Foucault Architecture Essay

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AA Files is the Architectural Association School of Architecture's journal of record. Launched in 1981 by the AA School's then chairman Alvin Boyarsky, the journal appears twice a year and is sent out to members of the Architectural Association, individual subscribers and is distributed to a global network of bookshops. Currently under the editorship of Thomas Weaver, AA Files looks to promote original and engaging writing on architecture. It does this by drawing both on the AA School’s own academic research, lecture programme, exhibitions and events, as well by a rich and eclectic mix of architectural scholarship from all over the world.

Coverage: 1981-2017 (No. 1 - No. 75)

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ISSN: 02616823

Subjects: Architecture & Architectural History, Arts

Collections: Arts & Sciences XI Collection


engineers, builders and polytechnicians who can control ;territory,communication and speed; (244).A new idea of society emerged with the failure of governmental rationality andthe development of technology. The spatialization of the eighteenth century togovern people in the state is now shifted to deal with new variables of territory, communication and speed and, according to Foucault, ;these escape thedomain of architects; (244). The society is not necessarily so spatialized asthe state, because the remoteness between places within the state is overcome bythe railroads and, therefore, communication between places is much easier than before. Consequently, there are ;changes in the behaviour of people.; Thechanges in behaviour refer to, as Foucault quotes from a theory developed inFrance on the railroads, increasing ;familiarity among people; and developing;the new forms of human universality.; (243). In the development of the newforms of human universality, unlike the state that relies on spatialization of the territory, ;the society is not necessarily so spatialized; (242). The newrelationship between power and space is formed based on the society, not on thestate.Bearing in mind the shift of the presence of power from the state to thesociety, Foucault focused his interest on human science which is closelyconnected to the society, such as psychology, sociology, economics, linguisticsand medicine, and, as he states, ;the goal of my work during the last twentyyears has not been to analyse the phenomena of power, nor to elaborate thefoundations of such an analysis. My objective, instead, has been to create ahistory of the different modes by which, in our culture, human beings are madesubjects; (Dreyfus 1982: 208)Therefore, Foucault;s interest in the subject causes him to investigate ;formswhich are the distinctive feature of modern practices of control over thetransformation of subjects; through ;the systematic linking of the categories of  power and knowledge to form a hybrid, power-knowledge.; And compared to the power of sovereignty that consists in prohibition and suppression, power in thehybrid ;transforms those who are subject to it and it uses knowledge as aresource in doing so; (Hirst 1992: 56).For the test of the hybrid of power-knowledge, Foucault introduced ;disciplinary power; of prisons, hospitals, schools or asylums. Disciplinary power, hemaintains, relies on surveillance to transform the subjects. In relation toknowledge tied to systems and human beings as objects of disciplinary knowledge,Foucault introduced Panopticon. It is a historical reference from the eighteenthcentury of Jeremy Bentham;s imaginary project and quoted to explore his conceptson power-knowledge.Panopticon, Foucault saw, is ;to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power; (Foucault1979: 201) and its principle is generated from the relationship between theinmates, the observer and architectural space. The inmates as objects of disciplinary knowledge in Panopticon are expected to display certain modes of  behaviour which then are supervised by the observer to control and remodel(Hirst 1982: 59). In terms of controlling and remodelling, arrangements of spaceare fulfilling the task. Space was arranged to carry out disciplinary power through knowledge of surveillance.The effective method of carrying out power-knowledge in Panopticon, spatialconfiguration or arrangements of space, Foucault claimed, is ;to ensure a

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