Classical Studies 2301A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: The Modern Age, Thyestes, Roman Republic

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Lecture 10, Part 2 Spectacle and Surveillance
o The perpetual penality that traverses all points and supervises every instant
in the disciplinary institutions compares, differentiates, hierarchizes,
homogenizes, excludes. In short, it normalizes.
It is opposed, therefore, term by term, to a judicial penality whose essential
function is to refer, not to a set of observable phenomena, but to a corpus of
laws and texts that must be remembered; that operates not by differentiating
individuals, but by specifying acts according to a number of general
categories; not by hierarchizing, but quite simply by bringing into play the
binary opposition of the permitted and the forbidden; not by homogenizing,
but by operating the division, acquired once and for all, of condemnation.
Modern and pre-modern/ancient views of crime
Ancient: legal view/definition of crime
o What is permitted and what is forbidden
o Acts are criminal or not, based on a particular set of
Modern: disciplinary view of crime
o Social constructionist view of crime
Deals with the structure of a specific society
o What is criminal goes beyond the law, deals with what
is socially acceptable and what is not
o Disciplinary mechanism is about the people,
differentiates the people, not the criminal acts
o I. The examination transformed the economy of visibility into the exercise of
power. Traditionally, power was what was seen, what was shown and what
was manifested and, paradoxically, found the principle of its force in the
movement by which it deployed that force. Those on whom it was exercised
could remain in the shade; they received light only from that portion of
power that was conceded to them, or from the reflection of it that for a
moment they carried. Disciplinary power, on the other hand, is exercised
through its invisibility; at the same time it imposes on those whom it subjects
a principle of compulsory visibility. In discipline, it is the subjects who have
to be seen. (187)
o 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 constantly 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
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