After the Panopticon: Contemporaiy Institutions as Documentary Subject

in Cultural Locations of Disability

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780226767314
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226767307 | DOI:
After the Panopticon: Contemporaiy Institutions as Documentary Subject

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This chapter analyzes parallels between Michel Foucault's research into disciplinary regimes in the nineteenth century and the sequestration of objectionable bodies in institutionalization practices of today. It focuses upon those practices as recorded in a recent series of documentary films by Frederick Wiseman, taped on location at the Helen Keller Institute for the Deaf and Blind in Talladega, Alabama. In works such as Madness and Civilization (1988b), The Birth of the Clinic (1975), and Discipline and Punish (1995) Foucault identifies key European sites, such as the asylum, the courts, the prison, the clinic, and educational facilities, that adopted shared techniques of discipline. These techniques revolved around tools that labeled, partitioned, and scrutinized bodies in order to exact noncorporeal compliance, which referenced subjectivities rather than physical bodies as the locus of intervention.

Keywords: Michel Foucault; institutionalization practices; documentary films; educational facilities; locus of intervention; disability

Chapter.  8535 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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