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The Cultural Turn in Modern Sociology A) Parsons Cybernetic Hierarchy: AdaptationGoal attainmentIntegrationLatency (modernisation = movement from from.

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Presentation on theme: "The Cultural Turn in Modern Sociology A) Parsons Cybernetic Hierarchy: AdaptationGoal attainmentIntegrationLatency (modernisation = movement from from."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Cultural Turn in Modern Sociology A) Parsons Cybernetic Hierarchy: AdaptationGoal attainmentIntegrationLatency (modernisation = movement from from high energy (economy) to high information (culture) B) Elias modernisation as process of cultural civilisation re manners, etiquette, self-control C) Western Marxism modernity as transition from physical to cultural class control (hegemony)

2 Foucault Summary 1. The centrality of Knowledge & Power a)Archaeology of Knowledge b)Genealogy of Knowledge 2. From necessary knowledge to relativism 3. Deconstruction of truth claims 4. The role of social science a)instrument of power b)subverter of power 5. Resistance to power 6. Goal de-centring the self-disciplining subject

3 Contrasting views of Western Rationality A. Enlightenment – (Kant, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau Condorcet, Marx etc) rational critique of received knowledge as means to human freedom/emancipation. B. Weber – application of rational calculation restricts human freedom re Iron Cage (Technocracy = rule or control by technical experts) Source: Collins Concise Oxford Dictionary

4 Foucaults Method 1 Archaeology (of Knowledge) Study of ancient cultures especially by excavation of physical remains Source: Collins Concise Oxford Dictionary [The] archaeological level -- the level of what made [an event or a situation] possible. Source: Foucault The Order of Things, p.31

5 Goal of Archaeology of Knowledge (exposing/uncovering) Grand Narratives Stories/ways of thinking that seek to give meaning to the whole of human existence (re myths) and that typically exclude other stories Source: Me Progress as a myth of the age of Enlightenment

6 The Social Organisation of Knowledge 1 Discourse (linguistic) practice obeying certain rules. Source: Foucault Archaeology of Knowledge, 138

7 The Social Organisation of Knowledge 2 Epistemes the total set of relations that unite, at a given period, the discursive practices that give rise to epistemological figures, sciences and possible formalised systems for knowledge Source: Foucault The Order of Things i.e. a general way of thinking accepted within a particular society or setting (re also Berger & Luckman on of course statements) Source: Me

8 Goal of Archaeology of Knowledge Relativism any theory holding that truth…is not universal or absolute but may differ between individuals and cultures. Source: Collins Concise Dictionary Relativisation The strategy of explaining the existence and authority of an idea or set of ideas by presenting it as the outcome of social/psychological processes located in a particular time and place. Source: Me

9 Foucaults Method 2 Genealogy of Knowledge Genealogy: Descent traced continuously from an ancestor Source: Collins Concise Oxford Dictionary The genealogy (of knowledge) explores what was not evident because of the institutionalization of knowledge by those in power. Source: Shawver Dictionary for the Study of the Works of Michel Foucault (internet source)

10 Power, Truth and Sociological Analysis Foucaults challenge to the Enlightenment tradition Power Capacity to exercise control over anothers actions which would otherwise have been different Adapted from Foucault Truth We are subject to the production of truth through power and we cannot exercise power except through the production of truth Source: Foucault Power/Knowledge 89

11 Interpreting Truth Claims Deconstruction Originally an approach in linguistics (re Derrida). In Sociology it is typically seen as an approach to social interpretation that regards the meaning of actions and objects as un- fixed, variable and revisable. The typical goal of deconstruction is to show how seemingly fixed meanings have been socially constructed. For Foucault this means constructed through the exercise of power Source: Me

12 Power & Modernity 1 1. Sovereign – public demonstration of power on body of miscreant e.g. torture 2. Disciplinary – reformation of character of deviant through confinement e.g. penitentiary A form of surveillance which is internalized. With disciplinary power, each person disciplines him or herself. Disciplinary power is also one of the poles of bio-power. The basic goal of disciplinary power is to produce a person who is docile. Source: Dreyfus, H. L. & Rabinow, P. Michel Foucault: beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics

13 Sovereign & Penitentiary Power

14 3. Bio(graphical?) –accumulation of personal knowledge on citizens and consumers e.g. datafiles. The increasing state concern with the biological well-being of the population including disease control and prevention, adequate food and water supply, sanitary shelter, and education. Foucault Discipline and punish Pastoral The kind of power that is exercised by the Church. It rests on the church's power to assure individual salvation in the next world. It is linked with the notion of individualism (as in individual salvation). In modern times, the salvation in the next life has been commuted to a salvation in this life (health, wellbeing, security, etc.) Foucault, in Dreyfus, H. L. & Rabinow, P. (1982). Michel Foucault: beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics (emphasis added)

15 Bio(graphical) and Pastoral power We'd like to know a little bit about you for our files We'd like to help you learn to help yourself Look around you, all you see are sympathetic eyes Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home Paul Simon Mrs Robinson

16 Power and Modernity 2 Sovereign: Disciplinary: Bio In the old days the heretic walked to the stake still a heretic, proclaiming his heresy, exulting in it. Even the victim of the Russian purges could carry rebellion locked up in his skull as he walked down the passage waiting for the bullet. But we make the brain perfect before we blow it out. The long-hoped-for bullet was entering his brain….He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother. Source: George Orwell 1984

17 Foucaults metaphor for modernity PANOPTICON; the total surveillance prison Panoptic: taking in all parts, aspects in a single view, all- embracing [from Greek panoptes seeing everything] The Panopticon…allows seeing without being seen. Such asymmetry of seeing-without-being-seen is, in fact, the very essence of power for Foucault because, ultimately, the power to dominate rests on the differential possession of knowledge. According to Foucault, the new visibility or surveillance afforded by the Panopticon was of two types: the synoptic and the analytic. The Panopticon, in other words, was designed to ensure a surveillance which would be both global and individualizing Source: Barton & Barton Modes of Power (emphasis in the original)

18 A Panopticon

19 Expertise Durkheim Product of the division of labour and potential source of social solidarity Weber The status of professionals who carry the modern sense of vocation Foucault The claim to power of engineers of the soul, exercised through the power of the gaze

20 Power, Knowledge and Self –Hood in Modernity The Self in Modern Sociology Parsons selves as role performers re socialisation Elias selves as pacified re civilising process Western Marxism selves as incorporated re ideological hegemony Foucault selves as self-disciplining subjects (the ambiguity of this last term is intentional)

21 The Narcissistic (self-regarding) Self Narcissism the culture of narcissism...(which uses) a therapeutic jargon that celebrates not so much individualism as solipsism, justifying self-absorption as authenticity and awareness Source: C. Lasch The culture of narcissism 218

22 Power & Resistance Power = Potential (electrical) Resistance (physics) property of hindering passage of electrical current, heat etc Source: Collins Concise Dictionary The potential to resist is power Negative power is power that says no…. there are no relations of power without resistance Source: Foucault Power/Knowledge, p.139 & 142

23 Subjugated Knowledge naive knowledges, located low down on the hierarchy, beneath the required level of cognition or scientificity Foucault in Gordeon C (ed) Power/Knowledge 82 The goal of critique is to make these available, not to endorse them

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