Electricity is everywhere; not since it embraces anything, but as it comes from all over the place. And " Power, ” insofar since it is permanent, repetitious, inert and self-reproducing, is merely the total effect that emerges from all these mobilities, the concatenation that rests on each of them and seeks in return to detain their motion. (Foucault 1978, p. 93) Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Experience gives a time-honored example of this kind of all-encompassing character of power.
Set in the late-20th-century upcoming, Atwood photos a male-dominated, theocratic totalitarian society, set on the geographical territory with the (former) Usa, called the Republic of Gilead. As a result of impact of several unspecified ecological unfortunate occurances, most women have been completely found infertile, which has made procreation best for endurance of the habitants of Gilead. A movement called the Sons of Jacob features overthrown america government and has installed an within the Old Testament-inspired hierarchical armed forces regime. Job, money and property are (among most other things) denied to ladies, literacy is considered sinful. The women have been grouped into several groups known as Wives, Aunts, Econowives, Martha's and Handmaids. Handmaids happen to be women which have been proven agricultural: they are assigned to a Commander (a gentleman of the judgment class) fantastic Wife (the women wedded to the Commanders) in order to bear children to get the Partner. Handmaids need to dress in ankle-long, red, habit-like dresses, coupled with a light head-dress – referred to as wings – which will restricts their particular vision. The protagonist in the Handmaid's Story is called Offred, which is not her real term but is a reference to the name of the Commander who she is designated (of-Fred). While said, the Handmaids should be produce kids for the Wives: in order to accomplish this, Offred has to have sexual intercourse with her Commander while she is resting between the thighs of his Wife. This is certainly called the Ceremony. Almost all inhabitants of Gilead happen to be under regular surveillance of the Eyes (consisting, obviously, just of men): Gilead's intellect agency that attempts to discover those who violate its rigid rules. Doing gender treason (homosexuality), illigal baby killing, illegitimate sex, attempts to flee the country and numerous other acts that display disobedience to the Laws of Gilead is inexorably countered together with the death charges. The body of the victims are put up in public display on the ‘Wall'. The region or Gilead are shut down: fleeing the country is – near to – impossible.
Atwood's novel is in many ways a classical sort of dystopian hype: the obvious lack of flexibility, the constant surveillance, the impracticality of get away and the hierarchical categorization of society are just a number of characteristic features that immediately come to mind. However , with this essay I would really like to focus generally on the numerous power-relations that play a great apparent part in The Handmaid's Tale and link these types of to Foucaults analysis of power, electricity relations and the panoptic schizzo.
Let us initial go back to Foucault's above-mentioned description of electric power. When Foucault asserts that power ‘is everywhere, ' this assertion intelligibly demonstrates Foucaults task that electricity is certainly not something stationary, something that is someone's real estate, something that could be localized, something which should be understood purely in negative (prohibitive) terms, while something homogeneous or homogenous and whose model is basically juridical, in fact , according to Foucault, while Deleuze puts it: " Electricity has no importance: it is basically operational. ” (Deleuze 1999, p. 27) Power operates through the work out of control, by " methods which can be employed on all levels and in varieties that exceed the state and its particular apparatus. ” (Foucault 78, p. 89) State-sovereignty as well as the system of the law are, in respect to Foucault, only certain varieties that electrical power can take. Yet power would not lie within an exterior location with respect to what it regulates...