User:Luisa Moura/writing/foucault and deleuze

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DISICIPLINARY SOCIETY AND SOCIETY OF CONTROL


The Panopticum of Jeremy Bentham (1791) is an architectural scheme for absolute surveillance efficiency. Separated cells for prisoners are organized in circle around a surveillance tower. Each cell has a window to the outside rendering the individual totally visible to the controllers eye. The prisoners have no contact at all with their peers. Isolation, confinement and exposure are the ingredients for a total subjection. At certain point it doesn’t matter anymore if somebody is really in the tower observing the prisoners once the notion of being observed is already internalized. Prisoners would naturally behave as if being surveyed (Panopticism, Foucault, 1975)

In the Disciplinary Society, behavior is regulated through time and space code; being the time code the timetable and space code the architectural typology. Architecture and Urban Planning are used to structure systems of polarized visibility. In which individuals are observed or get to observe depending on their role in the hierarchy of control. The military camp is the first example given by Foucault and gets to be described in all its absolute efficiency of alleys, functions, nodes, where individuals encounter a physical vessel for their expected behavior. The disciplinary society fits all its moral, educational, correctional functions into specific spatial models. The precision and repetition of typologies transforms deeply the way the individual deals with the mechanisms of control. Space and functionality becomes one same thing being very hard to distinguish its roots, legitimacy and ultimate purpose.

The establishment of the notion norm within the disciplinary society is the root of individualization. In the moment normality becomes perfectly defined, abnormality turns visible and subject of examination, evaluation, corrective procedures (training) and can eventually lead to punishment. Permanent mutual judgment breaks links of empathy among individuals and turns them to believe inevitably on the power of the discipline.

“Discipline ‘makes’ individuals” “it is a modest, suspicious power, which functions as a calculated, but permanent economy” “the success of disciplinary society derives no doubt from the use of simple instruments; hierarchical observation, normalizing judgment and their combination in a procedure that is specific to it, the examination” (Foucault, 1975, p.170)

The Disciplinary society is collapsing and is giving room to other forms of control. All the institutions as we know them are being questioned, reformed or abolished. The Digital age seems to grow on a deterritorialization of control; this is the maybe the essential difference between disciplinary society and society of control.

In the Society of Control we also discipline ourselves to perform in a certain way. We use devices that translate our behavior, choices and actions into images and data and we believe it benefits us. The new ways of control go beyond a space or time code. In the society of control we are volunteers of an eternal state of performance (social media). It became imperative to present ourselves through an integral profile in which professional skills, personal life and personality mingle in one single narrative.

The Society of Control has broken the walls of the Disciplinary Society but seems to run on the same principles; the individual got rid of the tight “mold”, but is finding in its place a “modulation” system, a system based on the ever adaptable mold, beyond the individuals understanding and control. “In the Disciplinary Society one was always starting again (from school to the barracks, from the barracks to the factories) while in the Societies of control one is never finished with anything” (1992, Deleuze, p.5).

The factory with its low pay and heavy work gave room to the perpetual “metastability” of the corporation, leading often to even more work and even less pay and where rivalry is seen as an “healthy form of emulation” (1992, Deleuze, p.4). The process of further individualization and cut of empathy among people, leading to their weakness and greater obedience is processed in a much greater and subtle away through the media, through an overflow of communication and apparent sharing. By permanently being asked to perform the individual looses touch with himself. Deleuze refers to the individual as “dividual” in the Society of Control, once people become translated in data and therefore referred to as such and handled as such (1992, Deleuze, p.5).