July 24 2012

A Pragmatic Interpretation of Foucault’s Biopower

A Bird's-Eye View of Research Triangle Park

Michel Foucault (October 1926- June 1984) was a French philosopher and activist, pivotal in the conception of contemporary postmodern theory.

They are bred in the suburbs, and then sent to school. They attend Duke University, North Carolina State University, and University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill. They are pumped with pertinent education, and then are suited to the world of production- the Research Triangle Park. Companies such as IBM, GlaxoSmithKline, RTI International, Cisco Systems, and institutions such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the U.S. Forestry Service constitute this park. All of these elements help turn the gears of the biopower system they are so very a part of. Facebook and Twitter grease the cogs.

Leading French thinker Michel Foucault’s theoretical notion of biopower- elaborated by him as the “numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugation of bodies and the control of population,” is quite present in contemporary society. The Research Triangle, the smart-growth-charged region in North Carolina comprised of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, is a microcosmic example of this intangible relationship.

This network of biopower forges cities. The allocation of sprawl, the drive from the sequestered neighborhood Wood Valley, to the isolated supermarket Harris Teeter, and then down superhighway I-40 to the famed Research Triangle Park- are together symptomatic of a truly structured population. This  consciousness is crucial for architects, engineers, landscape architects, and urban planners alike. The Research Triangle’s production of a society of engineers is pivotal to its engineering of society.

A Girl Fulfills Her Niche

The identification of this relationship may be reactionarilly construed as baneful. However-biopower is a means to an end. This end, ironically put, is transpiring into something beautiful. This beautiful progress, the technological innovations and policy of these IBM, GlaxoSmithKline, RTI International, Cisco Systems, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the U.S. Forestry Service, improve the quality of life of all Triangle denizens. The awareness of biopower is crucial not for its own nullification, but rather its constructive elaboration.

How may this unique relationship be magnified?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Evan Comen

Evan Comen is an undergraduate at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pursuing a B.S. in both Economics and Environmental Studies and a minor in Urban Studies and Planning. A philosophical outlook towards education led his career aspirations to the realm of urban planning, which he intends to foster through completion of a master’s program in the topic post-graduation. Through growing up in Raleigh, North Carolina, and attending school in Chapel Hill, Evan has had the fortune of experiencing the unparalleled smart growth of the properly dubbed “Research Triangle”; a region in the Piedmont of North Carolina notorious for its numerously expansive high-tech companies. His blogs principally speak for the area’s burgeoning success. He is also a devoted cinephile, reader, and cyclist.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 24th, 2012 at 7:41 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Energy, Engineering, Environment, Environmental Design, Government/Politics, Infrastructure, Landscape Architecture, Social/Demographics, Technology, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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