the gaze: spectatorship, power, & knowledge culture, identity, and mass media
to do• discourse and power• the other• orientalism• gaze and psychoanalysis• gaze in feminism
discourse• discourse is a system of representation• what interested foucault were the rules and practices that produced meaningful statements and regulated discourse in different historical periods• discourse is “a group of statements which provide a language for talking about a particular topic at a particular historical moment
• discourse, contrsutcts the topic• it deﬁnes and produces the objects of our knowledge, it governs the way that a topic can be meaningully talked about and reasoned about• for example: hysteria, sexuality, homosexuality• romantic love in the 19th century. nothing which is meaningful exists outside of discourse• “nothing has any meaning outside of discourse”
• discourses themselves are the bearers of various subject-positions that is, speciﬁc positions of agency and identity in relation to particular forms of knowledge and practice. subject-produced within discourse, subjected to discourse• subject-positions (for us to become the subject of a particular discourse, and thus the bearers of its power/knowledge)
power and subjectivity• we must locate ourselves in the position from which the discourse makes most sensse, and thus become its subjects by subjecting ourselves to its meanings, power, and regulation
Hysteria: Production of KnowlegdePainting represents a visually discursive eventNew regime of knowledge: Charcots discovery of hysteria and the use of hypnosis in practiceTells us about representation – performing with the body the symptoms she is sufferingThe painting re-represents themSo it is not the painting that produces our knowledge but rather what discourse says so the patient in the clinicThe medicalization of hysteria/bodies/mental illnessClassificatory systems and the discourses surrounding/produced by them
• "Foucault reads the painting in terms of representation and the subject"• (the painting tells us something about how representation and the subject work).• Diego, Velazquez, Las Meninas, 1656.
subject positions• The meaning of the picture is produced through this complex inter-play between presence (what you see, the visible) and absence (what you cant see, what has displaced it within the frame). Two centers -- the Infant and the Royal Couple. Far from being ﬁnally resolved into some absolute truth which is the meaning of the picture, the discourse of the painting quite deliberately keeps us in this state of suspended attention. Our look -- our identiﬁcation with one subject position For the painting to work, the spectator. . . must subject him/herself to the paintings discourse and, in this way, become the paintings ideal viewer. Three subject positions.
power/knowledge• The practices involved in “power/knowledge” stem from the French philosopher Michel Foucault’s theories on discourse and the ways in which our identities are constructed through varying forms of discursive strategies. Foucault was interested in the relationship between knowledge and power and how they in turn acted as an “apparatus” to create particular paradigms within society. Foucault saw the two as intrinsically linked and that through their application in discourse we would be able to have a clearer constructionist framing of cultural representation “There is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time, power relations.” The theory of “power/knowledge” therefore concerns itself with the wider framework of discourse which Foucault discusses and are key to the systematic development of representation, so we can therefore see the two combining in operational shifts to implicate power within society.
Kuhn • a paradigm: contains a world view – a set of statements which serve to define subjet matterparadigm shift: occurs when familiar things are seen in revolutionary ways. Primeexample is when we talked about gender – definining it. So Judith butler, the American poststructuralist philosopher from u c Berkeley who wrote gender trouble and revolutionized ourthoughts of gender – gender performativity – the idea that one iterates and reiteratesgender norms as a form of performance – this is seen as a paradigm shift. Scienceundergoes periodic "paradigm shifts" instead of progressing in a linear and continuous wayThese paradigm shifts open up new approaches to understanding that scientists wouldnever have considered valid beforeHow does Kuhn factor into cultural studies? Well, its his view that theories about naturecome into sciences and characterize new theoretical systems. These in turn act or serve asclusters – and they characterize our systems of knowledge, known as paradigms •
the ‘other’• ‘Other’ as monsters, savages, aliens• ‘Others’ include death, unconscious, madness, oriental, non western other, foreigner, homosexual, the feminine• The other is a place outside of the exterior to the normal, values of western culture• Otherness is alterity
• http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=ALx1MEW2P3U•
otherness• A practical notion of otherness allows us to discover how people different than us are represented• How such representations can be contested• Why representational regimes matter• How difference is represented in popular culture
totality and inﬁnity• Levinas redefined ethics as the moment in which the transcendental self discovers that it is already in relation to the other before it is fully a self• For Levinas, ethics is nothing more than the singular event in which the Self encounters itself in an ethical relation to the face of the ‘other’
orientalsim • For Said ‘otherness’ is a core concern in post-colonial studiesThe Orient is one of Europes ‘deepest and most recurring images of the other’ (Said 1977:1)He describes how orientalism controls the non western world by defining it as the other of europe •
The Bath, French Artist Jean-Leon Gerome, 1885
la Grande Odalisque
for next week• read chapter 4: realism and perspective