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Docile Bodies Essay

1428 words - 6 pages

Foucault used the word docility in order to give an explanation of how control and power was attained through discipline. The body needs attention. People used to be forced to undergo violence and torture. Now times have changed, and people are being subjected to control and discipline. In all institutions of social life; discipline is used. A docile body is one that may be “subjected, used, transformed and improved, and this docile body can only be achieved through strict regimen of disciplinary acts” (Foucault, pg 136). It can be said that docile bodies are submissive. This means most of us are capable of being dominated. This concept made some become aware of the control they could have. ...view middle of the document...

(pg 149). High school and elementary schools have great control over activity. Each minute at school is planned in detail. Students are under constant supervision, in order for all distractions to be ruled out. When the students are in school they are expected to be learning. Control of activity was necessary for discipline. It was easy to understand and it was logical. People would have set times that would ensure that their cycles went uninterrupted. A common example of this would be at Brock, when students make a timetable at the beginning of each year. Some prefer morning classes, whereas others prefer late classes. Ultimately a time table is created and the framework of your days and your tasks is a consistent repeat cycle. There has to be a correct use of the body in order for there to be the correct use of time.
Foucault uses an example of there being two ways on control marching troops. The general framework of an activity is the temporal elaboration of the act. It can be looked upon as a programme. “The act can be broken down into elements; the position of the body, limbs, and articulations is defined. Time penetrates the body and with it all meticulous controls of power.” (pg 152). This can typically be seen after recess in school when students are required to line up straight and silently after the bell as rung in order to be allowed to back in. Each movement can be broken down into different elements. From standing up straight, standing directly on the line provided and to standing silently until you are allowed back into the school.
No body part may be useless in order for time to be used correctly. Body and gesture come into play when you want to maximize the efficiency and speed of a certain task. Foucault uses the example of handwriting. In order to have good handwriting students should follow certain positioning and adjust their posture for handwriting. A teacher then walks around correcting and disciplining the students positioning in order to help them achieve good hand writing. This can be seen in our school system through many aspects. Students are given time to complete school work at the end of each period. It is up to the student to have the discipline to complete their required work, but there teacher is present to ensure that the student is using their time wisely and effectively, instead of wasting their time. In order for some tasks to be completed it is necessary to have the required discipline to complete the task. “A disciplined body is the prerequisite of an efficient gesture” (pg 152)
The body must have an object that it manipulates. It consists of the breakdown of the complete task into two different parts.
It is forbidden to waste time. The timetable was to eliminate the danger of wasting time. Discipline is the ever growing use of time; exhaustion. This means that a person should maximize their time by maintaining speed and efficiency. The more time something is broken down the more behind it becomes....

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