Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Foucault / Panopticism: Human Sciences - Summary

For Foucault, the establishment of the "Human Sciences" such as modern medicine, psychiatry, criminology etc. is closely related with the development of new technologies of power such as Panopticism. All these technologies of discipline turned the individual into an object of scientific discourse (Here Foucault plays on the double meaning of discipline). Foucault hold the these sciences evolved within institutions who needed a new kind of information in order to improve their functionality (such as hospitals of prisons). The human sciences evolved within these institutions as part of their technology of power.

The human sciences play a very important role for Foucault in the production of disciplined individuals. They position the subject within a context that on the one hand presumes his unique and separated existence while on the other hand claim that his this unique existence can be objectively examined, quantified, compared and classified. We are at one and the same time both subjects and objects of human sciences. For Foucault, this is not incidental since, as aforesaid, the human sciences evolved within institutions of power and according to their needs.      

Panopticism / Foucault - summary 
Part 1:Foucault's notion of discipline
Part 2: discipline  and the production of individuals
Part 3: human sciences
Part 4: disciplinary society
Foucault's panopticism explained

More on and by Foucault: 
Foucault - "Of Other Spaces" - summary   
Foucault on power and knowledge

Recommended books by and on Foucault: