GS 201 tutorial questions
November 23, 2012
Ashley Stratton 110110900
1. What does Foucault mean by the term 'docile bodies'?
Docile bodies are ones that can be shaped and adapted to fit the needs of the being shaping them.
The needs of the shaper often are a duty or a task they need to docile body to complete.
Schooling is the example used from lecture to describe docile bodies, as students we are
conditioned from kingergarden to perform tasks and behave accordingly. We have internalized
these tasks and expectations, also internalizing the power balance within a classroom. In order to
make a body docile sometimes it becomes necessary to break any previous norms and rebuild
new ones in their place. For GS231 we have discussed the ability of the army to build soldiers by
destroying all that they understood as normally and morally correct and replacing these values
with what the military needed them to do. That is why they recruit young people, their values
have not yet been solidified and it becomes much easier to change their thinking. This connects
to schooling in the sense students start at age 4 and continue becoming the ideal student until the
complete post secondary school. By this time the expectations of a student are so internalized it
would be nearly impossible to remove their understanding of classroom politics from them.
2. How does docility link to discipline?
If a body becomes docile it accepts the tasks a performs them without question, internalizing the
expectations leads to obedience. Militaries need disciplined soldiers who are able to focus on the
tasks at hand without questioning them. The docility allows for obedience and discipline within a
person. They are conditioned to do as the shaper pleases which also makes them less inclined to
revolt because they have internalized these expectations.
Another connection to discipline would be the idea of being disciplined, a person who has
become a docile body knows when they have done wrong in the system and accepts their
punishment. They understand when their expectations have not been met and they must learn to
further internalize these expectations and the power balances.
3. What is the role of surveillance and spaces (buildings)? e.g. Panopticon
The role of space depends on the specific space but spaces all have meanings and expectations
within society. The state conditions citizens to understand what spaces can be used for certain
purposes and which can’t, the police are there to clear up any misconceptions. The idea of
surveillance in public space is the perception that everyone is constantly being watched and
nothing is private outside of the home. Buses, stores, streets and schools have cameras to monitor
behaviour and there is a sense that if someone does something wrong they