From: Huub van Baar <hjmvbaar@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 2009 13:16:17 -0700 (PDT)
There are several places where Foucault explains his conceptual use of the diagram, most notably in "Discipline and Punish" (in the part on the panopticon, which is a specific example of a Foucauldian diagram), but also in "Table ronde du 20 mai 1978" (In Dits et écrits I-IV. Edited by Daniel Defert and François Ewald. 1994. Paris: Gallimard, 20-34 (IV-278)).
Other good sources are John Rajchman's "Diagram and Diagnosis" (In Becomings: Explorations in Time, Memory and Futures. 1999. Elisabeth Grosz (ed.) Ithaca (NY) and London: Cornell University Press) and Colin Gordon's "Afterword" (In Power/Knowledge. Michel Foucault: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977).
Bruno Latour's 1986 piece "Visualisation and Cognition: Thinking with Hands and Eyes." (In Knowledge and Society: Studies in the Sociology of Culture, Past and Present (6) 1-40) could also be helpful.
William Walters has recently mobilized the concept of the diagram to conceptualize borders and their management in an age of globalization (see his "Border/Control" In European Journal of Social Theory 9 (2) 187-203, 2006).
If you read German, Thomas Lemke's "Eine Kritik der politischen Vernunft - Foucaults Analyse der modernen Gouvernementalität" (Berlin and Hamburg: Argument) will certainly be helpful.
In the literature on Foucault's concept of governmentality the diagrammatic dimension of government is often conceptualized in terms of programs of government (see, most notably, the work of Nikolas Rose and Mitchell Dean). Though Foucault sometimes used his notions of diagram and program interchangeably, the use of the latter term could easily be misunderstood. Partly because of its computer metaphoric, the notion of program could wrongly suggest that we deal with clearly delineated ‘inputs’ and ‘outputs’ as well as with an unproblematic relation between the intentions and achieved results of programs. However, Foucault conceptualized programs and diagrams differently. They crystallize in institutions and direct individual and collective forms of perception and reception. In the same way, we need to understand Bentham’s panopticon not as a ‘reality’ but as a scheme that has guided, shaped and modified practices of government. That the
social reality never really became panoptic does therefore not imply that panopticism was merely utopian. If the penal system failed as a way to deal with crime because it only produced delinquency; if these delinquents were seen as fundamentally incorrigible, and if the public opinion and the judiciary warned for the emergence of an entire class of ‘criminals’, then, this had everything to do with the fact that the schematic planning of a panoptic society did not remain utopian (more on this theme, see Foucault's "Table ronde du 20 mai 1978" piece).
I hope this helps.
Huub van Baar
Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
Faculty of Humanities
University of Amsterdam
Oude Turfmarkt 145 - Room S.03
1012 GC Amsterdam
--- On Wed, 15/4/09, Nick Montgomery <montgomerynick@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> From: Nick Montgomery <montgomerynick@xxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: [Foucault-L] foucault's diagram
> To: foucault-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Date: Wednesday, 15 April, 2009, 10:31 AM
> hi all,
> i am currently trying to find some sources (and better
> foucault's 'diagram' of power. i have been
> through some of the earlier
> posts on this topic without much luck. other than
> deleuze's book on
> foucault (which i am finding very difficult) can anyone
> suggest useful
> sources that explain and clarify the concept of the
> diagram? i'm
> particularly interested in its apparent appropriation by
> guattari in
> 'molecular revolution in brazil' where G writes:
> 'It is also necessary to have discussions with the
> parties, the unions, and
> so on, but in this case the discussion is not on the basis
> of accusations
> such as 'you're rotten, bourgeois, capitalist pigs,
> etc' or on the basis of
> schematic programs, but on the basis of what we would call
> concretely embodied by people and by experiences'
> i am particularly interested in the potential use of the
> diagram concept as
> a way to think about experience, change and struggle,
> rather than discursive
> regimes. any thoughts?
> Foucault-L mailing list