Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Seungho Moon, Disciplinary Images of “Korean-Ness”: Autobiographical Interrogations on the Panopticon, SAGE Open, July-September 2012 vol. 2 no. 3

Further info and pdf of article


The purpose of this study is to generate complicated conversations about identity and culture with an examination of various panoptic technologies, including separation, invisibility, control, and productivity. Drawn from Foucault’s panopticism, the author examines how discipline operates as a controlling power in several Korean institutions of schools, the seminary, and the military. This autobiographical self-reflexive research explores disciplinary images of “Korean-ness,” which has been discursively and materially constructed and embodied via panoptic technologies. These counter-narratives do not support for the advancement of the universalized version of the “Korean” identity. Rather, the author theorizes Korean identity as discursive practices in modern power structures, while dealing with the “political ‘double bind’” of (a) individualization through instruments of discipline and (b) the reinforcement of Confucian ideal of proper human relationships. This article provides educators with a lens to examine the ways in which disciplinary power/knowledge operates to control students’ ways of thinking, behaving, and living, in relation to “self,” “others,” and institutions. By opening possibilities to examine cultural identity beyond discovering “true” self, the author emphasizes the analyses of power in its examination of cultural sameness/difference in multicultural curriculum studies.

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