The educational schooling system is an exercise of biopolitical control by means of surveillance.
Roth, Director for research at the University of Pennsylvania, â€˜92
(Jeffrey, American Edu. Research Journal, â€œReview: Of What Help Is He? A Review of "Foucault and Education", AD:7-8-9, Vol. 29, No. 4 (Winter, 1992), CMM)
The first of these disciplinary technologies is surveillance. Constant observation is made possible through the ordering of bodies in space and time. In schools, the ordering of space is seen in the familiar grid of self- contained classrooms, segregated by age. Time is demarcated precisely into periods and terms. For Foucault, the consequences of partitioning these two coordinates were profound and gave rise to some of his most dazzling leaps of interpretation: Each individual has his own place; and each place its individual. Avoid distribution in groups; break up collective dispositions; analyse con- fused, massive or transient pluralities. ... One must eliminate the effects of imprecise distributions, the uncontrolled disappearance of individuals, their diffuse circulation, their unusable and dangerous coagulation.9 Another technology allows people to be traced over time. The written examination, the results of which are entered into a cumulative record (for students and faculty alike), documents an individual's capacity. Examinations measure, classify, and rank. They allow individuals to be compared with others in a group and further individualized into a special case to be treated or rewarded. Counting the number of correct answers on a written examination allows Gaussian statistics (the properties of the normal curve) to be applied to the results. This quantification makes possible a third disciplinary technology, which Foucault called normalizing judgment. Once a mean or average is established for a distribution of test scores, the measure of central tendency serves as a norm, reference to which allows assignment to be rationally and objectively made to ranks above and below the mean. A quantified norm both totalizes and individualizes a population. The mean and standard deviation summarize a group's variability, while a distribution of scores can be ordered into percentiles or stanines and individuals assigned a specific rank location. Normalizing a population is itself a move toward homogeneity, pushing to the tails anything idiosyncratic, peculiar, and unfamiliar. I will have more to say about the consequences of standardized measurement in a later section.
Biopower is extended by the state through education. Practices of rules, surveillance, punishment, reward and gifted programs contribute to the studentâ€™s future failure.
Roth, Director for research at the University of Pennsylvania, â€˜92
(Jeffrey, American Edu. Research Journal, â€œReview: Of What Help Is He? A Review of "Foucault and Education", AD:7-8-9, Vol. 29, No. 4 (Winter, 1992), CMM)
Biopolitical control over people is practiced in schooling systems through surveillance, higher standards, punishments and rewards, and gifted programs. These practices set students up for failure.
How does this description of power relations play out in educational settings? In a recent article, James Ryan does a better job of unpacking Foucault's ideas and applying them to an understanding of a specific educa- tional practice than do any of the pieces in the Ball anthology.18 According to Ryan, a reading of Foucault should convince us that no one individual or group ever controls the process of schooling. Both the structure and outcome of schools are products of a range of individual and group desires and actions. For example, although rhetorically committed to providing equal educational opportunity, schools contribute very little toward equaliz- ing the life chances of students. In the face of this failure (i.e., the persistence of discrepancies in academic achievement and occupational attainment), educational reformers recurrently propose tightening of the very disciplinary technologies that have generated the inequalities in the first place: higher standards (which stigmatize average performance), increased surveillance (which further restricts students' liberty through tougher codes of conduct), and more explicit punishment and reward systems (externally mounted cam- paigns against drugs and internal lobbying for more programs dedicated to gifted/college prep students). As long as schools continue to use an or- ganizational scheme geared to watching, testing, and normalizing students, their efforts to reduce inequality, according to Ryan, are bound to fail
The schooling institution is central to maintaining a biopolitical regime
Marshall, PhD in Language, Literacy, and Culture from Stanford University, 95 (James D., Foucault and Neo-Liberalism: Biopower and Busno-Power, http://www.ed.uiuc.edu/eps/PES-Yearbook/95_docs/marshall.html) PMK
Foucault discusses in considerable detail how the requisite techniques and technologies for the exercise of bio-power were developed.6 These can be classified under two headings. First, technologies of domination act essentially on the body, and classify and objectify individuals. They were developed in disciplinary blocks such as the prison, the hospital, and the school. In so far as these objective classifications are adopted and accepted by individuals so their selves are also constituted. Second, in technologies of the self there is the belief, now common in western culture, that it is possible to reveal the truth about one's self. By telling the truth about one's sexuality, where the "deepest" truth is embedded in the discourse and discursive practices of sexuality, individuals become objects of knowledge both to themselves and to others. But telling the truth is both therapeutic and also controlling. Eventually, according to Foucault, we learn how to do these things to ourselves. He refers to the conjoint effects of these two technologies as