I bring up confessions as I wonder if our blogs and exegeses could be understood as confessional in some way. Certainly, many blogs are confessional in that they disclose intimate/personal information as a way of achieving catharsis, but do our interpretations of these texts not also disclose information/produce knowledge that contain elements of our tucked away "secrets"? Is our mode of revealing (and the content of the revelation) mediated by disciplinary technologies, by panopticism? And would this knowledge not immediately enter into a panopticonal discursive economy where it dialectically informs how to order docile bodies? Basically, I wonder how panopticism manifests itself in our classroom and our online conversations and what role we play in the reproduction of panopticonal modalities.
What is the role of our respective disciplines - to produce knowledge for the fostering of docility, for the efficient ordering of bodies? But as Foucault's project proves, knowledge production can reveal power and its functionings and, perhaps, organize resistance to particular instances of panopticonal power. The panopticonal presence in our classroom - Utah State University, the rankings and competition within the educational system - compels the acquisition (perhaps production) of knowledge on the subject of panopticism and, in particular, its "evils".
Disciplinary technology is constituent of our society today and, perhaps, is the logical conclusion of western metaphysics. My question is whether or not panopticism can be used counter-hegemonically or is the docil-ization of bodies, itself, necessarily a bad thing. I read the docility-making function of panopticism to be inevitable - the particular ways that knowledge is appropriated panoptically, perhaps, could be challenged. But, Foucault's point seems to be something about freedom and how the acting-upon of man by panopticism leaves him unable to resist "bad" exercises of power. How do we identify what goals are worth achieving, or is power, itself, something that we must mitigate?
At this point, I can't help but be reminded of Heidegger's "The Question Concerning Technology", more specifically his description of how technology calls nature into Standing Reserve, a status where it can be acted upon as an object and utility-value can be derived from it. Knowledge, similarly, seems to be called upon "panoptically", that is, its status becomes prescriptive and is meant to inform the organization of docile bodies, hence the term "discipline" carrying a stronger denotation of "area of inquiry". Returning to my question: can panopticism be abolished? Should we refuse to participate in our respective disciplines to avoid participating in panopticism? Can panopticism be a good thing?