For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Psychiatric power: Lectures at the college de france, 1973--1974

by Foucault, Michel (2008)

Key Passage

Now a completely new type of institution appears in the second halfof the seventeenth century. As an example of this, I will take theGobelins' professional school of design and tapestry, which was organizedin 1667 and gradually improved up until an important regulationof 1737.9 Apprenticeship takes place here in a completely different way.That is to say, the students are first of all divided up according to age,and a certain type of work is given to each age block. This work must bedone in the presence either of teachers or supervisors, and it must beassessed at the same time and together with assessment of the student'sbehavior, assiduity, and zeal while performing his work. These assessmentsare entered on registers which are kept and passed on up the hierarchyto the director of the Gobelins' manufacture himself, and, on this basis, a succinct report is sent to the minister of the King's Householdconcerning the quality of the work, the student's abilities, and whetherhe can now be considered a master. A whole network of writing is constitutedaround the apprentice's behavior, and this will first codify allhis behavior in terms of a number of assessments determined in advance,then schematize it, and finally convey it to a point of centralizationwhich will define his ability or inability There is, then, an investmentby writing, codification, transfer, and centralization, in short, theconstitution of a schematic and centralized individuality. (p.49)


Foucault, Postmodernism, Psychiatric Power, Power, Resistance, Labour, Wages, Medicine, Clinic, Psychiatrization


Psychiatric Power, Foucault Citations



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