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Immanuel Kant “Mis on Valgustus?”

October 22, 2013 Leave a comment

Kant, Immanuel 1990. Kostmine küsimusele: Mis on Valgustus? Akadeemia 4: 801-809.

Valgustus on inimese väljumine tema omasüülisest alaealisusest. (801)

On ju nii mugav olla alaealine. Oleks mul aru asemel raamat, südametunnistuse asemel hingekarjane, minu enda asemel kirjutaks mulle eluviisi ette arst jne, siis poleks mul tarvis end üldse vaevata. (801)

Revolutsiooni läbi võib küll ehk teoks saada vabanemine rõhumisest, kuid mitte ealeski mõtlemisviisi tõeline reforn; vaid uued eelarvamused saavad arutule inimkarjale niisamasugusteks juhtohjadeks, nagu olid seda vanad. (803)

Sellise valgustuse tarvis on nõutav üksnes vabadus, ei miski muu; ja just ohutuim kõigest sellest, mida iganes võib tähendada vabadus, nimelt: oma mõistuse igas suhtes avalik tarvitus. (803)

[…] oma mõistuse avalik tarvitus peab olema vaba igal ajal, ja ainult see saab inimeste seas valgustust teoks teha; samas võib mõistuse eratarvitus sageli olla vägagi rangelt piiratud, seejuures valgsutuse edenemist oluliselt takistamata. Aga omaenese mõistuse avaliku tarvituse all mõistan ma seda, mida keegi selle abil teeb õpetlasena kogu publiku kui lugejaskonna ees. Eratarvituseks nimetan seda, mida üksikisik võib oma mõistusega teatud temale usaldatud tsiviilametis või –teenistuskohas teha. (803-804)

Ükski ajastu ei saa enesele kohuseks võtta ja seda tõotada, mis seaks järeltuleva olukorda, kus tal oleks võimatu edendada (eelkõige nii hädavajalikke) omaenda teadmisi, puhastuda eksitustest ja üldse valgustuses edasi minna. See oleks kuritegu inimloomuse vastu, mis on algselt määratletud just selles edasiminekus […] (806)

Kuid ka ainult see, kes ise valgustatuna varju ei karda, samas aga käsutab avaliku rahu tagamiseks hästi distsiplineeritud arvukat väge, võib öelda seda, mida ei tohi söandada vabariik: arutlege niipalju kui tahate ja mille üle tahate – ainult kuulake sõna! Nii ilmneb siin võõrastav, inimlike asjade ootamatu käik; kui vaadata üldiselt, siis on ju paradoksaalne peaaegu kõik. Kodanikuvabaduste suurem määr näib rahva vaimu vabadusele soodus olevat, kuid paneb sellele siiski ületamatu tõkke; sellest vähem määr seevastu loob ruumi vaimu arenemiseks kõigi oma võimete kohaselt. Kui loodus on kõva kesta all valla päästnud eo, mille eest ta kõige hellemalt hoolitseb, nimelt kalduvuse ja kutsumuse eest vabalt mõelda, siis sellel on vähehaaval tagasimõju rahva meelsusele (misläbi see saab järk-järgult tegutsemisvabaduse-võimelisemaks) ning lõpuks isegi selle valitsuse põhimõtteile, kes peab iseendale kasutoovaks kohelda inimest inimese vääriliselt, sest ta on enam kui masin. (808-809)

Categories: filosoofia, Immanuel Kant

Pierre Bourdieu & Loic Wacquant “NewLiberalSpeak”

October 22, 2013 Leave a comment

Bourdieu, Pierre; Loic Wacquant 2001. NewLiberalSpeak: Notes on the New Planetary Vulgate. Radical Philosophy 105: 2-5.

