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Doing history - Essay Example

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The author, based on an order that existed in the seventeenth century, outlines measures that were taken in response to occurrence of a…
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Doing history

Download file to see previous pages... Finally, a process of purification followed. The process also involved isolation of lepers from the society with the aim of ensuring purity. The plague, however, is a symbol of modern measures for ensuring a disciplined society. Response measures to a plague symbolize mechanisms and authorities for identifying and evaluating indiscipline for adequate corrective measures. Operation of similar forces to brand those who are not disciplined and to transform them towards an organized society is then discussed (Foucault 195- 199). Foucault also discusses Bentham’s panopticon, another symbol for the modern day authority. In the figure, each prisoner was placed in a room that could be watched from a centralized tower. Each room had two windows, one directed towards the tower and another in the opposite direction and open to light. The light would then illuminate prisoners and allow an observer at the tower to see whatever happened in the rooms. No communication is however possible between prisoners or between prisoners and the observers. Unlike the previous approach to isolation, the panopticism model offered access to light and visibility and improved efficiency of discipline. It allowed for use of lesser personnel and effectiveness of administration (Foucault 200- 204).
The author’s discussion of the two imageries, the plague and Bentham’s panopticon, are ways of seeing history and developed bases for the author’s exploration of history. Based on the images, the author explores many questions that form major themes of the article. The first question can be framed as follows, how is power attained and managed in ensuring discipline? The author uses both imageries to answer this question. From the plague imagery, the author reports that power is attained through mobilization of authority for extensive influence and through isolation of subjects. The panopticon approach is a replica of the approaches but ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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