Carceral state
A Carceral archipelago refers to French social theorist Michel Foucault
Michel Foucault
Michel Foucault , born Paul-Michel Foucault , was a French philosopher, social theorist and historian of ideas...

's work on surveillance systems and their technologies over modern societies and its practice of social control and discipline over its population in all areas of social life.Taken from his classic work Discipline and punish
Discipline and Punish
Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison is a book by philosopher Michel Foucault. Originally published in 1975 in France under the title Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la Prison, it was translated into English in 1977. It is an interrogation of the social and theoretical mechanisms behind...

 modelled on the principle of and related to the Nation state and ideally employed on the idea of an Incarceration
Incarceration is the detention of a person in prison, typically as punishment for a crime .People are most commonly incarcerated upon suspicion or conviction of committing a crime, and different jurisdictions have differing laws governing the function of incarceration within a larger system of...

 system producing society's need for prison
A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime...

s. It employs physical boundaries to gain control of urban space. In the form of a carceral Dystopia
A dystopia is the idea of a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian, as characterized in books like Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four...

, public space is transformed into defendable space, with the installation of walls, gates, fences, surveillance camera
Closed-circuit television
Closed-circuit television is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors....

s and security checkpoint
Civilian checkpoint
Civilian checkpoints or Security checkpoints are distinguishable from border or frontier checkpoints in that they are erected and enforced within contiguous areas under military or paramilitary control...

s. Such installations are meant to provide control over urban space. In these spaces, gatherings of strangers to the area are discouraged, and barricades of various forms can prevent people from entering or passing through.

Carceral archipelago

Gated communities
Gated community
In its modern form, a gated community is a form of residential community or housing estate containing strictly-controlled entrances for pedestrians, bicycles, and automobiles, and often characterized by a closed perimeter of walls and fences. Gated communities usually consist of small residential...

throughout urban areas also exist in a kind of carceral state. Because of the fear of urban crime, these wealthy communities separate themselves through the use of physical barriers such as wrought iron
Wrought iron
thumb|The [[Eiffel tower]] is constructed from [[puddle iron]], a form of wrought ironWrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon...

 fences and gates. Some communities employ guards that act as a kind of private police force. Gated communities can also refer to poorer inner city areas that have installed barricades and checkpoints to curtail gang violence and drug dealing.

“Gates, fences, and walls are no longer reserved solely for the rich. City neighborhoods, from the wealthiest to the most poverty-stricken, are installing gates and fences, completely closing themselves off. Lower-income neighborhoods that gate are desperate to control crime and regain control of their streets.

In public housing projects and very low income neighborhoods, government, police and neighborhood residents are banding together to build systems of fences, gates, and security checkpoints to control gang activity, drug dealing, and other crimes. These gates and walls are more often paid for by the city government or the local housing authority than by the residents, but the initiative can come from either. In any case, these walls differ from those discussed so far in that they are seen by their builders as an exigency rather than an amenity.”

Gated communities that exist scattered throughout the urban landscape turn the modern metropolis into a kind of carceral archipelago, in which the gated communities and defended public spaces exist as perceived “islands of security.” These perceived “islands” are often surrounded by residential areas populated by the lower class. In the book, Fortress America: Gated Communities in the United States, Blakely and Snyder describe the phenomena of the carceral archipelago:

“The drive to redefine territory and protect boundaries is being felt in neighborhoods of all income levels throughout America's cities. Much of the growth in gated communities is not created by developers but by residents of existing neighborhoods who install gates and barricades in an attempt to defend their existing way of life. These are the security zone communities, the closed streets of the city, suburb, and barricade perches. We define this type by the origin of its gates and fences: unlike the lifestyle and prestige communities, where gates are built by the developer, in security zone communities the residents build gates and retrofit their neighborhoods with security mechanisms. In the city and suburb perches, residents turn their neighborhoods into gated communities by closing off all access and sometimes hiring guards.”