An empirical  analysis  of the  trajectory  of the  advanced  economies  over the  longue  duree  suggests,  in contrast,  that  ‘globalization’  is  not  a new  phase  of capitalism,  but  a ‘rhetoric’ invoked  by  governments  in order  to  justify  their voluntary  surrender  to the  financial  markets  and  their  conversion  to  a  fiduciary conception  of the  firm. Far  from  being  -as  we  are  constantly  told -the  inevitable result  of the  growth  of  foreign  trade,  deindustrialization,  growing inequality  and  the retrenchment  of  social  policies  are  the  result  of domestic  political  decisions  that reflect  the  tipping  of the  balance  of class  forces  in favour  of  the  owners  of capital. (4)

The imperialism  of neoliberal  reason  finds  its supreme  intellectual  accomplishment  in two new  figures  of the  cultural  producer  that  are  increasingly  crowding  the autonomous  and  critical  intellectual  born  of the  Enlightenment  tradition  out  of the public scene.  One  is the  expert  who,  in  the shadowy  corridors  of ministries  or company  headquarters,  orin  the  isolation  of  think-tanks,  prepares  highly  technical documents,  preferably  couched  in  economic  or  mathematical  language,  used  to justify  policy  choices  made  on  decidedly  non-technical  grounds. […]  The  other  is the  communication consultant  to  the  prince  -a  defector  from  the  academic  world  entered  into  the service  of the  dominant,  whose  mission  is to  give an  academic  veneer  to the political projects  of the  new  state  and  business  nobility. (5)

Richard Rorty “Sattumislikkus, iroonia ja solidaarsus”

October 16, 2013 Leave a comment

Rorty, Richard 1999. Sattumuslikkus, iroonia ja solidaarsus. Tallinn: Vagabund.

[…] pole võimalik astuda välja kõigist käibivatest sõnavaradest ja leida mingi metasõnavara, milles kuidagi kirjeldada kõiki võimalikke sõnavarasid, kõiki võimalikke otsustus- ja tundeviise. (18)

I.I Keele sattumuslikkus

[…] Kant ja Hegel hülgasid idee, et tõde on „väljaspool”, üksnes poolenisti. […] Kuid nad jäid selle juurde, et vaimul, hingel või inimteadvuse sügavustel on sisemine loomus, mida võib tunnetada mitteempiiriline üliteadus nimega filosoofia. See tähendas, et ainult pool tõde – alumine, teaduslik pool – on tehislik. Kõrgem tõde, tõde vaimu kohta, mis on filosoofia pärusmaa, jäi aga ikka veel avastamise, mitte loomise tandriks. (25)

Meil tuleb eraldada väide, et maailm on olemas meist väljaspool, väitest, et tõde on olemas meist väljaspool. (25)

Ei saa olemas olla väljaspoolset tõde, mis eksisteeriks inimvaimust sõltumatult, sest laused ei saa niimoodi eksisteerida, olla olemas väljaspool meid. Tõesed ja väärad saavad olla üksnes maailmakirjeldused. Maailm omaette – ilma inimese kirjeldustegevuseta – seda olla ei saa. (26)

Romantikute veendumus, et tähtsaim inimvõime pole mõistus, vaid kujutlus, tähendab, et kultuurimuutuse põhihoob on anne kõneleda teistmoodi, mitte anne hästi argumenteerida. (29)

Idealistlike tunnetusteooriaid ja romantilisi arusaamu kujutlusest saab paraku „teadvuse” žargoonist hõlpsasti „keele” žargooni üle kanda. (34)

[…] „poeet”, mis minu avara sõnavara järgi tähendab seda, „kes teeb asjad uueks” (37)

Öelda, et kahel kogukonnal on läbisaamisraskusi, sest sõnu, mida nad kasutavad, on raske vastastikku tõlkida, tähendab lihtsalt öelda, et ühe kogukonna liikmete keelelist nagu kogu muudki käitumist on teise kogukonna liikmetel raske ennustada. (40)

Meie keel ja kultuur on sattumused, tuhandete pisikeste oma niši leidnud (ja miljonite elunišši mitte leidnud) mutatsioonide tulemus täpselt samamoodi kui orhideed ja antropoidid. (42)

