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Tania Kilin
Immortal since Dec 21, 2008
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I'm not evil, I'm inconsistent
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    Something about structure
    There's a lot going on lately, and I've been meaning to write something about the structural direction in anthropology, but I couldn't find the time.

    Also, I'm working with some architects on a project, it's called "experimental pavilion". We're trying to build some sort of housing, for a summer school, and since it's supposed to accommodate people of both genders (I know they're more than 2, but I don't want to get into that right now), they need the sociological perspective. I'm not sure how this will turn out, as I think I am biased towards the marxist paradigm. This means that to me, the social world is characterized by conflicts. This conflict may not be explicit (although in this case, the gender conflict is often explicit), but it is however present, and sometimes the ones holding the power use symbols to subdue the others, making them submissive without actually realizing that they're being controlled. I am right now writing a paper on women underwear, and what sort of meaning do we attach to this symbol, because we all agree that it is a symbol, and a very powerful one. In my theory it's making women submissive.

    The idea of structure in social sciences began I believe in the study of language. Can you feel something that you can't express in words? Can you think something that you can't find words for? How limited are we? Foucault pushed this forward, and he wrote what is in my opinion, one of the greatest books in history, "Surveiller et Punir". He showed how the increasing need for discipline and order led to a certain type of urban architecture, one resembling a lot the panopticon. The panopticon is a circular building, holding an observation tower in the middle and Jeremy Bentham suggested this would make the perfect prison. The idea that you're being watched at every moment, but without being able to see the person watching you was meant to discipline prisoners, and develop self-control. By the end of the book, Foucault shows how the same principle was used in urban landscaping, and how power has penetrated every aspect of our existence, inducing order, discipline, self-control and most of all, creating an invisible prison holding us all under its watchful eye.


    Thu, Oct 15, 2009  Permanent link

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         Fri, Oct 16, 2009  Permanent link
    Discipline and Punish is one of those things that kept me from sleeping at least a few times after reading it.

    Can we reverse the damage? How do we restore the balance of people's minds when coercion isn't even recognized in its most common forms?
     
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