Monday, March 17, 2008

World of Warcraft

So with a little social experiment in the tube, I figured that I would post my thoughts in a place where few would read them.

I have read through my colleagues blogs and found them to be fantastic...I hope this is what Kristin feels like reading through these.

My critique of myself...I probably should have created more direction. I mostly let the 'players' go, and due to that I likely stunted their enjoyment.

Things that I should have done:
1) Explicitly stated the procedure for grouping. I have a feeling that having 'players' meet in game would have helped many enjoy the game more.
2) Described how geography limits the ability to group. This is something that I think is a learning experience as well as a teaching point, but should be balanced against the enjoyment that the participants could possibly lose.
3) Placed myself in a position to aid more often and earlier. I feel really bad about leaving the 'players' out in the cold, so to speak. Without any sort of mentoring I should guess that the game can feel sort of brutal.

These are but the tip of the iceberg and slams home the point that teaching is very much about learning.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Online NDN

Continuing my attempt to be more cool and hip, I am no longer listing the day via assignment.

I want to focus on the assigned reading though, specifically one article that is related to work that I am doing in collaboration with Dr. Monroe among others.

Haas, Angela. "Making Online Spaces More Native to American Indians: A Digital Diversity Recommendation." Computers and Composition Online. (Fall 2005)

The first portion where there is a list of various statistics I find to be accurate to a point. In the three years since the publication of the information in the article, there have been some interesting ways to express identity that have come on-line. Social networking sites in particular are serving NDN Country. In particular the youth. It is operating in a bricolage manner as well, by providing a digital space where music, video, images and experiences can be placed in an area that can be accessed by those that are allowed. There are shortcomings to this approach as well, but it should be noted that the requisite overhead costs, hardware and bureaucracy is circumvented.

The Digital Rhetorical Sovereignty section piqued my interest due to the manner in which sovereignty as a term was utilized. The Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma is representing themselves well in a digital space, as well as creating forums for discourse to take place on the topic of sovereignty. This is something that other tribes should consider. At the same time there is a danger to opening access to Tribal identity to include rhetorical forms. Dr. Kim Christen's work with indigenous people in Australia, could be applied in this way. Limiting access to information is just as important as having that information available. NDN people have had entirely too much appropriated, to be comfortable with opening the doors to their traditions. Through Dr. Christen's work it is possible to protect rhetorics while opening access to tribal people who would benefit in the way Dr. Haas is proponing.

As far as the argument presented by Bizzaro, there is some merit in opening access. Here it is important to place the decision in the hands of the tribe. Every tribe has a different situation, treating them uniformly is a recipe for offense. Some tribes have rights issues that would not be well served by opening enrollment. Other tribes have been disenrolling members over financial issues. Blood quantum is a bit of an elephant in the room in this case, with each tribe setting their own levels. While entirely too many tribal people are denied access to NDN epistemologies based upon phenotype, there should also be a practical caution exercised in order to prevent exploitation. One way to go about side stepping blood quantum is for tribes (possibly in the same region or language group) to recognize other tribal blood.

I agree with the suggestions forwarded by Haas, with an addendum. Look around in the academy for NDN's. There are organizations that serve the needs of students and most of them have advisors.

For non-native students in her target audience of computer composition I would be confident to say that it is sound advice to enter that space aware of your outsider status. Instead of attempting to save 'us' or our rhetoric, try volunteering for activities sponsored by the Native American organization. Remember that NDN's are people, not causes...and in most cases you may be surprised to find that we don't feel like we need saving. We may not even want help.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Long Hair

I have forgotten what day it is on the schedule, and after peeking into the adjacent cells I must say that the drabness of my own self constructed space was a little disheartening. In any case, I wanted to focus on the article assigned by Laura Sullivan, concerning the male gaze on the web.

I have only recently become aware of the terminology of the male gaze, though the voyeuristic elements of patriarchy have been rather obvious. 'Cho also read me the Freire piece on internalized oppression recently, which also works well with the Sullivan article. Taken together this idea of the male gaze as a motivation for a commodified superficial focus on image where women bear the onus of performing femininity in a way that satisfies male parameters is uncomfortable.

