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Sociology Notes Week 18.docx

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SOCY 122
Rob Beamish

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Sociology Notes Week 18 Jeremy Bentham, the Panopticon and the Technologies of Power o Foucaults analysis of a shift in the way social deviants were identified and treated at the end of the eighteenth century led sociologists to reconsider Benthams work on Panopticon o Bentham believed lifes guiding principle should be the greatest good to the greatest number Proposal for a prison that would allow a single individual to observe prisoners without them being able to see the observer Physical layout of prison tower in the middle divided into cells and occupants are isolated from one another Backlighting: Open to collective and individual scrutiny by a single observer who would remain unseen Inexpensive surveillance in situation where there is no trust between observers and those being observed Promised the internalization of self-regulation prisoners cannot see their observer (may be there or may not) Not knowing causes inmates to behave as if they were being observed at all times Internalize disciplined behaviour o Foucault used Panopticon to examine how discipline and social control changed in the transition from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century Eighteenth century kings used public displays of direct physical harm, torture and execution to send a message Crimes were seen as crimes against sovereign Torture did not always enjoy the support of the population and could elicit sympathy for martyrs Incarceration and penal practices did not take over until 19th century o Foucault argued the shift to prisons was related to two fundamental shifts in how the world was understood: Rise of mechanistic world view in which humans were thought about as machines Attempt to create technologies in more areas of social life o Industrialization, increased division of labour, progressive specificity of work tasks rise of mechanistic world focused attention on disciplining the body Focus on internalized restraint and discipline o Carceral system: Sovereign controls and contours behaviour through disciplining of the body Disciplining occurs in social institutions i.e. school, work place, military and clubs which exercise formal and informal control o Principles of potential ongoing surveillance became a central part of social life even though the Panopticon was never built o Panoticonism represents the gradual extension of the mechanisms of discipline throughout the whole social body disciplinary society o Deviance relates to people who are not properly fabricated according to a whole technique of forces and bodies Culturally defined and relates to the ways in which individuals resist the technologies of power that dominate carceral institutions Images now project beyond church, education and workplace include mages of appropriate appearance and action projected by media o Conformity is socially constructed deviance is equally constructed through resistance to technologies of power that Foucault identified The Constructionist Approach to Deviant Behaviour o Deviance socially constructed behaviour that can only be understood by sociological theory o People describe behaviours as deviant because they are judged to be unacceptable o Some behaviours are formally defined as deviant because of legal sanctions o Deviant behaviours are identified and designated on the basis of an informal, socially constructed moral hierarchy / formal socially constructed legality Considerable overlap between informal and formal moral hierarchies o Acts and people are not in and of themselves deviant a person or a particular action becomes deviant through a process of social definition o Smoking has been increasingly defined as deviant due to health dangers and legal sanctions o Premarital sex used to be defined as deviant due to the dominant moral order governed by church now it is socially accepted o Prohibition of alcohol changing social attitudes have defined it as socially acceptable rather than deviant and illegal Steroids and the Social Construction of Deviant Behaviour o In early 2000s there were three suicides attributed to the use of prolonged steroid use o Three claims are part of a larger text that socially constructs steroid use as dangerous and deviant behaviour Demonstrates how socially constructed deviance leads to legal restrictions and sanctions Shows how formal prohibition may have unintended consequences and may not address the real problem o Current social construction of steroid use is wasting vast resources on eliminating a form of steroid use that is far less problematic o Must examine the early context in which athletes began to use steroids and the original reasons for moral opposition of their use o Olympic Games where deviation of steroid use originatedo Baron Pierre de Coubertin wanted to establish educational problem that would end growing materialism of industrial capitalism return to tradition o Coubertin subscribed to educational values of muscular Christianity humans are comprised of mind, body and character Idea that sport could play a critical role in revitalizing the moral and spiritual fiber of European youth Objective was to form an aristocracy / elite united by the Games code of chivalry The important thing at the Games was not to win but to take part o Olympic brand is sport for its intrinsic, character building value Coubertins Ideals and their Olympic Reality o A select number of events and social forces moved the Games to a high public profile emphasis on victory for political and commercial gain o Games turned out to be erosion of all Coubertin envisioned did not eradicate absolute victory of commercial and competitive forces o Olympiads were held in conjunction with international exhibitions celebrating advancements in technology, science and capitalism o Commercialism was woven into the Games from their outset o 1936 games in Nazi Germany and shadow of WWII demonstrated symbolic power and significant of the games in the modern world o Power, pride
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