Tuua kuuldavale lause, mil pole kindlakskujunenud kohta keelemängus, tähendab, nagu positivistid õigesti märkisid, lausuda midagi, mis pole tõene ega väär – midagi, mis pole (Ian Hackingi väidet kasutades) „tõeväärtuse kandidaat”. Sest tegu on lausega, mida ei saa kinnitada ega ümber lükata, mille poolt ega vastu ei saa tuua argumente. Selle võib üksnes alla neelata või välja sülitada. (45)

[…] meil ei ole keele-eelset teadvust, mille üksikasjalikum sõnastamine oleks filosoofide kohus. See, mida pakutakse niisuguse teadvuse pähe, on lihtsalt meie kalduvus kasutada oma esiisade keelt, kummardada nende metafooride surnukehi. (50)

Michel Foucault “Omnes et Singulatim”

October 13, 2013 Leave a comment

Foucault, Michel 2000. „Omnes et Singulatim”: Toward a Critique of Political Reason. – Michel Foucault. Power: Essential Works of Michel Foucault 1954-1984, vol. 3. New York: The New Press, 298-325.

I think we have to refer to much more remote processes if we want to understand how we have been trapped in our own history. (300)

[Hebraic texts on the shepherd]:

1)      The shepherd wields power over a flock rather than over a land. (301)

2)      The shepherd gathers together, guides, and leads his flock. (301) […] the sheperd’s immediate presence and direct action cause the flock to exist. (302)

3)      The shepherd’s role is to ensure the salvation of his flock. (302)

4)      […] shepherdly kindness is much closer to „devotedness”. Everything the shepherd does is geared to the good of his flock. That’s his constant concern. When they sleep, he keeps watch. […] He pays attention to them all and scans each one of them. He’s got to know his flock as a whole, and in detail. (302-303)

[Plato]: Plato did admit that the physician, the farmer, the gymnasiarch, and the pedagogue acted as shepherds. But he refused to get them involved with the politician’s activity. […] In short, the political problem is that of the relation between the one and the many in the framework of the city and its citizens. The pastoral problem concerns the lives of individuals. (307)

[ancient Christian texts on the shepherd]:

1)      […] the shepherd must render an account – not only of each sheep, but of all their actions, all the good or evil they are liable to do, all that happens to them. (308)

2)      […] the shepherd-sheep relationship as one of individual and complete dependence. […] If a Greek had to obey, he did so because it was the law, or the will of the city. […] In Christianity, the tie with the sheperd is an individual one. […] This means that it is not, as for the Greeks, a provisional means to an end but, rather, an end in itself. (309)

3)      Christian pastorship implies a peculiar type of knowledge between the pastor and each of his sheep. This knowledge is particular. It individualizes. (309) [The shepherd] must know what goes on in the soul of each one, that is, his secret sins, his progress on the road to sanctity. (310)

4)      All those Christian techniques of examination, confession, guidance, obedience, have an aim: to get individuals to work at their own „mortification” in this world. Mortification is not death, of course, but it is a renunciation of this world and of oneself, a kind of everyday death – a death that is supposed to provide life in another world. […] It is a part, a constitutive part of Christian self-identity. (310-311)

[…] political practices resemble scientific ones: it’s not „reason in general” that is implemented but always a very specific type of rationality. (313)

[Reason of state]:

1)      Reason of state is regarded as an „art”, that is, a technique conforming to certain rules. These rules do not simply pertain to customs or traditions, but to knowledge – rational knowledge. (314)

2)      […] the art of governing is rational, if reflection causes it to observe the nature of what is governed – here, the state. (315)

3)      The aim of such an art of governing is precisely not to reinforce the power a prince can wield over his domain: its aim is to reinforce the state itself. […] It is bound up with a new historical outlook; indeed, it implies that states are realities that must hold out for an indefinite length of historical time – and in a disputed geographical area. (316)

