and rituals of truth. The individual and the knowledge that may be gained of him belong to this production. Is it not somewhat excessive to derive such power from the petty machinations of discipline? How could they achieve effects of such scope? 194 3. Panopticism The following, according to an order published at the end of the seventeenth century, were the measures to be taken when the plague appeared in a town.‘ First, a strict spatial partitioning: the closing of the town and its outlying districts, a prohibition to leave the t0wn on pain of death, the killing of all Stray animals; the division of the tOWn into distinct quarters, each g0verned by an intendant. Each street is placed under the authority of a syndic, who keeps it under surveillance; if. he leaves the street, he will be condemned to death. On the appointed day, everyone is ordered to stay indoors: it is forbidden to leave on pain of death. The syndic himself comes to lock the door of each house from the outside; he takes the key with him and hands it over to the intendant of the quarter; the intendant keeps it until the end of the quarantine. Each family will have made its own provisions; but, for bread and wine, small wooden canals are set up between the street and the interior of the houses, thus allowing each person to receive his ration without communicating with the sup- pliers and other residents; meat, fish and herbs will be hoisted up into the houses with pulleys and baskets-if it is absolutely necessary to leave the house, it will be done in turn, avoiding any meeting. Only the intendants, syndics and guards will. move about the streets and also, between the infected houses, from one corpse to another, the ‘crows’, who can be left to die: these are ‘people of little substance who carry the sick, bury the dead, clean and do many vile and abject offices’. It is a segmented, immobile, frozen space. Each individual is fixed in his place. And, if he moves, he does so at the risk of his life, contagion or punishment. »\ Inspection functions ceaselessly. The gate is alert everywhere: ‘A considerable body of militia, commanded by good oiiicizrs and men 195 of substance’, guards at the gates, at the town hall and in every quarter to ensure the prompt obedience of the people and the most absolute authority of the magistrates, ‘as also to observe all disorder, theft and extortion’. At each of the town gates there will be an observation post; at the end of each street Sentinels. Every day, the intendant visits the quarter in his charge, inquires whether the syndics have carried out their tasks, whether the inhabitants have anything to complain of; they ‘observe their actions'. Every day, too, the syndic goes into the street for which he is responsible; stops before each house: gets all the inhabitants to appear at the windows (those who live overlooking the courtyard will be allo— cated a window looking onto the street at which no one but they may Show themselves); he calls each of them by name; informs himself as to the state of each and every one of them —- ‘in which respect the inhabitants will be compelled to speak the truth under pain of death’; if someone does not appear at the window, the syndic must ask why: 'In this way he will find out easily enough whether dead or siclt are being concealed.’ Everyone locked up in his cage, everyone at his window, answering to his name and showing himself when asked - it is the great review of the living and the dead. This surveillance is based on a system of permanent registration: reports from the syndics to the intendants, from the intendants to the magistrates or mayor. At the beginning of the ‘loclt up’, the role of each of the inhabitants present in the town is laid down, one by one; this d0cument bears 'the name, age, sex of everyone, notwith- standing his condition’: a copy is sent to the intendant of the quarter, another to the oflice of the town hall, another to enable the syndic to make his daily roll call. Everything that may be observed during the course of the visits — deaths, illnesses, complaints, irregularities — is noted down and transmitted to the intendants and magistrates. The magistrates have complete control over medical treatment; they have appointed a physician in charge; no other practitioner may treat, no apothecary prepare medicine, no confessor visit a sick person without having received from him a written note ‘to prevent anyone from concealing and dealing with those sick of the contagion, unknown to the magistrates’. The registration of the pathological must be constantly centralized. The relation of each individual to his :96 disease andto his death passes through the representatives of power, the registration they make of it, the decisions they take on it. Five or six days after the beginning of the quarantine, the process of purifying the houses one by one is begun. All the inhabitants are made to leave; in each room ‘the furniture and goods’ are raised from the ground or suspended from the air; perfume is poured around the room; after carefully sealing the windows, doors and even the keyholes with wax, the perfume is set alight. Finally, the entire house is closed while the perfume is consumed; those who have carried out the work are searched, as they were on entry, ‘in the presence of the residents of the house, to see that they did not have something on their persons as they left that they did not have on entering’. Four hours later, the residents are allowed to re-enter their homes. 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 centre and periphery, in which power is exercised without division, according to a continuous hierarchical figure, in which each individual is con; stantly located, examined and distributed among the living beings, the sick and the dead —~ all this constitutes a compact model of the disciplinary mechanism. 