Foucault, part II
1. Brief recap
2. Discipline and Punish
Sovereign power vs. disciplinary power
Contemporary examples of disciplinary power
Brief Recap –different from Durkheim and Marxist –he gave us a sense of how to analyse
actual strategies of power in society and how they operate
Focus: strategies/techniques of power and how they operate
Power is fluid, strategic relation – shifting power relations because power for him was a
strategic relation rather than an eternal possession. Thus, power existed everywhere
because everyone in society could exercise power and be subjected to it. Power is not
exclusively exercised by the state or ruling class. Power is not a zero-sum game.
Forms of power – qualitatively distinct because they look different, and have different
techniques and affects.
Power is productive— produce knowledge, pleasure, discourse, identities, and bodies
Power-knowledge—power and knowledge is inseparable.
Discipline and Punish
Public execution of regicide in picture below—if you committed a regicide you are being
punished for the crime of killing the king or having attempted to do so. This is an image
of an attempted assassination and punishment of it. It is geared towards destroying the
body of a condemned man, through a display of authorized violence. Authorized violent
is quite excessive—the man’s body was being drawn and ordered—pulling of your limbs
in your body and his body gets burned. In this authorized display form of violence, it’s
focused on destroying the body. That is one style of punishment. The other is an
institutional timetable. Tables were used to set out a schedule that would regulate the
daily lives of inmates. This punishment is private and occurs without signs of physical
violence or ceremony. The contrast is tied to a historical shift from sovereign power, to disciplinary power (use of schedule). This shift was thought to have occurred between
18 -19 century.
Once disciplinary power emerged in the 19 century, it replaced sovereign power.
Disciplinary emerged and co-existed with forms of sovereign power
Vs. institutional timetable used in Paris reformatory
Historical shift from sovereign power to disciplinary power
Sovereign Power—aim to preserve sovereign authority.
Form of power Sovereign Power
Form(at) of knowledge Juridical rules— classify an act in binary terms. We see this at work in the
Criminal code. An act is morally good or it is not. There is no in-between
Key aim Preserving sovereign authority—
When we have a crime it signifies an attack on the sovereign
punishment on warlike terms. We need to produce
terror to remind citizens of unrestrained power behind the law.
Key personnel State officials—carry out tasks aimed at carrying out key logics of
Forms of power.
Key logics Punishment as key technique internally Warfare as key
technique externally Typical technique Spectacle—does not always have to be punitive. Spectacles of punishment
Like tortures, it was due to a distribution of visibility—what is visible and
What is invisible. In a spectacle we have many people watching the one
(sovereign) is visible. But the many watching are (invisible).
Key target Loyal subjects—key target to sovereign power. Aims to produce
this loyal subject through the public spectacle of public punishment. In this
spectacle, subjects are terrorized by state officials into following
the juridical rules that are set down by the sovereign. (summary of
Form of power Discipline
Form(at) of knowledge Norm – there are 3 meanings of norms. Foucault means all of these 3
1. Clinical norm—normal and abnormal
2. Statistical norm—average of distribution of grades
3. Moral norm— Socially/morally acceptable in society
Key aim Constituting individuals— key aim of disciplinary power. We do this
Through the process of normalization.
Key personnel Experts— While sovereign power
Is carried out by state officials, the key personal. Experts like doctors
Key logics Normalization— occurs through material and spatial arrangements. Typical technique Observation, examination, surveillance – (surveillance is opposite spectacle)
under surveillance one or the
Few are watching the many. There are few observers than observed.
We want to put you under constant observation because
We are interested in creating self-controlled disciplined bodies.
Key target Disciplined individuals
3 Implications of the historical shift from sovereign power to disciplinary power
1. Both forms of power continue to co-exist. Disciplinary power does not completely
displace and replace sovereign power.
E.g. criminal justice system: verdict, sentence –verdict that a judge renders is a exercise
of sovereign power because it takes the form of a juridical form (guilty or not guilty),
rendered by a state official that happens to be the judge, we preserve sovereign
authority, because that verdict is followed by punishment. The only difference is that we
don’t have public punishments anymore. IN CONSTRAST, the sentence is disciplinary
power because the sentence should normalize the offender, so they have self-control so
they stop committing crime.
E.g. classroom: expulsion/suspension, exam – exam is disciplinary power because it is a
technique of disciplinary power. You are under constant surveillance (many teachers are
watching you write the exam). Normalizes you in statistical norm to be disciplined
individuals. IN CONSTRAST, expulsion is sovereign power for cheating