There is a petrifying sense of positioning. One cannot act in a way that can be construed as 'rescuing' the 'damsel in distress', so moralistic outrage doesn't seem to fit. At the same time any behavior that is accepting of body image could be considered condescending. Perhaps it is due to my positioning as male that I am a bit lost on where to stand.

On hair I am a bit more familiar. Having long black locks of my own I feel as though I can share a bit of the sentiment of the author. Touching an NDN man's hair is an intimate thing, a personal thing. If that cultural concept was translated across 'code' I have been groped more times than an unripe cantaloupe at Winco.

I am not attempting to appropriate the space that Sullivan is recognizing on the commodification of the female image (or the replication of that situation by men or women), rather that fetishization is ubiquitous and disturbing in a multidimensional sense.

I tooled around the Net Chick Clubhouse as well. Perhaps it is due to my recent indoctrination through my first semesters of graduate school, but it didn't seem all that much like a site of resistance or even commercial space. More to the point of the article there was a lack of representation of 'female' beyond a sort of rubberstamped "Grrl"'ishness.

The larger lesson I see coming out of the article "Fleeting Images" is one of male privilege. While both genders are prey to concepts of professionalism, as a construct built primarily by men it places females in a disadvantaged space. Construction of identity is highly complex, so communicating that identity (or facets thereof) through any number of literacies is often a compromise between institutionally accepted practices and self expression.

I can protest the shallow ideals of collared shirts and khakis, but I don't have to concern myself overly with the erotic commodification of my image. To my way of thinking that is a solid demonstration of male privilege.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Week 7 Day 2 (part deux)

Responding to K8

From "Katie's 597"

Initially (after our session) I thought there was no way I’d use IMing, but the more I think about it the more I see how it directly engages with the sort of identity play/contestation I research.

-This is also the primary area of research that I am interested in. Hence I have proponed more play as a means of resisting alienation from labor in terms of self.

I don’t know if it’s just me (since I’m a weirdo AmSt person) but I have kind of a hard time knowing how to integrate my Cultural St/Am St perspectives into not only my pedagogy, but also actual classroom practices.

- I am wrestling with the same concepts, probably due to the fact that I am in the same department. With a mission somewhere in the neighborhood of 'unmasking power', occupying an authority position is ever more challenging. In addition it is difficult to resist privileging information when in fact it is a requirement that an instructor foists upon their students...such as MLA or APA formatting.

IMing lets you play with your identity, or more precisely it lets you PERFORM an identity. And it also shows how these identity performances are discursive articulations. Actually, I could see how someone could use IMing to demonstrate performative theory to students.

- This is one of the uses that I see chat embodying. K8*E is right on the nose with this one. Moreover, if during the exercise we had been asked to take on anonymous screen names this portion would have been more prevalent. In some ways I see this idea as in-line with cybercrossdressing and research on avatars.

At the end of the day K8*E is teh roxxorz

Week 7 Day 1

Reflections on a synchronous parliament

The utility of the exercise was in the pre and post brief. In the discussion of the potential uses there is an understanding of how surveillance and power have the ability to be revealed as illusory. The behavior in the 'rooms' was indicative of a leveling of the playing field in the manner in which Faigley demonstrates in the article read earlier this semester.

If anything the conduct in the space relates how graduate students have the ability to fall to 'the lowest common denominator' as well. This sort of behavior only further reinforce the utility of the exercise. In a syllogism: If an 'educated' populace can be seduced by a space where power is demonstrated as an artificial construct, then undergraduates are likely to do the same.

Blogs are an excellent means of deconstructing the behavior that happens in the 'space' of chat. Upon reflection it provides a mechanism for analyzing not only the behavior of the 'self' but others. It has the ability to act not only as a mirror for behavior but also as a panoptic design.

