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Milena @elmyra
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Small aside: this badge is designed to be attached to clothes typically worn by men (specifically: shirt with a breast pocket). On anything else, it ends up looking awkward, falling off, or being covered up. Just a small but impactful way academia can be sexist.
Other small aside: Apparently people who go to conferences on positionality in qualitative research are predominantly (and I mean 80-90%!) women or femme-presenting. Make of that what you will.
Further adventures in hostile design: the bathroom sink where the tap turns out automatically when you lean over it to get closer to the mirror to do your lipstick.
Which is of course a close cousin of the automatic toilet flush that has never been tested with anyone changing their tampon.
This seems to have struck a chord, so I may use it as a jumping off point to talk about Foucault's idea of docile bodies tomorrow.
Alright, some of you seemed to really like my conference badge snark, and some of you offered your own individual solutions.

But the badge is a really good illustration of Foucault's idea of docile bodies. Gather round folks.
State/societal control over the body is the central theme of Foucault's book "Discipline and Punish", which you can find here:…

(If you do read it, content note for the first few pages: graphic description of torture.)
So what Foucault basically says is that in the 17th and 18th centuries, Western societies came up with new ways of controlling and shaping the body. He calls these "disciplines".
The main example he works through is how the army trains soldiers, but he also talks about schools, hospitals, "militarisation" of manufacturing (to which I will come back later).
There were 3 things that were new about the disciplines:

1. They didn't deal with *all* bodies; they acted on *individual* bodies.
2. They focused not on the outcome but on the *process* of discipline.
3. Coercion, surveillance etc. were constant, uninterrupted.
So for 1, it matters how every individual soldier marches; where every individual patient in a hospital or student in a school is.
For 2, moving to a school setting for a moment, it doesn't (just) matter what grades you get; it matters that you actually go to class, sit in particular ways during particular times, participate and interact in particular ways. (I was great at cutting class. 😛)
For 3, this is achieved through codification of time and space. We don't run through offices and schools, we clock in and clock out, etc. The trick is, *we monitor ourselves*.
The point of all this is to increase the economic utility of the body. If you can control who is doing what, when, and how, you can make sure they are as productive as possible.
(Though it is important to note that Foucault didn't think this was some sort of grand design or conspiracy, it was a set of systems that emerged over time and interacted with each other to achieve these effects.)
Now, one of the important feminist critiques of Foucault is that as much thought as he gave to bodies, he gave none to *gendered* bodies.

(E.g. McNay, L. (2013). Foucault and feminism: Power, gender and the self. John Wiley & Sons.)
Feminist scholars have extended Foucault's work to help us understand how disciplines act on differently-gendered bodies in different ways.

(E.g. Bordo, S. (2004). Unbearable weight: Feminism, Western culture, and the body. Univ of California Press.)
So that's a bunch of theory. It is late and I am sleepy so I will come back to how all of this relates to poorly-designed conference name badges when I am slightly less sleepy.
Feel free to talk amongst yourselves and draw the links between docile bodies, gender, and name badges in my mentions.

Also, if you're finding this useful, please do buy me a coffee:
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