Foucault's Theories On Prison and Punishment

Foucault main feature in his work discipline and punish traces how it was possible that our society has become one in which surveillance and monitoring are permanent and constant features of our world. These contemporary forms of social control,punishment,surveillance and the prison system
had unlikely origins:a whole series of accidents and unintentional consequences and a transformation in the nature and understanding of punishment that took place around 1800 Europe had taken placed.
This is why the Damiens case is important. He was doubly ‘unlucky’ and 'unfortunate'– because both his gruesome punishment had become redundant and obsolete,because not long afterwards criminal punishment had become 'humane'.However,this 'humanness' had its own rational.According to Foucault,the very notion of the criminal had became political within the confines of Political economy
Political economy
Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...

 the western legal system had been transformed from one of cruelty to one of repeating ones crimes over and over again,therefore producing the 'rational'professional criminal; criminals were punished differently (and less dramatically rather ironically). The professional criminal had now been tied to the general specifics of the judiciary giving the rather false impression that the working population were susceptible to criminal and anti-social behaviour.This wrong impression produced an explosion of different techniques at who it was primarily aimed at rather ironically,the working population from where the inexhaustible supply of the professional criminal,labour power and political power all came from this particular group and inevitably become an invaluable source of discipline and punishment to the rest of society.This doesn't mean to say however,that society was split into a two tier society,one for punishment and one for the unpunished,what it does mean is that the intended recipients of the system of prison and punishment was primarily targeted at the poorer 'classes'.But the technologies that was produced migrated to 'everywhere',such as;schools,army barracks,hospitals and the work place,rather paradoxically,compelling the judiciary to make it necessary to have a system of penance (time served),nearly 70% of criminals go back to the prison system therefore ensuring that the Criminal justice system is 'rational',invisible,transient,'normal','familiar'.What this eventual unintended historical outcome does mean is that the prison system becomes a system designed to produce prisons for 'ever' making it impossible for the prison to be removed from society maximising the criminal justice system survival,the criminals are needed,so incidentally are the laws and the policy,law makers producing this endless cycle recidivism making it a permanent fixture in history too everyone in society and by operating efficiently producing professional criminals ensuring that the double edge sword of recidivism,criminals and the working population are coalescent with one another,punishment'works'so the criminal could 'learn' his 'errors better'. Punishment,according to Foucault,was concerned with being a better criminal about learning how to be punished,hence the 'trick' of 'rehabilitation'. Rehabilitation was part of the tumultuous chain of events in 16th-18th century European societies at this time where there was dramatic,drastic and radical social changes in the shape of economic,political,judicial reform in society and wasn't much concerned with reforming the individual criminal,at least with elimination of criminality,which it was powerless to do.Punishment,Foucault argued,was concerned with guaranteeing the return of the criminal to the criminal justice system not as an exile,as in previous cases,but as a product of both economic and scientific 'rationality' being punished better means making punishment a 'scientific system'.This for Foucault made punishment and the criminal become a integral part of 'western' scientific rationality basesing it on a model 'cure'for reforms and meant two things;a surface of inscription for power/knowledge,knowledge/objects and the submission of bodies through the control of ideas;the analysis of representations as a principle in a politics of bodies,which for Foucault was far more effective than the old insitutions of torture and executions.Foucault makes an interesting observation on what kind of tool was used to make this new kind of punishment possible;Semiology,propergated by a group Foucault calls the Ideologues it was this particular group who developed the thought of the individual and his relantionship to others and society,but invented the necessary technology which would include the economic justification for,as opposed to the sovereign,punishment.

This type of new punishment that replaced public torture and execution had a number of distinctive characteristics that are revealed by Faucher’s House of Young Prisoners: strict discipline, exact rules, surveillance and rehabilitation.
Remember that Foucault still hasn’t connected his history of punishment with his general project to describe contemporary forms of social control.

Foucault argued that the procedures and technology for the control of the plague established around 1700 became a template for a more general form of social control. In order to control the plague, a village was sequestered and every street was put under constant surveillance by a ‘syndic’ who reported to an ‘intendant’. These procedures were absolutely necessary to stop the spread of the plague.
In 1791, Jeremy Bentham
Jeremy Bentham
Jeremy Bentham was an English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. He became a leading theorist in Anglo-American philosophy of law, and a political radical whose ideas influenced the development of welfarism...

 drew up architectural plans(it was his brother, Samuel Bentham
Samuel Bentham
Sir Samuel Bentham was a noted English mechanical engineer and naval architect credited with numerous innovations, particularly related to naval architecture, including weapons...

 who was the true architect Jeremy Bentham was the legal and philosophical brains behind the project) that took the logic of plague control and transformed them into a plan for controlling people in prisons, workshops, schools and other institutions.He called this the Panopticon
The Panopticon is a type of building designed by English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late eighteenth century. The concept of the design is to allow an observer to observe all inmates of an institution without them being able to tell whether or not they are being watched...