All in all it was an enjoyable exercise that demonstrated the performativity inherent in identity, in addition to concepts of power.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Week 6 Day 1

Kress, Wysocki, Yancey, and George

The four articles analyzed for this assignment have a unifying theme. Understanding the value of imagery in relation to written language and vice versa. In terms of curricula the articles push forward into a conception that challenges institutional forms of literacy in light of the positions that students that will be attending composition classrooms have occupied in relation to imagery as a primary form of communication.

Kress' article stresses curricula as a plan for tomorrow. He also goes on to state that the goals of education are in flux as the privatization issues become more pressing. He uses these ideas to forward ideas of visual literacy. Though the end goal of increased literacy in a non-traditional sense is attractive, a critique here is necessary. Curricula that is dialed into the future, has the potential to forget the past and the multitude of lessons learned therein.

Wysocki's article is focused in a synergystic way with Kress'. Her examination of visual rhetorics couples well with the idea of a curriculum that is more tailored to multi-literacies. As an example, the positioning of students in relation to products and advertisements as a form of visual rhetoric as described by Wysocki could easily be plugged into a curriculum (192-193). This critical assessment of the inundation of the American populace with images has the possibility of drawing attention to the underlying power structures involved with the political economy of visual rhetoric...ideally.

Yancey's article is quite broad, and is best represented in this space by linking it to curriculum as well. On page 311 of the article assigned is a short list of things that students aren't asked to do in the current system. Perhaps the best link is the second bullet point, which asks students to select the best medium in which to communicate a point. This sort of selection of rhetoric to a corresponding audience speaks to a literacy beyond a privileging of the written word regardless of the future or privatization of education.

George's contribution to this analysis is a specific assignment. By assigning the class the creation of a visual argument it is possible to see that it is possible to construct a curriculum that questions the position of the written word as "high culture", over image as "low culture". He describes some of the issues with the assignment in terms of definition and the institution of education.

The four articles taken in aggregate provide a philosphy, a framework, a concept and an assignment. Although the pieces are not in complete harmony, it is possible to place them together in a way that propones the issue of broadening the curriculum of literacy to include visual rhetorics and their analysis.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Partial Conversation

This is a response that I wrote and didn't know if I was 100% in agreement with my own thoughts. So instead of sending it, I decided to post it here.

Good Morning,
I am with Rachel and Chris on this one. I do have a bit of a caveat.

With shorter attention spans, there is less time to communicate complicated concepts. Bullet pointed, sound bite news is a symptom (or perhaps a cause) of such a phenomenon. As Postman argues in 'Amusing Ourselves to Death' there is also a danger that television has turned all information into entertainment. I think that argument could be expanded to include the examples in Dr. Arola's initial email (chatting et al). If all information is thought of as entertainment, where does the urge to act come in? Perhaps this paradigm is what got leaders to buy the graphic artists rendition of railway car laboratories in Iraq? I think that the web also has this possibility, but that the relationship has a rather interesting twist. If information is characterized as entertainment then at some point there is an equality of value. Once that milestone has been reached the relationship can be inverted and entertainment can be utilized as a pedagogical tool. It is my opinion that we are there.

Jonathan R. White presents an idea that terrorists are created when a threshold is passed that he references as the "Doctrine of Necessity". The concept revolves around the idea that there is a point where it is morally apprehensible to remain inactive. About 8 years ago the Presidency of the United States of America was (arguably) given to a man whose brother was the Governor and who had not won the popular vote. The American public did not react beyond some outrage. Was it faith in the positivist system? Or was it simply that the story was dramatic enough to be entertaining...a Law & Order/Westwing episode.

While I am not about to play the role of a small fowl or forward the idea that we (as a class or citizenry) take up non-symmetrical warfare, rather that through the changing forms of media content has also been shaped. I would like to take the position that literacy in terms of Wysocki's & Johnson-Eilola's article is the best way I would say that the term could be defined. On page 367 they refer to literacy as 'often contradictory', 'clouds of positions' to paraphrase. From that position it is possible to recognize that there is some credence to the apprehension that people are not reading as much or as long, but it also recognizes that there are other ways in which that population is becoming articulate.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Week 4 Day 1

Baron, Hesse, Wysocki & Johnson-Eilola:

Literacy and the definitions of literacy (in multiple forms) was the subject of this week's readings.