governmentality. Foucault also develops the notion of governmentality as the art of government or, as it is sometimes referred to, the "reason of state." This notion "refers to the state, to its nature and to its own rationality." He sees the technologies of domination and the self as being the techniques used "to make of the individual a significant element for the state."8 By "government" Foucault should be understood as meaning something close to "the conduct of conduct."9 This is a form of activity which attempts or aims at the conduct of persons; it is the attempt to shape, to guide, or to affect not only the conduct of people but, also, the attempt to constitute people in such ways that they can be governed. In Foucault's work this activity of governance could cover the relations of self to self, self to others, relations between institutions and social communities, and the exercise of political sovereignty. Governmentality is obtained not by a totalizing deterministic or oppressive form of power, but by bio-power directed in a totalizing manner at whole populations and, at one and the same time, at individuals so that they are both individualized and normalized. Here one locates the human sciences and their "truths," and the institutions or disciplinary blocks (including education) in which these truths have been developed, played, and continue to play, a crucially important role. Underlying many of the recent educational "reforms," their literature and the new practices and processes, are notions of freedom and choice. Students, parents, etc. are presumed to be capable of deliberating upon alternatives and choosing between alternative educational programs according to individual needs, interests, and the qualities of programs. Here it seems to be presumed that it is part of the very nature of being human to want to make continuous consumer-style choices. But the normal notions of autonomy needed to make choices, and the notions of needs and interests, presuppose that such choices are the student's (or chooser's) own, that as choosers they are independent, and that needs and interests have not been manipulated or imposed in some way upon them. There is also a conjoint claim that the quality of an education constituted by the choices made by a consumer as consumer is superior to that offered to a consumer by the choices and educational decisions made by providers of education.
Power and knowledge are co-productiveâ€”their attempt to know the world is itself an exercise of control which must be interrogated
Pickett â€˜5 [Associate professor of Political Science at Chaldron State College On the Use and Abuse of Foucault For Politics pp. 10-11]
Axel Honneth, among others, points out that Foucault's conception of power is a reworking of Nietzsche's idea of the will to power.6 Power, in this view, is not a fixed property held by one class or group; it is the outcome of conflict between a number of actors. It is not stable; it is continually in flux and any truces must be considered temporary. Power is ubiquitous in the linguistic, bureaucratic, moral, and other structures in which agents act. For instance, although determined by power, the fundamental rules of morality are often seen as natural rather than contingent products of history: "It is true that it is society that defines, in terms of its own interests, what must be regarded as crime: it is not therefore natural. . . . [but] by assuming the form of a natural sequence, punishment does not appear as the arbitrary effect of human power." By revealing the origins and historical shifts of our basic moral and cultural distinctions, it is possible to show that what seems to be natural and self-evident is in fact contingent and arbitrary. What appears as nature is in fact the workings of power. Furthermore, the will to knowledge is the expression of power. There is a battle for truth; knowledge is the spoils of victory.9 Both Nietzsche and Foucault deny that there is a timeless, a historical truth. Instead, truth is a thing of this world, and as such, it is subject to the contingency, error, mendacity, and struggle that characterize this world. Hence, Nietzsche argues that every philosophy is an expression of the will to power of the philosopher who wrote it.10 Foucault argues that the human sciences operate on the basis of hierarchical relations, such as those between doctor and patient, or teacher and student, and that these sciences in turn have effects of power.11 For these reasons, power must not be considered as an essentially negative force, as something which is "poor in resources, sparing of its methods, monotonous . . . incapable of invention, and seemingly doomed always to repeat itself."12 Instead, power is capable of producing knowledge, rules of morality, and the basic distinctions and denotations of a language. For Nietzsche power is creative and concerned with the continual increase in force. For Foucault, modern power is the same: unlike power in the classical age, it is inventive and concerned with the increase in social forces. Nietzsche and Foucault's views of power culminate in the claim that power produces identity. Each agent is the creation and expression of power. Both are anti-naturalists; they deny that there is something "natural" at the bottom of who we are. There is no fixed human nature or subjectivity. Instead, power produces agency: it creates animals capable of, for example, promising and confessing. A central aspect of both philosophers' work is an attack on the philosophy of the subject, that is, on some concept of an ahistorical metaphysical agent that is the "doer" behind our thoughts and deeds. Instead of positing a subject which is the foundation of all knowledge and action, philosophy should undermine its attachment to this "subject without a history."13 We need to see the subject as simply the outcome of the correlation of forces, relations, and practices that constitute him.
