Writing about Writing

and some other things

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I have one more seminar paper to write, and not a single fuck left to give about anything related to school. What do?

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Here again, moreover, we need only look at the body of laws and the disciplinary obligations of modern mechanisms of security to see that there is not a succession of law, then discipline, then security, but that security is a way of making the old armatures of law and discipline function in addition to the specific mechanisms of security. So, in Western societies, in the domain of law, in the domain of medicine, and in other domains also, which is why I have given this other example, you can see a somewhat similar evolution and more or less the same type of transformations. What is involved is the emergence of technologies of security within mechanisms that are either specifically mechanisms of social control, as in the case of the penal system, or mechanisms with the function of modifying something in the biological destiny of the species. Can we say then – and this is what is at stake in what I want to analyze – that the general economy of power in our societies is becoming a domain of security? So, in these lectures I would like to undertake a sort of history of technologies of security and try to identify whether we can really speak of a society of security.
Michel Foucault, Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the College de France 1977-1978 pg. 25

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if we take the mechanisms of security that some people are currently trying to develop, it is quite clear that this does not constitute any bracketing off or cancellation of juridico-legal structures or disciplinary mechanisms. On the contrary, still in the penal domain, look at what is currently taking place in the domain of security for example. There is an increasingly huge set of legislative measures, decrees, regulations, and circulars that permit the deployment of these mechanisms of security. In comparison, in the tradition of the Middle Ages and the Classical age, the legal code concerning theft was very simple. If you consider the body of legislation concerning not only theft, but theft by children, the penal status of children, mental responsibility, and the whole body of legislation regarding what are called, precisely, security measures, the supervision of
individuals after they leave a penal institution, you can see that getting these systems of security to work involves a real inflation of the juridico-legal code. In the same way, with the establishment of these mechanisms of security there is a considerable activation and propagation of the disciplinary corpus. For in order actually to guarantee this security one has to appeal, to take just one example, to a whole series of techniques for the surveillance of individuals, the diagnosis of what they are, the classification of their mental structure, of their specific pathology, and so on; in short one has to appeal to a whole disciplinary series that proliferates under mechanisms of security and is necessary to make them work.
Michel Foucault, Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the College de France 1979-1978 pg. 22

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I think this serious and fundamental relation between struggle and truth, the dimension in which philosophy has developed for centuries and centuries, only dramatizes itself, becomes emaciated, and loses its meaning and effectiveness in polemics within theoretical discourse. So in all of this I will therefore propose only one imperative, but it will be categorical and unconditional: Never engage in polemics.*
Michel Foucault, Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the College de France 1977-1978 pg. 18

*These phrases should be brought together with those made by Foucault at the end of the same year in his long interview with D. Trombadori, on his disappointment, returning from Tunisia, with the theoretical polemics of the movements of the extreme left following May 1968: “We have spoken of the hyper-Marxism in France, of the explosion of theories, of anathemas, and the fragmentation into little groups. This was precisely the exact opposite, the reverse, the contrary of what had fascinated me in Tunisia [with the student riots of March 1968]. Perhaps this explains the way in which I tried to approach things from that time, standing back from those infinite discussions, that hyper-Marxization [ … ] I tried to do things that involved a personal commitment that was physical and real, and which would pose problems in concrete, precise, and definite terms in a given situation.”

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Power is not founded on itself or generated by itself. Or we could say, more simply, that there are not first of all relations of production and then, in addition, alongside or on top of these relations, mechanisms of power that modify or disturb them, or make them more consistent, coherent, or stable. There are not family type relationships and then, over and above them, mechanisms of power; there are not sexual relationships with, in addition, mechanisms of power alongside or above them. Mechanisms of power are an intrinsic part of all these relations and, in a circular way, are both their effect and cause.
Michel Foucault, Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the College de France 1977-1978 pg. 17

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