[João Biehl and Catarina in Vita; image by Torben Eskerod from the book] There is a place outside of Porto Alegre in Brazil where families leave behind “undesirable members” (14) (mostly sick) to wait for their death. It is called Vita, what João Biehl, in an ethnographic work, describes as a “zone of social abandonment.”
What must it feel, in remote corners of the earth when Western bombs fall on their lands? There you are, doing your chores, getting by on a quiet day, breathing in the breeze as you think about them, the people of your house, nurturing something that happened last time, that moment, resenting something else, many
[The "reformatory" of Mettray, north of Tours, France] [Continues "The Panoptic Society (of Surveillance)"] Despite (modal/technological) changes in the way that power is exercised—despite, that is to say, the (systemic/structural) change in the regime of power—one function/element remains central to society: namely, penality. This is true even of the panoptic society (of surveillance). The disciplinary
[The interior of Stateville Penitentiary in Joliet, IL, USA; Image from Superstock] [Continues "Individuality of Disciplinary Power"] The (intensive) Panopticon provided (the virtual modality of) disciplinary power an individualized mode of its exercise. In its efficiency and effectiveness—as is especially apparent in its adroit mechanisms (of normalization), (machinic) automation, and perfectibility—this particular manner in which
[Title page of Hobbes' Leviathan] In “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses,” Louis Althusser contributes to the Marxist discourse on the relationship between the base and the superstructure in order (as implied by his rhetoric) to go beyond it. Recounting the basic framework of what he calls a “metaphor of topography,” Althusser explains that “Marx conceived
The Base-Superstructure model is basically a theoretical framework, a schema, a blueprint, charting the different parts of society, how these elements interact, and how they form a coherent social structure, i.e. the particular shape that society takes at a given moment (hence it is a historical model). The model has two main elements: the base and the superstructure, both of which can be divided further into two parts.