Any public policy by the government regulating education, medicine, criminology, psychiatry results in increasing government biopolitical control into all spheres of life (everything link) Marianne Constable 1991 Foucault & Walzer: Sovereignty, Strategy & the State. Marianne Constable JD, PhD (Jurisprudence and Social Policy), Berkeley, Professor
The transition from "an art of government to a political science, from a regime dominated by structures of sovereignty to one ruled by techniques of government""corresponds to the development of the regulatory mode of power Foucault later calls bio-power, although the earlier modes of power-the law of the sovereign and the discipline of the administrative state do not disappear. Instead, a "sovereignty-discipline-government" triangle forms, "which has as its primary target the population and as its essential mechanism apparatuses of security. The emergence of legally mandated protections for the economy (the FDIC, social security)and the population( drug-testing for jobs, airport security checkpoints, blood-alcohol tests for drunk-driving), and the gradual in-corporation into law of previously unthought of "rights" (to life, to die, to abortion, to euthanasia, for animals) exemplify the new constellation of power. The question for jurists is no longer the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century problem of deriving an art of government from a theory of sovereignty. Rather, political theorists seek a foundation in law for an already existing and spreading government.47 Foucault's point is that the modern state is not the most useful focus, target, or model of power or of resistance today. To conceive of the modern state as a unified entity loses sight of the fact that today's governmental society and today's state, no less than the sovereign-state of political theorists, is not a unified whole. Perhaps, Foucault suggests, the State is no more than a composite reality and a mythical abstraction whose importance is a lot more limited than many of us think. Maybe what is really important for our modern times ... is not so much the State-domination of society, but the "governmentalisation" of the State.48 Foucault's position implies a vast misunderstanding by modern political theorists of both the possibility and the significance of the task they have set for themselves. According to Foucault, the regulative principles reiterated by the men and women who, Walzer believes, can "tell us when state power is corrupted or systematically misused, who cry out that something is rotten," cannot set things right. Indeed, while Walzer criticizes Foucault for ignoring "elections, par-ties, and assemblies," as well as "the demos,"4' which Walzer believes help protect us from the tyrannical exercise of power, Foucault argues that the "democratization of sovereignty" is "fundamentally determined by and grounded in mechanisms of disciplinary coercion.'"0T hat is, the lawfulness of law, the legitimacy of the state, the authority of state apparatus, all rest on the creation and production of certain disciplines and knowledges of ourselves as "subjects" of law and "objects" of knowledge, not least of which is political theory. Such disciplines and knowledge come not from the state, but from the diverse practices and discourses which make up our society. The state may or may not regulate factory-workers, prisoners, patients, schoolchildren, drug addicts, travelers, and ballplayers, as well as their managers, wardens, doctors, teachers, counselors, drivers, and umpires, directly. Whether the state does so or not though, these objects of knowledge and subjects of power are regulated and constituted by some discipline-be it management science, criminology, medicine and psychiatry, education, recreational science, or even public policy-that ascertains the appropriateness of state intervention.
Educational reform simply is the increasing of state disciplinary power. Marianne Constable 1991 Foucault & Walzer: Sovereignty, Strategy & the State. Marianne Constable JD, PhD (Jurisprudence and Social Policy), Berkeley, Professor
There are, first, the "procedures of power that characterized the disciplines: an anatomo-politics of the human body." Discipline focused on the body as a machine, and sought the integration of the human being, as object, into systems of efficient and economic controls. Discipline ensured "the optimization of [the body's] capabilities, the extortion of its forces, the parallel increase of its usefulness and its docility."29 The development of universities, secondary schools, barracks, workshops, prisons exemplify the growth of disciplinary power, a power whose diffuse sources and points of contact serve as contrast to the more direct, centrally-organized power of the sovereign.