. In a sense, Bentham became the architect for what Erving Goffman
Erving Goffman
Erving Goffman was a Canadian-born sociologist and writer.The 73rd president of American Sociological Association, Goffman's greatest contribution to social theory is his study of symbolic interaction in the form of dramaturgical perspective that began with his 1959 book The Presentation of Self...

 called ‘total institutions’. The Panopticon was a round building with a central control tower looking into cells on the perimeter of the building. The guard in the control tower was hidden behind a screen. Thus the inmates never knew when they were being watched. The panoptic cell was therefore the opposite of a dungeon.

Foucault's Themes On Carceral archipelago

Historians have usually discounted the importance of the Panopticon because although Bentham drew up the plan, very few were actually built.Foucault claimed that numerous historians had missed the point: the idea of the Panopticon became used in many different settings in diverse ways. He quoted a 19th century legal scholar called Julius who argued that Bentham’s design was an event ‘in the history of the human mind’ .It was the ‘birth certificate’ of ‘disciplinary society’.
This is the key point in Foucault’s argument: the shift from the Panopticon to panopticism. The former is an architectural plan, the latter is a set of general ideas about the control of populations. Sociologists became interested in Foucault because of his account of panopticism.
Here’s an important distinction: punishment was inflicted on people who had been shown to break the law; by contrast, panopticism was a form of social control (and power) that is inflicted on everyone. It is pre-emptive.

Foucault argued that the social sciences emerged as part of the package of panoptic, controlling devices that gave birth to disciplinary society. Rather than thinking of psychology, sociology, psychiatry or criminology as emancipatory projects designed to improve societies, Foucault saw them as ‘strange sciences’ that develop the technologies and procedures of panopticism.
This creates what he calls ‘power-knowledge’ that can be used for social control.
This led to a view of society as a ‘carceral archipelago’. The word ‘carceral’ refers to anything concerning prisons, the word ‘archipelago’ denotes a cluster of islands. Foucault’s idea is that we now live in a world in which we are constantly being watched, judged, disciplined, evaluated and controlled by different ‘experts’ who write reports about us. Foucault writes that ‘the judges of normality are everywhere’.

Because of this, Foucault became interested in strategies of resistance. How can anyone escape the carceral archipelago? He admired vagabonds who refused to live as others expected them to live, anarchists who challenge authority and so on. He gave the example of a homeless young man sentenced to two years in a reformatory. The young man smiled when given his sentence and refused to be depressed by it, or judged by the court.
We can now understand Foucault’s book. It is a ‘history of the present’. It explains how new forms of punishment in the 19th century became transformed into general techniques and procedures for controlling populations. Foucault argued that the social sciences are implicated in this process: they contribute to panopticism.

In his work after Discipline and Punish
Discipline and Punish
Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison is a book by philosopher Michel Foucault. Originally published in 1975 in France under the title Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la Prison, it was translated into English in 1977. It is an interrogation of the social and theoretical mechanisms behind...

, Foucault became interested in a related question. Instead of looking at panoptic forms of control, he became interested in how people use information to think about themselves. He sometimes referred to this a study of ‘ethics’, other times he used the grander title: ‘technologies of the self’. Think of reading magazines that provide ideas about what to wear, what to eat and other broad lifestyle concerns. Foucault studied two related issues: what information was on hand and what people chose to do with the information.In many ways, this took him in a new direction, suggesting perhaps ways of living in the carceral archipelago without striving to escape from it.

See also

  • Transparency
    Transparency (humanities)
    Transparency, as used in science, engineering, business, the humanities and in a social context more generally, implies openness, communication, and accountability. Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed...

  • Panopticon
    The Panopticon is a type of building designed by English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late eighteenth century. The concept of the design is to allow an observer to observe all inmates of an institution without them being able to tell whether or not they are being watched...

  • Police state
    Police state
    A police state is one in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population...

  • Surveillance
    Surveillance is the monitoring of the behavior, activities, or other changing information, usually of people. It is sometimes done in a surreptitious manner...

  • Biopower
    Biopower was a term coined by French Social theorist and philosopher Michel Foucault it refers to the practice of modern states and their regulation of their subjects through "an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations." ...

  • Biopolitics
    The term "biopolitics" or "biopolitical" can refer to several different yet often compatible concepts.-Definitions:# In the work of Michel Foucault, the style of government that regulates populations through "biopower" .# In the works of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, anti-capitalist insurrection...

  • Prison
    A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime...

  • Workhouse
    In England and Wales a workhouse, colloquially known as a spike, was a place where those unable to support themselves were offered accommodation and employment...

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.