4)      [The reason of state] presupposes a certaint type of knowledge. (316) Knowledge is necessaty – concrete, precise, and measured knowledge as to the state’s strength. The art of governing, characteristic of reason of state, is intimately bound up with the development of what was then called either political „statistics” or „arithmetic”, that is, the knowledge of different states’ respective forces. (317)

[Police is] a governmental technology peculiar to the state […] (317)

[The police in Turquet]:

1)      The „police” appears as an administration heading the state […] Yet, in fact, it embraces everything else. Turquet says so: „It branches out into all of the people’s conditions, everything they do or undertake. Its field comprises justice, finance, and the army.” (318)

2)      The police includes everything. But from an extremely particular point of view. Men and things are envisioned as to their relationships: men’s coexistence on a territory; their relationships as to property; what they produce; what is exchanged on the market. It also considers how they live, the diseases and accidents that can befall them. What the police sees to is a live, active, productive man. Turquet employs a remarkable expression: „The police’s true object is man.” (319)

3)      First, the police has to do with everything providing the city with adornment, form, and splendor. […] Second, […] to foster working and trading relations between men, as well as aid and mutual help. […] As a form of rational intervention wielding political power over men, the role of the police is to supply them with a little extra life – and, by so doing, supply the state with a little extra strength. This is done by controlling „communication”, that is, the common activities of individuals (work, production, exchange, accommodation). (319)

[Police in De Lamare’s Treaty on the Police]: In short, life is the object: the indispensable, the useful, and the superflous. That people survive, live, and even do better than just that: this is what police has to ensure. […] „The sole purpose of the police is to lead man to the utmost happiness to be enjoyed in this life.” (321)

[Police in von Justi’s Elements of Police]: The police, he says, is what enables the state to increase its power and exert its strength to the full. On the other hand, the police has to keep the citizens happy – happiness being understood as survival, life, and improved living. He perfectly defines what I feel to be the aim of the modern art of government, or state rationality, namely, to develop those elements constitutive of individuals’ lives in such a way that their development also fosters the strength of the state. (322)

Polizeiwissenschaft is at once an art of government and a method for the analysis of a population living on a territory. (323)

There is no power without potential refusal or revolt. (324)

Categories: ajalugu, Michel Foucault, võim

Jacques Rancière “Le tort: politique et police”

October 12, 2013 Leave a comment

Rancière, Jacques 1995. La Mésentente : politique et philosophie. Paris : Galilée.

Le tort : politique et police (43-67)

[…] la démocratie est le régime – le mode de vie – où la voix qui n’exprime pas seulement mais procure aussi les sentiments illusoires du plaisir et de la peine usurpe les privilèges du logos qui fait reconnaître le juste et en ordonne la réalisation dans la proportion communautaire. (44)

La simple opposition des animaux logiques et des animaux phoniques n’est donc aucunement le donné sur lequel se fonderait la politique. Elle est au contraire un enjeu du litige même qui institue la politique. (44)

[…] « peuple » est le nom, la forme de subjectivation, de ce tort immémorial et toujours actuel par lequel l’ordre social se symbolise en rejetant la majorité des êtres parlants dans la nuit du silence ou le bruit animal des voix qui expriment agrément ou souffrance. (44)

[…] le logos n’est jamais simplement la parole, parce qu’il est toujours indissolublement le compte qui est fait de cette parole : le compte par lequel une émission sonore est entendue comme de la parole, apte à énoncer le juste, alors qu’une autre est seulement perçue comme du bruit signalant plaisir ou douleur, consentement ou révolte. (44-45)

[la politique :] […] une querelle sur la question de la parole elle-même. (45)

Et ils ne parlent pas parce qu’ils sont des êtres sans nom, privés de logos, c’est-à-dire d’inscription symbolique dans la cité. Ils vivent d’une vie purement individuelle qui ne transmet rien, sinon la vie elle-même, réduite à sa faculté reproductive. (45)