Schools are used to cultivate obedience through mediums like the coppertop grading system to achieve maximum efficiency and increase biopolitical control while preventing school as being recognized as compulsory Gabbard & Ross 2004 David and Wayne, Defending Public Schools page 10 Professor. Department of Curriculum & Instruction. College of Education. East Carolina University. From the foregoring analysis, we can discern that the state compels us to attend school for two primary reasons that help us comprehend the traditional role of school. In short, schooling conditions children for the future lives as coppertops while simultaneously cultivating their obedience to the state. It accomplishes this, in part by disguising the disciplinary functions of schools that treat children as coppertops behind a mask of benevolence. In order to achieve maximum efficiency, the mechanism and the supporting ideology of disciplinary power had to remain hidden. Therefore, by providing modern institutions with beneficient images, pastoral powers can be said to function in manner similar to the Matrix-as a â€œdream world,â€ a â€œneural-interactive simulation,â€ and â€œa world pulled over peopleâ€™s eyes to prevent them from seeing the truth.â€ First, the state must prevent people from recognizing the truth that schooling is compulsory, which means that the state claims the right to lay hold of the bodies of children to carry out the disciplinary measures required to maximize their utility to the market. To blur the connections between school, state, and law, schooling was tied to the value of education and presented as a human right and an opportunity. Framed as a value and protected as a right, schooling came to fit into the logic of the market as something that could be acquired. In the vernacular of schooling, we have learned to say that we want our children to get an education, or to receive an education. Suddenly, something that had previously been treated as a process became a thing that one could possess. Befitting the marketâ€™s logic of acquisitiveness, education devolved into a commodity and the more of it that one consumes, as evidenced by the number of diplomas and degrees that one possesses, the more oneâ€™s use-value within the market grows. Human being, then could be â€œgradedâ€ like coppertop batteries. Some are AAAs, some AAs, some are Cs and some are Ds. As they increase in their charge through the consumption of schooling, the coppertops increase their certified use-value in the market.
The market place is created in a way in which only students with degrees can be evaluated with worth, biopolitical institutions change what was once seen as an â€˜opportunityâ€™ into a necessity Gabbard & Ross 2004 David and Wayne, Defending Public Schools page 11 Professor. Department of Curriculum & Instruction. College of Education. East Carolina University. The market itself played a role in this when employers began requiring educational credentials (diplomas, degrees, and certificates-testimonials to the degree to which a personâ€™s use-value had been developed) as a precondition of employment. The degree that the market literally became peopleâ€™s only means for satisfying their wants and needs, these formal job requirements made compulsory school laws somewhat obsolete. Because the market itself began requiring participation in the ritual of schooling as a condition of employment, the connection between the compulsory nature of schooling , the state, and the law became less discernable. As a consequence, school could become viewed less in terms of being an institiution that the state forced people to attend and more in terms of an â€œopportunityâ€ and, later, a â€œrightâ€ that the state granted to individuals, enabling them to meet the demands of the market.
The compulsory education system instills that children are given â€˜rightsâ€™ and â€˜privilegesâ€™ but these claims are facades by the state in order to make them the most efficient in the biopolitical sphere Gabbard & Ross 2004 David and Wayne, Defending Public Schools page 12 Professor. Department of Curriculum & Instruction. College of Education. East Carolina University. In addition to conditioning us to blindly accept our status as coppertops, another major feature of the Matrix that schools assist in the feeding in our brains revolves around our utility to the market as consumers. This feature also contributes to developing our loyalty and obedience to the state by socializing children to identify themselves, first and foremost, in nationalistic terms as Americans. Within this identity structure there comes a sense of privilege-the privilege of having been born or â€œnaturalizedâ€ into a society that represents the very best of what any human civilization could ever possibly have to offer. At the most superficial level of analysis, the formal curriculum of compulsory schooling frames what is â€œvery bestâ€ about America in jingoistic terms, celebrating its democratic form of government, with all the freedoms and rights that it purports to afford its citizens. The schoolâ€™s hidden curriculum, however, frames those freedoms and rights primarily within the contex of the market, not politics. Here the utopian character of market fundamentalism surfaces to define what is â€œvery bestâ€ about America in terms of the â€œrightsâ€ and â€œopportunitiesâ€ that the state affords individuals to pursue their own individual secular salvation. Again, through the formation of â€œconsumer conscience,â€ individuals learn to judge their own degree of salvation according to market standards. We learn to equate â€œwell-beingâ€ with â€œwell-having.â€ Given the total quantity and quality of goods and services currently made available through the market-the overall level of affluence that establishes the American market society as the historic and universal standard against which all other nations and societies pale in comparison-to what degree and for what duration must I comply with and consume schooling in order to cultivate the proper amount of use-value that will enable me to acquire a level of affluence comparable to that standard? Again, children must never learn to view their attendance at school as a compulsory duty imposed on them by the state for the purpose of rendering them useful to the market as producers/consumers. They must recognize schooling in terms of the value of education and, therefore, as one of the first â€œopportunities,â€ â€œrights,â€ or â€œprivilegesâ€ afforded to them by the benevolent state.
I'm afraid you are on your own for the impacts and shit