The Relationship Between Domination and Resistance

The absolute power of the monarch was then displayed to all in the (punishing of the) body of the prisoner. In later centuries, systems changed. Prisons were introduced, and prisoners were subject to strict discipline and control. Discipline meant that almost every bodily movement of prisoners was sought to be controlled – the space they used, the movements (exercises) they did, the food they ate and even their sleep. The panopticon, a circular design for prison houses (designed by Jeremy Bentham in the 18th century) with the warder’s room in the center, allowed the warder to view a prisoner at any time. this made the prisoner feel that he was constantly being watched. This drill of prison life led to the transformation of people into obedient zombies, which facilitated the exercise of control by the state.
The way the death penalty is administered in many countries of the world, including the US, is evidence that state sanctioned violence still exits. Such violence is orchestrated in a bizarre, ritualistic manner to make it appear as a necessary tool of the state justice system. But when we consider that capital punishment does not deter crime in any way, it becomes evident that it continues as a throwback to a primitive and uncivilized way of treating fellow humans. Dwight Conquergood gives some horrifying facts about the administration of the death penalty in the US. For instance, the US is one among a handful of countries, which allows the death penalty for a minor. Besides, a greater part of those who are on death row are minorities. a large percentage of women charged for serious crime are lesbian. one in seven persons are wrongly executed (!). and all this, though capital punishment is much more costly to administer than a life sentence. (Conquergood 2002)
Power is thus used by the state to reinforce the viewpoint of the majority. An impression of humaneness is sought to be created through the sanitation of the whole process of killing by the state. Prisoners are made to participate in their own annihilation. When a person on death row accepts the fact that he has no way to escape his fate, he is ‘persuaded’ to go through silly rituals of stating what he wants for a last meal, articulating his ‘last wish’ before death and so on. (Conquergood 2002)
In the face of the exercise of such raw and violent power by the state against those who dare to express opinions contrary to what the state sanctions, political prisoners in Turkey have refined hunger strikes as a way of expressing their dissent. Patrick Anderson chronicles the longest lasting such strike, which started in Oct 2000 in Turkish prisons as a protest against shifting of prisoners to solitary cells. The strike has been carefully managed by the strikers so that they do not die of starvation soon. The strikers have developed methods to see that their emaciated bodies survive – by drinking more liquids, by using potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride and so on. (Anderson 2004). Moving from the details of the narration, what is horrifying is the fact that in almost all countries of the world, including those which claim to be developed, the legal and justice system exists for the privileged class.
Power operates outside prison gates too – through the mechanism of the market economy. An ‘upper’ class