Friday, October 28, 2011

IRCPPS in the Links: Arendt, Foucault, and Occupy Wall Street

Xavier Marquez writes in Abandoned Footnotes about his forthcoming article in Polity:

Hannah Arendt and Michel Foucault developed different but complementary theories about the relationship between visibility and power.  In an Arendtian “space of appearance,” the common visibility of actors generates power, which is understood as the potential for collective action.  In a Foucauldian “space of surveillance,” visibility facilitates control and normalization.  Power generated in spaces of appearance depends on and reproduces horizontal relationships of equality, whereas power in spaces of surveillance depends on and reproduces vertical relationships of inequality.  The contrast between a space of appearance and a space of surveillance enhances both Arendt’s and Foucault’s critiques of modern society by both clarifying Arendt's concerns with the rise of the “social” in terms of  spaces of surveillance, and enriching Foucault's notion of “resistance.”