Middlebury

MiddLab

Social (Dis)Order

My work in sculpture and installation aims to create a space in which the audience, who usually identify as the surveyed, takes on the role of the surveyor and the performer. My pop-up hijacking of institutional spaces and bureaucratic processes gradually degenerates as it reaches its structural and participatory limit.

Michel Foucault recognizes the exemplary prison model of the Panopticon and developed his theory on the ways in which the society generates docile bodies through discipline. The Panopticon is a powerful prison model, because, regardless of the obvious physical presence and the inmates’ consciousness of the purpose of the inspection tower, the presence/absence of the observer in the tower was made unknown through a venetian blind behind the windows of the tower. In isolation and under ceaseless inspection, the prisoners of the Panopticon learned to internalize the discipline and govern themselves. The Panopticon not only prevented the prisoners from wrong-doing but also took away their wish to commit wrong, making them unable and unwilling.

Foucault expanded the prison and the prisoners of the Panopticon to the society and all its members. The docile self-governing bodies, in combination with the extensive history and knowledge the society has accumulated on its members, allow the society as a machine to achieve maximum efficiency by placing individuals as compartments within its mechanics according to their individual characters.

Various record keeping devices that obsessively bureaucratize information-gathering methods have been developed and ingrained deep within the contemporary psyche. Anonymous scribes keep filling in the charts of self-conscious, docile individuals in constant cognitive dissonance in regards to privacy and autonomy, while from the knowledge of the individuals societal power is generated.

The Letterist International declared commitment to authentic life alternative to that designed for the capitalist society and believed that the capitalist trance could be disrupted through détournement. Strategic device that appropriates the expressions of modern capitalist society and turns them against the design, détournement was proposed as a tactic in individuals’ resistance against the machine to reclaim the authentic life.

 

 

People

James Butler, John Huddleston, Hedya Klein (Senior Studio Advisors) / Sanford Mirling (Academic Advisor) / Karen Rauppius 12′,  Tyler Madden 12.5′ (Collaborators)


 

 

This is a linguistic survey of the written language used by protesters in the 2011 demonstrations in Egypt. The hypothesis is that Egyptian Colloquial Arabic (ECA), Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), and English are all used for specific purposes in specific contexts. As such, the literal messages across these three categories may differ, as they are aimed at different audiences. In addition, the case will be made that the specific linguistic situation of Arabic (especially the factors of Diglossia and English dominance as a global language that are not paralleled in other linguistic communities undergoing demonstrations. Twitter tweets, Facebook posts, and online blogs of the protesters will be the major sources of material. The Nile Valley variants will be the primary focus.

People

Eric Bartolotti
Researcher

Nader Morkus
Sponsor & Visiting Assistant Professor

Samuel Liebhaber
Sponsor & Assistant Professor of Arabic

Related Links

Downloads

A MiddLab Project

Framing and Blaming: The Role of Media in the 2005 Parisian Riots

Learn more about Political Science and Media Culture at Middlebury College.

The media played a significant role in the riots of Paris in 2005. This study examines the French and American media’s role in the formation of the identity of the rioters. The study draws on media content analysis based on news sources from the political right and left in each country. The results suggest two things. First, media on the political left, in both France and the United States, tends to frame the cause of the riots as a structural issue of exclusion while the political right tends to characterize the source of conflict as an agency issue of integration based on social differences. This can be explained by differences in political influences and underlying goals. Second, American media uses national and religious terms to describe the rioters’ identity while French media portrays them as a frustrated suburban youth. This reflects the respective historical contexts and political traditions.

People

Zoe Hamilton
Researcher

Erik Bleich
Sponsor & Associate Professor of Political Science

Related Links

Downloads

Turkey maintains the image of a country bridging the divide between the Middle East and Europe; however, the continued prevalence of honor killings testifies to the difficulty in uprooting traditional patriarchal practices that remain widespread throughout the country. Although the Turkish government has enacted legal reforms – for instance, in 2002 and 2004 – aimed at eradicating the practice, new laws have been mostly ineffective and evidence indicates that both honor killings and the practice of “honor suicides” are actually increasing. My research explores this tension between secular government laws banning honor crimes and the continuation of honor killings within traditional and tribal communities. I argue that despite government efforts to educate the Turkish populace and institute legal reforms, the complex relationship between the cultural, patriarchal, and religious bases of honor killings makes it challenging to eradicate this practice in modern Turkish society.

People

Clara Rubin
Researcher

Related Links

Downloads

This project examines the continued success of The Jerry Springer Show. Does the show promote the inclusion of the “other” in the American social order or is it a profit-seeking mechanism that proves only to further uphold a hierarchal American social structure in which some are excluded? By viewing scholarly articles on the talk show format, footage from The Jerry Springer Show, and other critical works in American Studies, I set out to prove that The Jerry Springer Show uses coded mechanisms to create the illusion of a democratic forum which promotes oppositional culture and challenges social norms. This, in turn creates a “participatory illusion” that veils the underlying profit-based motivations of the show. The goal is engaged viewers that question the motives of a seemingly un-refined format, “cheap amusements.” What is the show telling us about American society, and how is its shaping of perspective relevant to how we function as a society?

People

Carl Culicchia
Researcher

Michael Newbury
Sponsor & Professor of American Studies and English and American Literatures

Related Links

Downloads

Sites DOT Middlebury: the Middlebury site network.