The Fourth Eye

Lecture by John Frow on Foucault

Foucault had a fascination with the conditions under which truth happens

– knowledge power, object is always power/knowledge a single entity, there is no know that can be separated from power and there is no power that does not mobilise knowledge.
– closed structural models – modeling ontological heterogeneity – the clinical gaze, the scrutiny, tech instruments, evolving authority, architecture of the laboratory, and changing concepts of bodily tissue, all of these contribute to this gaze.
– discourses, institutions, architecture, laws, admin measures, scientific statements, phil and moral propositions.  The said and the unsaid.  The apparatus itself, is the system of relations between these elements.
– discourse  formation – term that allows Foucault to move away from language towards thinking, where grammar, social relations, schooling , modes of authority all work as assemblages to form the association of meaning and truth
– bio power, bio politics, control of populations – sovereign has responsibility and seeks to discipline. bio power = threat of death from a sovereign. bio power, protection of life, regulation of body, notion of sexuality, regulation of health, sex, blood, well being = bio power, and any concept of the state as a body,
– typical mode of operation of this power = mass inoculation, building of sewerage, but extends beyond, this power of discipline and the mode of governance based on statistical demographic measurements and centralised regimes = governmentality
– shift of sovereignty to governance of pop is in discipline and punish, description of torture at the start – the point is the public visibility of the punishment and the infliction on the body.  The regime of discipline that displaces sovereignty – adapt the worker, soldier, student
– structure is a way of shaping and generating energies, categories and social relations, structure is formative and productive rather than repressive
– discipline is a mode of social control which is dependent on the freedom of individuals, which allows them to internalise social controls, its fundamental reference is not a state of nature but subordinated cogs of a machine, not to a social contract but permanent coercion, not rights, but training, automatic docility, discipline arises from org of monistaroy and military, moves into factory, school room, , grading by age, achievement, classrooms divided spatially, allotted places confronting the teacher, an org that correspondents to the gradation of type, students more through stage and there is a goal, an exam,
– discipline is success because of its modesty, use of simple instrument,s hierarch observation, normalising judgement and examination
– observation and surveillance, arranged in a hierarchy in which every watcher is watched.  This involves supervisory functions, foreman in factory, teachers, the great philosopher of discipline and modernity, Bentham, internalisation of control, guards under observation, they have indicators, everybody throughout the system is an object of surveillance.
– productive functions of discipline,
– sovereign power is a specific regime, replaced by more complex disciplinary power, which manages the population, sovereign and discipline is subsumed in governmentality, where power is decentres and people play a role in their own self government, through bureaucracies and methods of knowledge by which they operate, the statistical way they know the population and control through stats
– resistance, transgression, rebellion against laws, power is dispersed throughout the social, so later work downplays work of the state, it is no longer the unitary locus of power, its through discourses, technologies, design systems
– This means that the production of power and of truth occur within specific regimes and with forms that are peculiar to those regimes.  In one sense this is a relativist account of truth, but not an absolute relativism, it allows for choices, analysis and the taking of positions.
– What does it mean that we are always inside power?
– What does it mean to relative truth to power and vice versa
– Ethics built around self formation, a tech of the self, also a kind of freedom, a freedom controlled and limited by systems of constraints, ethics always within the structures of power.  Power and freedom, discipline and freedom are never opposites of each other, and one is formative of the other.

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