Re: Surveillance and the failure of discipline

John V wrote...
>How Much of this is panoptical in the sense that Bentham meant for the
>panopticon to work, where individuals were being observed, or they
>thought themselves observed, so that they disciplined themselves
>accordingly? It seems to me that the process of monitoring has shifted,
>awqy fom the focus on the individual and on to the control of
>[fill-in-the-blank], shopping areas, parks, schools, many types of public
>space. Instead of achieving self-control, these new methods end up
>being employed in the decision for who to include and exclude in these
>public spaces. Or perhaps, I should say in addition to the fostering of
>self-discipline, which these new methods still develops on those it

I think that you are write in seeing this shift from the self-discipline of the
individual (via panopticonesque surveillance), to a focus upon the
inclusion and exclusion of people in public spaces. The 'discipline' that
we see in the panopticon (in D&P) is analogous to Foucault's notion of
'governmentality' to an extent I think. There is this new emphasis on the
self-regulating individual, and it is the state's 'responsibility' to provide the
apparatuses of this self-regulation. Where i have seen surveillance
cameras (generally in the UK) they seem to be fairly subtle, and not
framed in any discourse of self-discipline. The state and firms who put
them in place seem more concerned with 'catching criminals' than
discipline. - such cameras have been used in britain on a number of
occasions to 'catch' ira terrorists for example, and if they were made
more obvious their role here would not be possible.

So i think that such cameras are an example of a 'failure' of
governmentality or discipline. Most citizens are seen as being able to
discipline themselves (after all, i'm sure M&S is couching the installation
of cameras as to 'protect the public'). But there is a minority (and in the
uS this is seen almost entiely in racial terms) who are regarded as
'undisciplined': who need to be 'watched' on cctv, arrested and
imprisoned. The whole issue of capital punishment in the US seems
another example of this 'failure' of governmentality, that brutality is the
only recourse for the 'ungovernable'.

Perhaps I am both conflating US and european phenomena (it seems that
this failure of governmentality has reached far greater proportions in the
UK than US), and 'governmentality' and discipline. anyway...

jon wilson

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