Baron uses the pencil to provide a point to compare and contrast the present perceptions of technology to those of Thoreau's era. From there the author goes into some historical analysis of how other forms of technology fit into the rhetoric used to describe computer technology today. The telegraph and the telephone are both used to demonstrate how their emergence (as forms of technology) were simultaneously derided by traditionalists and celebrated as social panacea by futurologists. In an examination of cuneiform, Baron interjects humor as a means of providing a parallel between then and now.

Hesse examines a specific definition of literacy in the form of the essay. He takes traditional examples of essays and places them in contrast to electronic forms of communication common to the net. In challenging the paradigm of the 'essay' and how that particular definition is constructed, Hesse recognizes the inherent power (and political nature) of language.

In the final piece the socially constructed nature of the definition of literacy is best identified. The definition provided recognizes that 'literacy is not monolithic' and that it is often 'contradictory'. Perhaps more important as well as pertinent, they see literacy not as a 'skill' but as a 'process of situating and resituating representations in social spaces'. As a capstone this article contributes to an understanding of literacy as positioned and privileged.

Question: How can the Blinded by the Letter article be used in classrooms as well as communicated to the larger academic establishment?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Week 3 Day 2

Questions of Identity
The New London Group, Faigley and Ohmann.

Reflecting on the previous week's readings as a catalyst for this week's analysis there are two things that stand out prevalently.
1-Education is inherently political
2-The current structure of education in the United States of America is recognized as generating and/or supporting inequality

When technology as an aid/form of pedagogy is then injected into the already contentious situation the disparities between the 'haves' and 'have-nots' is exacerbated.

When considering the 'digital divide' as a scenario that disadvantages people of color as well as the economically lacking, there is a question of rationalization of technology in the classroom.

While Ohmann's analysis was dated it was correct as often as it was off the mark. Literacy in employment is dependent upon the definition. One place where evidence of the monopoly capitalist system that Ohmann uses can be found in terms of computer literacy is in the qualifications for employment. In depth programming (code writing) is not necessary for most positions, but...the ubiquitous Windows familiarity is often cited as desired (to include the Office suite of word processing, spreadsheets, power point and Outlook). Here he is correct on two points, the first is that literacy is defined in a limited way and the second is that the purpose was to facilitate the concentration of wealth into the coffers of the elite/privilege.

Faigley was more optimistic than Ohmann and hence had a different response. The antecedent data was similar in the sense that both were examining an economically 'unjust' system that was built around values that could be considered polar opposites of egalitarianism. His call to teachers to situate their work economically and politically, segues well with the work of the next authors.

The New London Group identifies a number of harms in the status quo. Many of them were analogous with Faigley or Ohmann, though there was a greater focus on the differences in terms of demography. They concern themselves with the fragmentation of the civic public, and the repercussions of a greater stress on individual identity in terms of group membership. NLG offers a concept of 'multi-literacies' as a possible response from the education community. They also admit that there will be negotiations in terms of identity that could be difficult.

Connecting last week's readings in terms of the myths of literacy, was fairly clear from a personal perspective. Literacy is a loaded term that is fraught with intent and systemic value. In terms of race, literacy carries with it a history of conquest and concepts of noblisse oblige. Assimilation can be performed through eliminating the epistemology's of marginalized people, by privileging technologies exclusive to the dominant narrative.

In terms of my personal concepts of technology and literacy, I have a rather social constructionist take on it. They only exist within discourse. The definitions can be easily appropriated by the system (and have been) in order to prevent power from being distributed. There have been movements to expand literacy (and technological literacy) to disadvantaged populations, but I would characterize those phenomena as hegemonic aids. When taken together the semiotic problems are multiplied exponentially.