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. It lays down for each individual his place, his body, his disease and his death, his wellvbeing, 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. Against the plague, which is a mixture, discipline brings into play its power, which is one of analysis. A whole literary fiction of the festival grew up around the plague: suspended laws, lifted prohibitions, the frenzy of passing time, bodies mingling together without respect, individuals unmasked, abandoning their statutory identity and the figure under which they had been recognized, allowing a quite different truth to appear. But there was also a political dream of the 197 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 mediation of the complete hierarchy that assured the capillary func- tioning of power; not masks that were put on and taken oil, but the assignment to each individual of his ‘true' name, his ‘true’ place, his 'true’ body, his ‘true’ disease. The plague as a Form, at once real and imaginary, of disorder had as its medical and political correlative discipline. 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. Ifit is true that the leper gave rise to rituals ofexclusion, which to a certain extent provided the model for and generallform of the great Confinement, then the plague gave rise to disciplinary pro- iects. Rather than the massive, binary division between one set of’ people and another, it called for multiple separations, individualizing distributions, an organization in depth of surveillance and control, an intensification and a ramification of power. The leper was caught up in a practice of reiection, of exile-enclosure; he was left to his doom in a mass among which it was useless to differentiate; those sick of the plague were caught up in a meticulous tactical partition- ing in which individual differentiations were the constricting effects ofa power that multiplied, articulated and subdivided itself; the great confinement on the one hand; the correct training on the other. The leper and his separation; the plague and its segmentations. The first is marked; the second analysed and distributed. The exile of the leper and the arrest of the plague do not bring with them the same political dream. The first is that of a pure community, the second that of a disciplined society. Two ways of exercising power over men, of controlling their relations, of separating out their dangerous mixtures. The plague-stricken town, traversed through- out with hierarchy, surveillance, observation, writing; the town immobilized by the functioning of an extensive power that bears in a distinct --way over all individual bodies —‘ this is the utopia of the perfectly governed city. The plague (envisaged as a possibility at least) is the trial in the course of which one may define ideally the exercise of disciplinary power. in order to make rights and laws 198 function according to pure theory, the jurists place themselves in imagination in the state of nature; in order to see perfect disciplines functioning, rulers dreamt of the state of plague. Underlying dis- ciplinary proiects the image of the plague stands for all forms of confusion and disorder; just as the image of the leper, cut of? from all human contact, underlies projects of exclusion. They are difierent projects, then, but not incompatible ones. We see them coming slowly together, and it is the peculiarity of the nineteenth century that it applied to the space of exclusion of which the leper was the symbolic inhabitant (beggars, vagabonds, madmen and the disorderly formed the real population) the technique of power proper to disciplinary partitioning. Treat ‘lepers' as 'plaguc victims', project the subtle segmentations of discipline onto the confused space olinternment, combine it with the methods ofanaly» ticai distribution proper to power, individualist: the excluded, but use procedures of individualization to mark exclusion — this is what was operated regularly by disciplinary power From the beginning ofthe- nineteenth century in the psychiatric asylum, the penitentiary, the reformatory, the approved school and, to some extent, the hospital. Generally speaking, all the authorities exercising individual control function according to a double mode; that of binary division and branding (mad/sane; dangerous/harmless; normal/abnormal); and that of coercive assignment, of differential distribution (who he is; where he must be; how he is to be characterized; how he is to be recognized; how a constant surveillance is to be exercised over him in an individual way, etc.). On the one hand, the lepers are treated as plague victims; the tactics ofindividualizing disciplines are imposed on the excluded; and, on the other hand, the universality of disci- plinary controls makes it pussible to brand the ‘leper' and to bring into play against him the dualistic mechanisms of exclusion. The constant division between the normal and the abnormal, to which every individual is subjected, brings us back to our own time, by applying the binary branding and exile of the leper to quite difl'erent objects; the existence of a "whole set of techniques and institutions for measuring, supervising and correcting the abnormal brings into play the disciplinary mechanisms to which the fear of the plague gave rise. All the mechanisms of power which, even today, are disposed around the abnormal individual, to brand him and to\alter I99 him, are composed of those two forms from which they distantly derive. Bentham’s Panaptz'con is the architectural figure of this composi- tionTWe know the principle .on which it was based: at the periphery, an annular building; at the centre, a tower; this tower is pierced with wide windows that open onto the inner side of the ring; the peri— pheric building is divided into cells, each of which extends the whole width of the