3 Responses


    Quite a meaningful article. Foucault was terrific; he made us see beyond the Enlightenment project of a free society. He enabled us to explore the entire matrix of ‘micro-physics of power’. From mental hospitals to prisons, from schools to administrative organizations–we are all caught in the ritualization of power-knowledge with its subtle practice of discipline and punishment. It is in this context that The New Leam has chosen to publish an insightful article. Congratulations!

  2. Pooja Bhatia
    Pooja Bhatia at |

    This article beautifully captures the intricate workings of Foucault’s concept of disciplinary power in the context of a school. With a rigid pre-defined syllabus, bell that rings after every 30-40 minutes period, schools transform young inquisitive minds into disciplined obedient bodies. Schools resemble factories churning out identical model after model that can be easily absorbed into the industrial economy; thereby performing an important function for a capitalist society forever in need of unquestioning able bodied workers.

    Foucault is a fascinating thinker indeed. His concept of ‘bio power’ (having power over other bodies, “an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations”) and ‘circular motion of power’ (expounded in the popular “power is everywhere” maxim) caused a revolutionary break from traditional theories of power.

    Foucault not just makes us critical of power structures; he also offers a model of resistance. Students are not just silent victims of oppression; they are also agents of change. In a fascinating book titled ‘Weapons of the Weak-Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance’ Professor James Scott highlights the techniques of evasion and resistance used by Malaysian peasants against their oppressors. Students too employ a variety of techniques like not doing homework, refusing to trim their nails or hair, bunking classes or assembly and most importantly, asking questions to subvert the teacher’s oppressive power. Thereby offering hope for social change.

  3. Aarti Mangal
    Aarti Mangal at |

    What made panopticon effective is its ability of making supervisor to have a watch over each cell in the surrounding ring. The idea of getting watched enforces discipline which is internal to the prisoners. The power relations and hierarchy is there but with the installation of cctv cameras in schools even teachers land up in the prisoner like situation.


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