On the other hand through technological literacy, literacy and technology it is possible to generate a truly subaltern space.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Week 3 Day 1

Faigley, Cooper, Hawisher and Selfe,

This series of articles forced a personal assessment of Videogames as a technology for pedagogy. The postmodern ideas that flow through that idea and the modernist institutional concepts that constrain those ideas. Moreover they advise a manner of reflection on the topic of technology in the classroom.

The utilization of videogames as mechanisms to circumvent institutional paradigms of education is of extreme importance. Reading through Cooper's gloss of Foucault (among others) and her application of postmodernism to computers in the classroom provided insight on the logic behind the conceptualizations of power that can be illustrated through virtual worlds. Instead of reifying power dynamics as inherent in policy, the possibility of stepping back and analyzing power as inhabiting relationships opens a door for research using MMORPGs. While the examination of power through the structure of on-line spaces is still quite valid, focusing on the manner in which players interact with one another could be all the more revealing.

The Faigley article also demonstrated a concern that is likely in the forefront of any possible collaborative-educator that sees technology as a means of enabling cooperation between the educator and the student. Control. Maintaining control in the classroom in order to channel the students toward the responses that are necessary in order for them to move into the next section of the program. I would respond with an analysis of the increase in self-realization through discovery.

Hawisher and Selfe warn instructors to be aware (or perhaps more honest) on the topic of technology as positive. The thesis seems to be that technology can just as easily remove agency from a classroom by programming students. Skill drills is one of their primary examples. In my estimation Selfe and Hawisher can be seen as forwarding a Foucaultian idea of power as cyclical. The subaltern becoming the dominant paradigm. What was once revolutionary (grunge) becomes the status quo (pre-torn flannel at the GAP).

The Question that I pulled out of these articles:

How does an educator attempt to teach through a post-modern philosophy within the moderist structures that exist in the University setting?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Week 2 Day 2 Part II

Selfe and Grabill,
Grabill's article focuses on the actual situations that lie behind the rhetoric of technological literacy. He uses a case study on the topic of adult education to highlight the shortcomings of the current paradigm by demonstrating that what may appear as progressive due to the claims provided, may lack the requisite warrant to support the statement.

Selfe's article is an excellent dissection of technology in the classroom for technologies sake. The author directs the critiques toward an audience of peers, adjusting the points in order to pull out the manners in which current pedagogies make invisible the structures that underpin the present power dynamics. Literacy is largely the focus of the article as it occupies a similar space in terms of societal perspective.

The articles are highly complementary. Together they provide a broad image of why technology can be dangerous if there is not a critical questioning of who is using it and why. When considering the multi-dimensional framework of race/class/gender they have provided the outline of need in the dominant American culture to examine definitions that obfuscate the systemic inequalities.

In terms of power, technological literacy is considered panacea. But perhaps more insidious is manner in which the design of technology inherently benefits some while disadvantaging others. While not necessarily Panoptic in terms of surveillance, there is a sense of discipline (in Foucaultian terms) when considering that those who have not/do not conform to the dominant culture are not granted agency (using the previous definition provided in the last post). Rather technological literacy is a form of discipline that creates a means of enforcing long lasting, uninterrupted, cost effective (arguably in the long run), and production increasing systems. Selfe argues that technological literacy creates a cycle of consumption as increased capability demands increased capacity (107).

In comparison to the other two articles assigned for Thursday the 17th, there is a significant amount of synergy. Utilizing Selfe and Grabill as a broad lens that can be narrowed using Bank's and Walton. Through a selected aggregate reading an image can be assembled that revolves primarily around race and the manner in which technology as a pedagogical tool can be used to undermine the Foucaultian discipline if utilized in a manner that may appear unscholarly, but in fact has the possibility of support unrepresented facets of marginalized cultures.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Week 2 Day 2 Part I

I wanted to break this post into two pieces, in order to analyze the two concepts in a manner commensurate with their complexity.

Banks and Walton

Both Banks and Walton approach technology from an African American space. In order to attempt to recognize the complexity of their analysis on the manner in which technology has impacted, is impacting and will impact the larger African American narrative it is important to recognize the multidimensional nature of the issues at hand. Both authors present not only race but class issues in a historicized manner.

