An overview of the michel foucaults claims on the power knowledge relationship

Philosophical Themes, Ideas and Arguments Power and Knowledge The relationship between power and knowledge is central to Foucault's work. Discipline and Punish essentially charts the reorganization of the power to punish, and the development of various bodies of knowledge the human sciences that reinforce and interact with that power. The modern power to punish is based on the supervision and organization of bodies in time and space, according to strict technical methods:

An overview of the michel foucaults claims on the power knowledge relationship

He also realized that as individuals, we react to situations in different ways. His used his books as a vehicle to show the various factors that interact and collide in his analyzation of change and its effects.

As a philosophical historian and an observer of human relations, his work focused on the dominant genealogical and archaeological knowledge systems and practices, tracking them through different historical eras, including the social contexts that were in place that permitted change - the nature of power in society.

He wrote that power "reaches into the very grain of individuals, touches their bodies and inserts itself into their actions and attitudes, their discourses, learning processes and everyday lives" FoucaultAlong with other social theorists, Foucault believed that knowledge is always a form of power, but he took it a step further and told us that knowledge can be gained from power; producing it, not preventing it.

Through observation, new knowledge is produced.

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In his view, knowledge is forever connected to power, and often wrote them in this way: Foucault did not view the effects of power negatively. Foucault saw it as a producer of reality: The importance for him always lay in the effect that power has on entire networks, practices, the world around us, and how our behaviour can be affected, not power itself.

Instead of using violent methods, such as torture, and placing prisoners in dungeons that were used for centuries in monarchial states around the world, the progressive modern democratic state needed a different sort of system to regulate its citizens.

The Panopticon offered a powerful and sophisticated internalized coercion, which was achieved through the constant observation of prisoners, each separated from the other, allowing no interaction, no communication.

This modern structure would allow guards to continually see inside each cell from their vantage point in a high central tower, unseen by the prisoners. Constant observation acted as a control mechanism; a consciousness of constant surveillance is internalized.

Power/Knowledge Analysis -

In his view, power and knowledge comes from observing others. It marked the transition to a disciplinary power, with every movement supervised and all events recorded. The result of this surveillance is acceptance of regulations and docility - a normalization of sorts, stemming from the threat of discipline.

Suitable behaviour is achieved not through total surveillance, but by panoptic discipline and inducing a population to conform by the internalization of this reality. The actions of the observer are based upon this monitoring and the behaviours he sees exhibited; the more one observes, the more powerful one becomes.

The power comes from the knowledge the observer has accumulated from his observations of actions in a circular fashion, with knowledge and power reinforcing each other. Foucault says that "by being combined and generalized, they attained a level at which the formation of knowledge and the increase in power regularly reinforce one another in a circular process" Foucault For Foucault, the real danger was not necessarily that individuals are repressed by the social order but that they are "carefully fabricated in it" Foucault,and because there is a penetration of power into the behaviour of individuals.

Power becomes more efficient through the mechanisms of observation, with knowledge following suit, always in search of "new objects of knowledge over all the surfaces on which power is exercised" Foucault When only certain people or groups of people control knowledge, oppression is a possibility.

We need to find out who is recording our actions.

An overview of the michel foucaults claims on the power knowledge relationship

But what happens to all the knowledge that is collected through mechanisms of power? Foucault painted us a picture but left it up to us to create a process for resistance, and to figure out how to resolve conflicts ourselves.

He gave us instruments of analysis, but offered no weapons.

An overview of the michel foucaults claims on the power knowledge relationship

Who determines what our rights are? Can we make the rules together? Can we mobilize counter-power to form a resistance against the pervasiveness of an increasingly intrusive electronic society that is trying to manage the information it is tracking and collecting?

Can we wage our own battles and develop some strategies to help us retain a semblance of individual anonymity and privacy? Or should we just surrender to it? Surrender to the unseen power that endeavours to control us from afar? Or should we continue to adapt and submissively, quietly accept the prevailing philosophy of an increasingly monitored society?

Or should we try to overcome? If power systems are already immersed in society, does smart mob technology offer any real opportunities for significant counter-power?

Should we even bother to hope that we can change the world? Who or what should we develop a resistance against, if we want to see real change?The Subject and Power — Foucault, Michel. They are an opposition to the effects of power which are linked with knowledge, competence, and qualification: struggles against the privileges of knowledge.

On the other hand, a power relationship can only be articulated on the basis of two elements which are each indispensable if it is. Foucault’s theorisation of the power/knowledge relationship Foucault in theorizing the relationship between power and knowledge basically focused on how power operated in the institutions and in its techniques.

The point is how power was supported by knowledge in the functioning of institutions of punishment. The Panopticon was a metaphor that allowed Foucault to explore the relationship between 1.) systems of social control and people in a disciplinary situation and, 2.) the power-knowledge concept.

MICHEL FOUCAULT's understanding of power changes between his early work on institutions (Madness and Civilization, The Birth of the Clinic, Discipline and Punish) and his later work on sexuality and the early work, Foucault sometimes gives a sense that power somehow inheres in institutions themselves rather than in .

For Foucault, power and knowledge are not seen as independent entities but are inextricably related—knowledge is always an exercise of power and power always a function of knowledge.

Perhaps his most famous example of a practice of power/knowledge is that of the confession, as outlined in History of Sexuality. Michel Foucault (–) was a French historian and philosopher, associated with the structuralist and post-structuralist movements.

He has had strong influence not only (or even primarily) in philosophy but also in a wide range of .

SparkNotes: Discipline and Punish: Philosophical Themes, Ideas and Arguments