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International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences
Volume 61

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The (In)Visible Eye of Authority: Notes on Surveillance in Paul Auster’s Ghosts

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Abstract:

In his Discipline and Punish (1995), Foucault describes the plague-stricken city where authorities exercised surveillance to control the contagion of the disease. As Foucault states, the first precaution to take was the strict division of space which led to the isolation of dwellers; this spatial partitioning reinforced the notion of pervasive surveillance and paved the way for the modern disciplinary society of which Panopticon was an ideal architectural embodiment. In this paper, we try to show how a combination of the plague-ridden city’s discipline diagrams and Panopticism make the whole scene of Auster’s Ghosts. By focusing on the role of writing in power mechanisms depicted in the novel, we illustrate the power-knowledge relations which involve the characters in the process of subjectification and which construct the subject position of the author (Blue) who acts as the (in) visible eye of authority. Then, we argue that Blue’s dilemma aggravates mainly because he identifies his individual life with his Foucauldian “author function”.

Info:

Periodical:
International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences (Volume 61)
Pages:
82-86
Citation:
J. Momeni and R. Mohsenzadeh, "The (In)Visible Eye of Authority: Notes on Surveillance in Paul Auster’s Ghosts", International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, Vol. 61, pp. 82-86, 2015
Online since:
Oct 2015
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References:

[1] Auster, Paul. The New York Trilogy. New York, NY, U.S. A: Penguin, 2006. Print.

[2] Elden, Stuart. Plague, Panopticon, Police., Http: /www. surveillance-and-society. org/. Surveillance & Society 1(3): 240-253, n. d. Web.

[3] Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York: Vintage, 1995. Print.

[4] Foucault What Is an Author., Scribd. N. p., n. d. Web. 23 Sept. (2015).

[5] Martin, Brendan. Paul Auster's Postmodernity. New York: Routledge, 2008. Print.

[6] Miller, Peter. Domination and Power. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987. Print.

[7] Parker, Psy. d. Martin M. Identification With the Aggressor (n. d. ): n. pag. Web.

[8] Smart, Barry. Michel Foucault. London: Routledge, 2002. Print.

[9] Soja, Edward W. Thirdspace: Journeys to Los Angeles and Other Real-and-imagined Places. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1996. Print.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/215881

[10] Tradition and the Individual Talent. T.S. Eliot. 1921. The Sacred Wood; Essays on Poetry and Criticism., Tradition and the Individual Talent. T.S. Eliot. 1921. The Sacred Wood; Essays on Poetry and Criticism. N. p., n. d. Web. 23 Sept. (2015).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9780511485466.005
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