building; they have two windows, one on the inside, corresponding to the windows of the tower; the other, on the out- side, allows the light to cross the cell from one end to the other. All that is needed, then, is to place a supervisor in a central tower and to shut up in each cell a madman, a patient, a condemned man, a worker or a schoolboy. By the effect of backlighting, one can observe from the tower, standing out precisely against the light, the small captive shadows in the cells of the periphery. They are like so many cages, so many small theatres, in which each actor is alone, perfectly individualized and constantly visible. The panoptic mechanism arranges spatial unities that make it possible to see con- stantly and to recognize immediately. In short, it reverses the prin— ciple of the dungeon; or rather of its three functions —— to enclose, to deprive of light and to hide -— it preserves only the first and elimin- ates the other two. Full lighting and the eye of a supervisor capture ' better than darkness, which ultimately protected. Visibility is a trap. To begin with, this made it possible - as a negative effect - to avoid those compact, swarming, howling masses that were to be found in places of confinement, those painted by Goya or described by Howard. Each individual, in his place, is securely confined to a cell from which he is seen from the front by the supervisor; but the side walls prevent him from coming into contact with his compan- ions. He is seen, but he does not see; he is the object of information, never a subject in communication. The arrangement of his room, opposite the central tower, imposes on him an axial visibility; but the divisions of the ring, those separated cells, imply a lateral invisibility. And this invisibility is a guarantee of order. If the in- mates are convicts, there is no danger of a plot, an attempt at collective escape, the planning of new crimes for the future, bad reciprocal influences; if they are patients, there is no danger of 200 contagion; if they are madmen there is no risk of their committing Violence upon one another; if they are schoolchildren, there is no copying, no noise, no chatter, no waste of time; ifthey are workers, there are no disorders, no theft, no coalitions, none of those dis- tractions that slow down the rate of work, make it less perfect or cause accidents. The crowd, a compact mass, a locus of multiple exchanges, individualities merging together, a collective efiect is abolished and replaced by a collection of separated individualities. From the point ofview of the guardian, it is replaced by a multipli— crty that can be numbered and supervised; from the point ofview of 'the inmates, by a sequestered and observed solitude (Bentham, 60~64). Hence the major effect of the Panopticom to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the auto— matic functioning of power. So to arrange things that the surveil-- lance is permanent in its effects, even if it is discontinuous in its action; that the perfection of power should tend to render its actual exerctse unnecessary; that this architectural apparatus should be a machine for creating and sustaining a power relation independent of the person who exercises it; in short, that the inmates should be caught up in a power situation of which they are themselves the bearers. To achieve this, it is at once too much and too little that the prisoner should be constantly observed by an inspector: too little, for what matters is that he knows himseifto be observed; too much, because he has no need in fact of being so. In view of this, Bentham laid down the principle that power should be visible and unveri~ fiable. Visible: the inmate will constantly have before his eyes the tall outline of the central tower from which he is spied upon. Unverifiable: the inmate must never know whether he is being looked at at any one moment; but he must be sure that he may always be so. In order to make the presence or absence of the inspector unverifiable, so that the prisoners, in their cells, cannot even see a shadow, Bentham envisaged not only venetian blinds on the windows of the central observation hall, but, on the inside, partitions that intersected the hall at right angles and, in order to pass from one quarter to the other, not doors but zig~zag openings; for the slightest noise, a gleam of light, a brightness in a half—opened door would betray the presence of the guardian.2 The Panoptlson is a 201 machine for dissociating the see/being seen dyad: in the periph- eric ring, one is totally seen, without ever seeing; in the central tower, one sees everything without ever being seen.3 It is an important mechanism, for it automatiaes and disindivi- dualizes power. Power has its principle not so much in a person as in a certain concerted distribution of bodies, surfaces, lights, gazes; in an arrangement Whose internal mechanisms produce the relation ' . in which individuals are caught up. The ceremonies, the rituals, the marks by which the sovereign’s surplus power was manifested are useless. There is a machinery that assures dissymmetry, disequili» brium, diderence. Consequently, it does not matter who eXercises power. Any individual, taken alm05t at random, can operate the machine: in the absence of the director, his Family, his Friends, his visitors, even his servants (Bentham, 45). Similarly, it does not matter what motive animates him: the curiosity ofthe indiscreet, the malice of a child, the thirst for knowledge of a philosopher who wishes to visit this museum of human nature, or the perversity of those who take pleasure in spying and punishing. The more numerous those anonymous and temporary observers are, the greater the risk for the inmate of being surprised and the greater his anxious awareness of being observed. The Panopticon is...
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