Re: Surveillance and the failure of discipline

On Mon, 21 Nov 1994 216844@xxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
> 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.
I couldn't agree with this more. Examples here in NYC include the
re-ordering of the Time's Square area and the purging of the homeless
from transportation facilities. This "social scum" is beneath
discipline, and needs to be controlled in a more direct fashion.
Sometimes this includes a return to pre-disciplinary forms of punishment
(my reading of the Rodney King beatdown); sometimes it means exclusion
and wharehousing; and, as you mention, sometimes this means execution.
The idea that the individual can be "rehabed" in prison, or anywhere in
the c-j system is being abandoned, as a failure; its replacement is

First, there is the return to direct, coercive control of the bodies of
individuals, mentioned above. Of course, it is not as public as during
the pre-disciplinary era (R. King was an accident). Second, there seems
to be an attempt to turn the gaze away from the individual and towards
some "larger", yet more easily saved object. Examples of this in the NYC
area (and I would think that govermentality has collapsed here, at least)
include those mentioned above, as well as the sweep of street vendors
from 125th st., and the re-design of Tompkins sq. Park, which turned that
park into a wholly new "public space", easily controlled by police.


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