Foucault on the art of distributions

Social Systems Theory

I’ve been trying to make connections between Luhmann and Foucault. In Discipline and Punish, Foucault writes,

In the first instance, discipline proceeds from the distribution of individuals in space. To achieve this end, it employs several techniques. [. . .]

But the principle of ‘enclosure’ is neither constant, nor indispensable, nor sufficient in disciplinary machinery. This machinery works space in a much more flexible and detailed way. It does this first of all on the principle of elementary location or partitioning. Each individual has his own place; and each place its individual. Avoid distributions in groups; break up collective dispositions; analyse confused, massive or transient pluralities. Disciplinary space tends to be divided into as many sections as there are bodies or elements to be distributed. One must eliminate the effects of imprecise distributions, the uncontrolled disappearance of individuals, their diffuse circulation, their unusable and dangerous coagulation; it…

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