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20 NOVEMBER 2014

The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

"Starting from the provocative premise that political and commercial regimes regard us as 'subjects of pleasure', controlling us by offering us enjoyment, director Sophie Fiennes and charismatic philosopher Slavoj Žižek repeat the formula of their 2006 collaboration, The Pervert's Guide to Cinema.

The quirky, genial Žižek employs cleverly chosen clips from a huge variety of movies – including Brazil, M*A*S*H, The Sound of Music, and Brief Encounter – to illustrate his fascinating monologue, frequently appearing on sets and in costumes which replicate scenes from the films in question. For example, dressed as a chubbier, bearded Travis Bickle, he expounds the darker subtexts of Taxi Driver's plot from within the anti–hero's grotty apartment. This entertaining approach helps to ensure that what might otherwise have been a dense, even daunting intellectual challenge is actually an engaging and unexpected delight."

(The Institute of Contemporary Arts)

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TAGS

2012 • A Brief Encounter (1945) • anxieties • atheism • bloodbath • Brazil (1985)capitalism • catholicism • cinematic fantasies • consumerism • critical interpretation • critique of ideology • cultural critic • cultural critique • cultural theorist • daisy-chained improvisations • desire • dissident • documentary filmenculturation • enjoyment • Ethel Sheperd • fatigues • fears • flights of fancy • hegemonic discourseheroiconographyideological messageideological systemsideologiesideology • If (1968) • impulse of capitalism • Jaws (1975) • Kinder Eggs • Lucy Von Lonkhuy • MASH (1970) • NaziNazi GermanyNazi propaganda filmsnews footageOccupy Wall Street • Ode to Joy • prevailing ideologies • promise of fulfillment • propagandapsychoanalysis • psychoanalyst • psychoanalytic critic • pursuit of enjoyment • Rammstein • readable experience • rebel • Seconds (1966) • secret message • simple pleasures • Slavoj Zizek • Slovene • Slovenian • Sophie Fiennes • Soviet Russiasubconscioussubtext • tacit understanding • Taxi Driver (1976) • The Dark Knight (2008) • The Fall of Berlin (1950) • The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) • the otherThe Perverts Guide to Ideology (2012) • The Searchers (1956) • The Sound of Music (1965)They Live (1988) • Titanic (1997) • Triumph of the Will (1935) • unconscious desires • underdog • unseen depths • villain • violent outsider • West Side Story (1961) • Zabriskie Point (1970)

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
04 OCTOBER 2005

Regulation through discourses/practices

"The prison operates through the production of norms to divide the population into prisoners and non–prisoners. Since the goal of the prison is to return prisoners to the status of non–prisoners, there must be a criterion, one carefully and comprehensively elaborated, to recognise the non–prisoner, the prisoner, and the developmental stages in the change from the one to the other. There must also be a detailed regimen to effectuate the change. There must finally be a method or system of keeping track of the change in each prisoner. Foucault borrows from Bentham the term Panopticon (one who sees all) to denote the entire apparatus of defining the norm, disciplining the negative term, observing the change from the negative to the positive and studying the whole process so that it can be perfected. But there is a difference. For Bentham the Panopticon was an artifice that deflected the criminal's mind from the irrationality of transgression to the rationality of the norm. It imposed social authority on the prisoner in a constant, total manner. The prisoner's actions could be monitored by guards at any time but without his ever knowing it. The prisoner would, in Rousseau's phrase, be forced to be free. With no escape or reprieve from the Panoptical eye, the prisoner would accept the authority of the norm with its rational system of pleasures and pains. For Foucault the task is to see the system as an imposition of a structure of domination, not as a rational, humanist intention. As we know, the Panopticon, evaluated on the standards of liberal and Benthamite theory, is a failure. Foucault's aim is to grasp the workings of the Panopticon outside the liberal framework: if it does not reform prisoners, what does it do? What are the effects of the social text of the prison, of Panoptical discourse? His argument is that the prison, in the context of a liberal capitalist society that celebrates the anarchy of the marketplace, the chaos of free monads pursuing infinite wants, the rationality of the unhindered subject – the prison in this world imposes the technology of power, the 'micropolitics' of the norm. In capitalist society, regulation takes the form of discourses/practices that produce and reproduce the norm. The school, the asylum, the factory, the barracks to greater or lesser degrees and with considerable variation all imitate the Panopticon. In modern society power is imposed not by the personal presence and brute force of a caste of nobles as it was in earlier times but by the systematic scribblings in discourses, by the continual monitoring of daily life, adjusting and readjusting ad in finitum the norm of individuality. Modern society may be read as a discourse in which nominal freedom of action is canceled by the ubiquitous look of the other. It may be interpreted semiologically as a field of signs in which the metadiscourse of the Panopticon is reimposed everywhere, even in places in which it is not installed. We may suggest that the free individual requires a repressed other, a sort of external super–ego, an absent father if only to guarantee his or her freedom."

(Mark Poster pp.90–91)

Poster, Mark. 1990 The Mode of Information: Poststructuralism and Social Context, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. ISBN: 0745603262

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TAGS

asylumauthority • barracks • biopolitical power relationscapitalismcontrolcultural normsdisciplinediscipline and punishmentdiscoursedominationfactoryJeremy Bentham • liberal capitalist society • Mark Poster • metadiscourse • Michel Foucaultmonadmonitoringnormspanopticonpracticeprisonprisonerpunishmentregulationrulesschoolsocial normsthe other
31 DECEMBER 2003

Becoming: irreducible dynamism

"Must it not be admitted that myth as a frame of classification is quite incapable of registering these becomings, which are more like fragments of tales? Must we not lend credence to Jean Duvignaud's hypothesis that there are 'anomic' phenomena pervading societies that are not degradations of the mythic order but irreducible dynamisms drawing lines of flight: and implying other forms of expression than those of myth, even if myth recapitulates them in its own terms in order to curb them? [1]"

(Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, 2004)

[1] Jean Duvignaud, L'anomie. Heresie et Subversion (Paris: Ed. Anthropos, 1973)

Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari (2004). "A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia". Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.

TAGS

anomic • becomingclassificationdegradationdynamismFelix GuattariframeGilles Deleuze • Jean Duvignaud • lines of flight • mythphenomenasocietythe other
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