Mais seul le déploiement d’une scène de manifestation spécifique donne à cette égalité une effectivité. Seul ce dispositif mesure l’écart du logos à lui-même et fait effet de cette mesure en organisant un autre espace sensible où il est avéré que les plébéiens parlent comme les patriciens et que la domination de ceux-ci n’a d’autre fondement que la pure contingence de tout ordre social. (48)

Et l’aisthesis qui se manifeste dans cette parole, c’est la querelle même sur la constitution de l’aisthesis, sur le partage du sensible par lequel des corps se trouvent en communauté. (48)

La politique est d’abord le conflit sur l’existence d’une scène commune, sur l’existence et la qualité de ceux qui y sont présents. (49)

J’utiliserai donc désormais le mot police et l’adjectif policier dans ce sens élargi qui est aussi un sens « neutre », non péjoratif. Je n’identifie pas pour autant le police à ce que l’on désigne sous le nom d’ « appareil d’État ». (52)

La police est, en son essence, la loi, généralement implicite, qui définit la part ou l’absence de part des parties. Mais pour définir cela, il faut d’abord définir la configuration du sensible dans lequel les unes et les autres s’inscrivent. La police est ainsi d’abord un ordre des corps qui définit les partages entre les mode du faire, les mode d’être et les modes du dire, qui fait que tel corps sont assignés par leur nom à telle place et à telle tâche ; c’est un ordre du visible et du dicible qui fait que telle activité est visible et que telle autre ne l’est pas, que telle parole est entendue comme du discours et telle autre comme du bruit. (52)

La police n’est pas tant une « disciplinarisation » des corps qu’une règle de leur apparaître, une configuration des occupations et des propriétés des espaces où ces occupations sont distribuées. (52)

Je propose maintenant de réserver le nom de politique à une activité bien déterminée et antagonique à la première : celle qui rompt la configuration sensible où se définissent les parties et les parts ou leur absence par un présupposition qui n’y a par définition pas de place : celle d’une part des sans-part. (52-53)

Spectaculaire ou non, l’activité politique est toujours un mode de manifestation qui défait les partages sensibles de l’ordre policier par la mise en acte d’une présupposition qui lui est par principe hétérogène, celle d’une part des sans-part, laquelle manifeste elle-même, en dernière instance, la pure contingence de l’ordre, l’égalité de n’importe quel être parlant avec n’importe quel autre être parlant. Il y a de la politique quand il y a un lieu et des formes pour la rencontre entre deux processus hétérogènes. (53)

On n’oubliera pas davantage que, si la politique met en œuvre un logique entièrement hétérogène à celle de la police, elle est toujours nouée à elle. La raison en est simple. La politique n’a pas d’objets ou de question qui lui soient propres. Son seul principe, l’égalité, ne lui est pas propre et n’a rien de politique en lui-même. […] ce qui fait le caractère politique d’une action, ce n’est pas son objet ou le lieu où elle s’exerce mais uniquement sa forme, celle qui inscrit la vérification de l’égalité dans l’institution d’un litige, d’une communauté n’existant que par la division. La politique rencontre partout la police. (55)

L’égalité n’est pas un donné que la politique mette en application, une essence que la loi incarne ni un but qu’elle se propose d’atteindre. Elle n’est qu’une présupposition qui doit être discernée dans les pratiques qui la mettent en œuvre. (57)

La politique est la pratique dans laquelle la logique du trait égalitaire prend la forme du traitement d’un tort, où elle devient l’argument d’un tort principiel qui vient se nouer à tel litige déterminé dans le partage des occupations, de fonction et des places. Elle existe par des sujets ou des dispositifs de subjectivation spécifiques. (59)

La politique est affaire de sujets, ou plutôt de modes de subjectivation. Par subjectivation on entendra la production par une série d’actes d’une instance et d’une capacité d’énonciation qui n’étaient pas identifiable dans un champ d’expérience donné, dont l’identification donc va de pair avec le refiguration du champ d’expérience. (59)

