Re: Power

Self-organisation is one of the primary techniques of power within the school, a
self - organisation constructed around the internalization of the appartus of
"The very building of the Ecole was to be an apparatus for observation; the rooms
were distributed along a corridor like a series of small cells; at regular
intervals. an officer's quaters were situated, so that 'every ten pupils had an
officer on each side'....A few decades later, Demia favoured a hierarchy of the
same type but almost all the functions of surveillance were duplicated by a
pedagogical role: an assistant teacher taught the holding of the pen, guided the
pupils hand, corrected mistakes and at the same time 'marked down trouble
makers'...A relation of surveilance, defined and regulated, is inscribed at the
heart of the practice of teaching, not as an additional or adjacent part, but as a
mechanism that is inherent to it and which increases its efficiency"(Foucault,
1991 Discipline & Punish :pp173-178)
See also how pupil behaviour was divided into two dichotomous ideal types 'good'
and 'bad' with corresponding regimes of punishments, rewards and a whole plethora
of 'correcting' techniques (p.180).
These techologies of power are of course productive in that they constructed the
whole array of hierarchicalised subjectivities which are the denizens of
educational establishments, re-produce forms of knowledge which are legitmate to
'study' etc., etc., etc.
Finally of course excams;
"The examination combines the techniques of an observing hierarchy and those of a
normalising judgement. It is a normalising gaze, a surveilance that makes it
possible to qualify, to classify and to punish. it establishes over individuals a
visibility through which one differentiates them and judges them. That is why, in
all the mechanisms of discipline, the examination is highly ritualised. In it are
combined the ceremony of power and the form of the experiment, the deployment of
force and the establishment of truth" (pp185-185).
Of course te productive aspect of power opens mulitiple sites for both new
techniques of the self and stategies of resistance - whether through reverse
discourse - reverse subjectivities, or techniques of absence, etc., etc., etc.

Vunch@xxxxxxx wrote:

> In a message dated 01/05/2000 9:18:30 AM Eastern Standard Time,
> hwsholar@xxxxxxxx writes:
> > Back to my daydream of domination. In order to control, or powerfully
> > shape, people's mental processes, I would seek to turn America's
> > schools into labor training facilities that discourage the herd of
> > idiots who populate the classrooms from entertaining any silly notions
> > of self-rule and self-management. In other words, I would try to snuff
> > out all critical thinking.
> >
> > Instead of laying out a curriculum that focused on the connections
> > between math, language, science and even playing, I would
> > compartmentalize academic life so the students failed to see the unity
> > of all knowledge, which is the best way to douse the embers of natural
> > curiosity. I would want the kids to sit in algebra class, for example,
> > asking the question that I and most of my classmates posed with
> > exasperation: "What does this have to do with real life?" And,
> > undoubtedly, I would want to make the most efficient use of rewards and
> > punishments.
> There is no denying that there is a power dimension in the educational
> institution, but whether it is coercive or manipulative is controversial.
> Here, the poster seems to say that the problem is the curriculum. No doubt,
> curriculums have a bit of arbitrariness to them.
> But, I have never felt that there was a teacher or educational
> administrator that intentionally expectd students to refrain from
> self-organization. Instead, in most educational contexts that I have been
> in, the means for assisting students to organize are provided with the only
> expectation being that it is done properly. Many students buy into these
> kinds of arrangement. The difficulty comes from the way that students are
> organized outside of schools by influential subcultural organizations
> to believe that reality is nothing but a fearful, alienated and chaotic
> locus. Students that are uncooperative often demonstrate traits of
> resistance and hostility to the educational enterprise. These traits are
> apparently fed by a media gone haywire with violent images and plots, and law
> enforcement agencies (private armies) 'worldwide' that frequently and
> heinously violate basic human rights. If the beef about power in education
> is the curriculum, then I will agree, many aspects of the curriculum are
> top-heavy with unrealistic and unnecessary expectations. But, when students
> enter schools as excessively passive, resistant, or hostile due to the
> effects of other governmental agencies, then the power dimension of education
> becomes one of a protective service, or providing merely custodial protection
> from the dangers of the outside world. Organizing large groups of students
> to merely co-exist without any
> dangerous or violent events, with a minimum of coercion or "power" becomes an
> overwhelming mission which few are able to accomplish in sync with academic
> achievement. Over and over again, safety considerations are the main issue
> in running schools; considerations which are exacerbated by grading policies,
> authority relations in the school, and interpersonal conflicts between
> students, but by far the
> most damaging aspects of power come from outside of the school. Let's face it,
> the 'culture' is not exactly pro-education!!! If any influence has been
> deleterious
> upon educational contexts, it is the legal profession which has all but
> hogtied and muted pedagogues from exercising authority. Instead of
> discussing power in education, perhaps we should discuss the lack of power.
> Fred W.

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