Bank's piece is primarily an argument that propones the recognition of African American written language as a valid form of expression, the case is being made (presumably) to academia. Examples that he provides describe the manners in which interacting with technology and the utilization of written Black vernacular are not mutually exclusive. In attempting to dispel the near exclusive focus on African American oral culture it is possible to begin investigating the presence of African American rhetoric beyond the artificial limitations placed by the dominant culture. His method for observing how the spoken traditions can be captured is through a website called Black Planet.

Walton's article is an examination of the role that technology has played in the historical atrocities visited upon African Americans. The thesis of this piece is a call to African Americans (and their allies) to act on gaining more technological agency. Agency in this case being defined in terms of the Giddean sense of power, the ability to overcome barriers through will acting in coordination with a community will.

Perhaps it is far too easy to pick the low hanging fruit, but on page 83-84 of Bank's article he identifies three areas where technology and rhetoric can be joined to benefit students. The manner in which he constructs the second point is indicative of Foucaultian concepts that he identifies in the educational institution. In essence he is identifying the Panoptic structure of the educational space, and is imploring the reader to recognize that there is the possibility of education that can be gained through play.

Issues that I had with the pieces:
Bank's identification of the racialization of cyberspace is accurate to a point. The well documented "cross-dressing" that takes place on the net could conceivably be replicated in racial terms rather than in gender terms. BlackPlanet could be populated with non-African Americans who are familiar with the rhetorical devices of African American Vernacular English. While in and of itself it is noteworthy in terms of the construction of race, it acts as a counterpoint to the idea that there are spaces that can be inhabited by a group on the web.

Walton's pursuit of technology as a means of benefiting the African American community in an economic sense at the cost of a portion of African American identity is dangerously close to utopian. In a manner of speaking Walton is acting as counter-point to Banks. Where Banks is encouraging the utilization of African-American forms of communication, Walton is forwarding the pursuit of technology in terms of the dominant culture. Walton goes so far as to request Marshall Plan like aid. Historicizing that policy would illuminate the goals of those financial packages as purchasing a populace in order to sway them to a particular capitalist ideology. In Panoptic terms Walton is adopting a structure that is provided by the dominant culture in order to benefit in a Giddean sense rather than seeking a more multi-faceted approach.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Week 2, Day 1

Foucault and Giddens,

I thought that this was the most interesting of the shared areas of the pieces assigned.

The way that the texts speak to one another began resonating (for me personally) when on page 69 of the Giddens piece he refers to a "Duality of Structure" in terms of power. Giddens contends that most theorists divide power into either a form of imposition of will or a community well where common interests or ideologies flow. He would connect the two in a means of recognizing that power is inherently connected to choice, or in his terms "human agency" (92).

What struck me was the way that Foucault took power beyond dialectics or semiotics. On page 114 of truth and power Foucault relates that history can not be contained by dialectic analysis as it is more complex than what he refers to as the "Hegelian Skeleton", or by the form of language which has a calming effect. Rather war is the metaphor that Foucault sees as the best means of communicating the concept of history. This discussion is born from another discussion on the dichotomy of event and structure. Where structure is conceived as the "thinkable", the event has difficult to capture (113-114).

More important, to my way of thinking, is that dichotomy's and dialectics are binary systems. Foucault rejects the binary to claim the complexity of war. Giddens, on the other hand, embraces the binary system to provide the "Duality of Structure". By utilizing binary systems Giddens is chained to two-way streets, instead of exploring broader boulevards, cross-roads or interchanges. On page 93 Giddens states that "Power relations...are always two-way..." which vacates the multi-dimensionality of human existence in my opinion.