La subjectivation politique produit un multiple qui n’était pas donné dans la constitution policière de la communauté, un multiple dont le compte se pose comme contradictoire avec la logique policière. […] Une mode de subjectivation ne crée pas de sujets ex nihilo. Il les crée en transformant des identités définies dans l’ordre naturel de la répartition des fonctions et des places en instances d’expérience d’un litige. (60)

Toute subjectivation est une désidentification, l’arrachement à la naturalité d’une place, l’ouverture d’un espace de sujet où n’importe qui peut se compter parce qu’il est l’espace d’un compte des incomptés, d’une mise en rapport d’une part et d’une absence de part. (60)

L’animal politique moderne est d’abord un animal littéraire, pris dans le circuit d’une littérarité qui défait les rapports entre l’ordre des mots et l’ordre des corps qui déterminaient la place de chacun. Une subjectivation politique est le produit de ces lignes de fracture multiples par lesquelles des individus et des réseaux d’individus subjectivent l’écart entre leur condition d’animaux doués de voix et la rencontre violente de l’égalité du logos. (61)

Un sujet politique, ce n’est pas un groupe qui « prend conscience » de lui-même, se donne une voix, impose son poids dans la société. C’est un opérateur qui joint et disjoint les régions, les identités, les fonctions, les capacités existant dans la configuration de l’expérience donnée, c’est-à-dire dans le nœud entre les partage de l’ordre policier et ce qui s’y est déjà inscrit d’égalité, si fragiles et fugaces que soient ces inscriptions. (65)

L’acte politique de la grève est alors de construire le rapport entre ces choses qui n’ont pas de rapport, de faire voir ensemble comme objet du litige le rapport et le non-rapport. (65)

Une subjectivation politique, c’est une capacité de produire ces scènes polémiques, ces scènes paradoxales qui font voir la contradiction de deux logiques, en posant des existences qui sont en même temps des inexistences ou des inexistences qui sont en même temps des existences. (66)

Julian Reid “The Neoliberal Subject”

October 12, 2013 Leave a comment

Reid, Julian 2012. The Neoliberal Subject: Resilience and the Art of Living Dangerously. Révista Pleyade 10: 143-165.

Security is dangerous, paradoxically, because it defies the necessity of danger, preventing the necessary exposure to danger, without which the life of the neoliberal subject cannot grow and prosper. Since life, it is said, cannot be secured without destroying it, so the framing of the human in terms of its capacities for resilience functions to disqualify its capacities to claim or pursue security. (145)

Resilient subjects are precisely these. Subjects that have learnt the lesson of the dangers of security, in order to live out a life of permanent exposure to dangers that are not only beyond their abilities to overcome but necessary for the prosperity of their life and wellbeing. In this sense resilience represents a significant extension of the biopolitical drivers of neoliberal modernity […] (145)

Autonomy,  it  is  said,  equals  a  diminished  capacity  to  connect  with  and adapt  to  others,  and  so  to  be  autonomous  has  become  conceived  less  as a  condition  to  strive  for,  and  more  as  a  source  of  danger  to  oneself  and the life of others. Exposed to the dangers on which its life is said to thrive, the neoliberal subject is nevertheless called upon to fend off the formation of  anything  like  an  autonomously  determined  way  of  life,  on  account  of the risks said to be posed by autonomy to the sanctity of life. (146)

Building neoliberal subjects involves the deliberate disabling of the  aspirations  to  security  that  peoples  otherwise  nurture  and  replacing them with a belief in the need to become resilient. (149)

‘Resilient’ peoples do not  look  to  the  regimes  that  govern  them  to  provide  them  with  security because they have been disciplined into believing in the undesirability of such an apparatus. Indeed so convinced are they are of that undesirability that they proclaim resilience to be a fundamental ‘freedom’. (149)

