Indhu Rajagopal, “Does the Internet shape a disciplinary society? The information-knowledge paradox”

Rajagopal’s essay considers the relationship between information and knowledge through a Foucauldian framework. This was a complex, dry argument, so I’m going to try to communicate what I understood, and what I might continue to think about.

In the knowledge/power dyad, obtaining knowledge allows state and corporate forces to make people “objects of knowledge,” to use this knowledge to watch, discipline, examine, and normalize docile bodies. Information, however, is not the same as knowledge; knowledge is understanding, which we may not gain from information, so the gathering of information instead of knowledge through information and communication technologies may be a place for resistance.

Rajagopal, like so many others, is concerned with surveillance and control based on the power from the knowledge from the information from that surveillance. What I find interesting in this essay, though, is the relationship between power and knowledge to which Rajagopal draws attention: “Foucault studies social bodies controlled by the inseparable vicious dyads of power/knowledge: control elicits knowledge, and knowledge is used for control.” Confessions, sharing, provide the knowledge that gives hegemonic structures and institutions their power, and that power allows those structures and institutions to pull confessions from us. We post online because society values sharing, then we can be controlled by those social values.
I wonder, could the internet be considered an institution in itself? Is it an ISA of sorts?
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One Response to Indhu Rajagopal, “Does the Internet shape a disciplinary society? The information-knowledge paradox”

  1. Pingback: Social Media & The Digital Confessional: Full Outline | Digital A-Rae

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