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Title:Photography and the body in the nineteenth century
Author(s):Lalvani, Suren
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Christians, Clifford G.
Department / Program:Communications
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Mass Communications
Abstract:The dissertation draws on Michel Foucault's genealogical account of the relations of power, knowledge and the body in order to examine the particular role photography played within discourses and practices on the body occurring at different levels of the social formation in nineteenth century bourgeois society. The underlying premise of the dissertation is that Cartesian ocularcentrism and the modes of representation and technologies of sight it legitimized have institutionalized a disembodied gaze and a transcendental subjectivity which not only neglects the embodied nature of existence but subverts it. In this context, the dissertation examines how photography operated within a certain set of discourses and practices to socially constitute the body, providing it meaning within an established hierarchy of values. Furthermore an examination is undertaken of photography's functioning within a set of discourses and practices at both the "bio-political" and "anatomo-political" levels. In this regard, the dissertation examines: (1) the nature of photography's functioning in a disciplinary apparatus whereby the body of the criminal is transformed into a discursive object for purposes of identification and surveillance as well as for constituting the criminal body itself; (2) the nature of photography's insertion into the discursive field of management and the capitalist mode of production whereby the camera becomes an effective instrument of the technician-engineer's attempt to wrest control of the processes of production from skilled labor. The intent is to elicit the manner in which photography--by both representing the "exterior" body and effecting the disciplining of the "interior" body--assisted in producing both knowledge and power. The examination of photography and its relations with the body in the nineteenth century is concluded by locating its practices within the larger conception of seeing or the "positive unconscious of vision" that prevailed during the period.
Issue Date:1990
Rights Information:Copyright 1990 Lalvani, Suren
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9026240
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9026240

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