It is no longer a question of how to secure freedoms for the subject in the condition of their potential to become dangerous, either to the individual or the collective, but  how the subject might  practice  freedom  so  that  it  achieves  exposure  to  danger  on  behalf of itself and that population to which it belongs. Because danger, it is now said, is productive of life, individually and collectively. (150)

The  incitement  of  the subject to ‘engage in risk taking and entrepeneurialism’ is only explicable in context of the biologization of the subject that liberalism is founded on, and subsequently, the shift in thinking concerning how biological life profits in the world through a continual process of exposure to danger. (151)

It is life, not economy abstractly  understood,  that  mediates  the  horizons  of  liberal  thought  and practice, for Foucault. The concept of economy is merely one powerful and important discourse within which liberal understandings of the nature of life, as such, operates. (151)

Indeed the fundamental distinction drawn, by Foucault, between the biological lifeof the subject and its psychic capacity to determine its way of life is as crucial today as ever. The problem isn’t how to render contingent the  relation  between  biological  life  and  security,  through  what  Sergei Prozorov simplistically calls a ‘refusal of care’ (2007: 59-67), but how to forge a politics via which subjects can demand that their regimes provide them with security for their biological life, without, in the process, enabling those  regimes  to  encroach  upon  the  psychic  life  of  the  subject  wherein autonomy is exercised and through which ways of life are determined. The relationship between autonomy and security is poorly conceived, in other words, as either/or. (154)

Not only, then, is the problem not security as such, nor is the problem that simply of life as such. Life, like security, is not an ontological category, but an expression of changing regimes of practices that are historical and political  in  formation. (155)

It requires making us believe, in other words, in the impossibility of being anything more than biohuman subjects. For liberalism  to  legitimate  itself  the  horizons  which  determine  our  ways  of living must be successfully biologized; which is why the political discourses of global politics are so replete today with values deriving from biological sources.  The  contemporary  valorization  of  capacities  for  resilience and  adaptive  capacity,  nationally  and  internationally,  are  symptomatic expressions of this strategy. (156)

For once the subject is conceived in biohuman terms – the account of the freedom of which it is capable so thoroughly determined by what can be known of its biology – so the very aspiration to free oneself from danger, becomes deemed as dangerous. Not because to be provided freedom from danger would risk diminishing the autonomy of the subject, but because exposure to danger is now conceived as fundamental to the potentiality of its biological life to grow and prosper. (157)

Freedom, under conditions of belief in the biohuman, is construed not as autonomy from othersbut capacity to connect to others. Far from preaching the value of autonomy from others, liberalism has come to espouse an account of the subject predicated on its radical interconnectivity with others. (158)

The problematic is how to conceive freedom from danger as a political aspiration, capacity, and potential practice in the face of the fact that we are governed by regimes which declare that our growth and prosperity in the world consists in our necessary and continuous exposure to danger. (158)

A politics of resistance  to  liberalism,  today,  requires  more  than  ever  a  psychopolitical subject  capable  of  transcending  the  biopolitical  horizons  of  liberal modernity; one that will free us from its biologisms, and enable us to dream and imagine in ways that are proper to the human psyche. But in order for an imaginary to continue with enough persistence such that it produces a revolutionary manifesto with a new literary constitution, for it to be more than the vacuous pastime of poets, the imaginary must find its matter, its reality. A material element must give the imaginary its own substance. Note it is not the question of which material precedes the imaginary, but how the imaginary finds its material, such that it is able to realize itself. The political theorization of resistance to liberalism, if it is to advance, has to proceed onto these terrains and in doing so lose its idle fascination with biological properties and capacities. (161-162)

Michel Foucault “Panopticism”

October 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Foucault, Michel 1991. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. London: Penguin Books.