As an example, identity is a complex multi-dimensional situation where power plays out in many forms. As an American Indian my race can both limit and empower me. The ways that my race operates as a hub for information transmitted cannot be captured by a two-way metaphor, rather it emanates information that is accepted and retransmitted while (as an individual) I mirror other signals from my Tribe, ATNI, NCAI and other organizations. Each of those facets of my American Indian identity then performs transmissions of their own. As these signals bounce around NDN Country they are altered slightly by the lenses of those receiving them. Each of these signals is multiplied as each facet of my identity is transmitted.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Foucault week 1 day 2

After reading Panopticism and Eye of Power by Michel Foucault I reflected on the prompt provided by Dr. Arola: Why were these readings assigned as a theoretical foundation for ENG 597 and how do Foucault's ideas on "the Gaze" impact teaching with technology? There are two responses that I would forward: surveillance and discipline.

Foucault's ideas on surveillance in terms of the Panopticon have the ability to inform the remainder of the semester. On page 217 of Panopticism, in the first full paragraph, there is a passage that informs the hedonistic voyeurism of Western culture.
Our society is one not of spectacle, but of surveillance; under the surface of images, one invests bodies in depth; behind the great abstraction of exchange, there continues the meticulous, concrete training of useful forces; the circuits of communication are the supports of an accumulation and a centralization of knowledge; the play of signs defines the anchorages of power, it is not that the beautiful totality of the individual is amputated, repressed, altered by our social order, it is rather that the individual is carefully fabricated in it, according to a whole technique of forces and bodies.
Consider for a moment reality television:Big Brother, the Real World, Road Rules, The Biggest Loser, Joe Bachelor, etc. et al. Television would serve as the circuits of communication in this case, with commercials acting as the abstraction of exchange and the consumer being trained. The casting of the participants in this form of entertainment represent signs, due to the constructed nature of race, gender and sexuality, which act as reified concepts in order to anchor power. These reified concepts obfuscate the power dynamics that occur in construction.

Foucault returns to this concept when he is referencing Bentham's Panopticon as the antithesis of a dungeon on page 153-154 of Eye of Power. He is speaking of the Revolution's (the French Revolution) need to bring light to the dark places. Or more specifically as pointed out by Foucault, the Revolutionaries were attracted to Bentham's "formula of 'power through transparency', subjection by 'illumination'". By reifying socially constructed concepts, power structures held by the dominant society are made transparent.

Discipline is the primary focus of Panopticism. Foucault breaks down power into a tripartite criteria of tactica on page 218 subpoint 1: low cost (in capital), maximum intensity and longevity operating uninterrupted, increase the usefulness and ease of use. Foucault intends these criteria to be related to power. By approaching discipline from this perspective rather than from the perspective of morality, punishment or reform Foucault unmasks a power structure that is intended to operate behind the symbols of the masses. The military, the judiciary, the Nation-State, the Social Contract, investigation...Foucault argues that all work together to fulfill the aforementioned criteria.

In The Eye of Power Foucault brings discipline and surveillance together in this statement on page 155: "An inspecting gaze, a gaze which each individual under its weight will end by interiorising to the point that he is his own overseer, each individual thus exercising this surveillance over, and against, himself." The point of exercising this surveillance would be to cheaply, over a long period of time with high intensity, increase the usefulness and decrease rebelliousness of individuals within society. As mentioned by both Bentham (through Foucault) and Foucault, the Panopticon may have been an architectural mechanism but it is a highly effective model for social control.

Socialization under the pretense of education is a means for instilling forms of discipline in a populace. Technology and the current speed of technology allow for a multiplying of the utility of discipline. Email, streaming audio/video, mp3, video games, blogs, forums, IM, Bluetooth etcetera...are all means of multiplying discipline at low cost. This is one of the potential impacts that teaching with technology will have.

The questions that I have concerning the discussion of Foucault:
Can the subaltern be as amplified as discipline through technology in teaching?

What is the danger of falling into pedagogical experiments as listed by Foucault in Panopticism (page 204) by bringing in technology for the sake of having technology in the classroom?


I promised that I would provide some links to the American Studies Department's bibliography. And I do my best to fulfill my promises. As for the glossary, I spoke with Dr. Reed yesterday and he informed me that it is still a work in progress.

More on Michel upcoming...