Panopticism (195-228)

The leper and his separation; the plague and its segmentations. The first is marked; the second analysed and distributed. The exile of the leper and the arrest of the plague do not bring with them the same political dream. The first is that of a pure community, the second that of a disciplined society. (198)

They are different projects, then, but not incompatible ones. We see them coming slowly together, and it is the peculiarity of the nineteenth century that it applied to the space of exclusion of which the leper was the symbolic inhabitant (beggars, vagabonds, madmen and the disorderly formed the real population) the technique of power proper to disciplinary partitioning. (199)

On the one hand, the lepers are treated as plague victims; the tactics of individualizing disciplines are imposed on the excluded; and, on the other hand, the universality of disciplinary controls makes it possible to brand the ‚leper’ and to bring into play against him the dualistic mechanisms of exclusion. (199)

Full lighting and the eye of a supervisor capture better than darkness, which ultimately protected. Visibility is a trap. (200)

The crowd, a compact mass, a locus of multiple exchanges, individualities merging together, a collective effect, is abolished and replaced by a collection of separated individualities. (201)

Hence the major effect of the Panopticon: to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power. (201)

In view of this, Bentham laid down the principle that power should be visible and unverifiable. Visible: the inmate will constantly have before his eyes the tall outline of the central tower from which he is spied upon. Unverifiable: the inmate must never know whether he is being looked at at any one moment; but he must be sure that he ma always be so. (201)

It [the Panopticon] is an important mechanism, for it automatizes and disindividualizes power. Power has its principle not so much in a person as in a certain concerted distribution of bodies, surfaces, lights, gazes; in an arrangement whose internal mechanisms produce the relation in which individuals are caught up. (202)

A real subjection is born mechanically from a fictitious relation. […] He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection. (202-203)

But the Panopticon must not be understood as a dream building: it is the diagram of a mechanism of power reduced to its ideal form; its functioning, abstracted from any obstacle, resistance or friction, must be represented as a pure architectural and optical system: it is in fact a figure of political technology that may and must be detached from any specific use. (205)

The seeing machine was once a sort of dark room into which individuals spied; it has become a transparent building in which the exercise of power may be supervised by society as a whole. (207)

There are two images, then, of discipline. At one extreme, the discipline-blockade, the enclosed institution, established on the edges of society, turned inwards towards the negative functions: arresting evil, breaking communications, suspending time. At the other extreme, with panopticism, is the discipline-mechanism: a functional mechanism that must improve the exercise of power by making it lighter, more rapid, more effective, a design of subtle coercion for a society to come. The movement from one project to the other, from a schema of exceptional discipline to one of a generalized surveillance, rests on a historical transformation: the gradual extension of the mechanisms of discipline throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, their spread throughout the whole social body, the formation of what might be called in general the disciplinary society. (209)

‚Discipline’ may be identified neither with an institution nor with an apparatus; it is a type of power, a modality for its exercise, comprising a whole set of instruments, techniques, procedures, levels of application, targets; it is a ‚physics’ or an ‚anatomy’ of power, a technology. (215)

[…] they [the disciplines] oppose to the intrinsic, adverse force of multiplicity the technique of the continuous, individualizing pyramid. (220)

The ‚Enlightenment’, which discovered the liberties, also invented the disciplines. (222)

Moreover, whereas the juridical systems define juridical subjects according to universal norms, the disciplines characterize, classify, specialize; they distribute along a scale, around a norm, hierarchize individuals in relation to one another and, if necessary, disqualify and invalidate. In any case, in the space and during the time in which they exercise their control and bring into play the asymmetries of their power, they effect a suspension of the law that is never total, but is never annulled either. Regular and institutional as it may be, the discipline, in its mechanism, is a ‚counter-law’. (223)

But what this politico-juridical, administrative and criminal, religious and lay, investigation was to the sciences of nature, disciplinary analysis has been to the sciences of man. These sciences, which have so delighted our ‚humanity’ for a over a century, have their technical matrix in the petty, malicious minutae of the disciplines and their investigations. (226)

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