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In What Way does One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Demonstrate Foucault's Theories Regarding How Power Works in Current Society - Assignment Example

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In What Way does One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Demonstrate Foucault's Theories Regarding How Power Works in Current Society

In fact, rehabilitation is no less inhumane than the previous practice of torturing prisoners and imprisoning the insane (Seidman, 2011). One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest provides an example of Foucault’s theories of power and control in modern society in terms of dominance and commanding adherence to social order prescribed by those who wield power in socially. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is both symbolic of Foucault’s theories of power and control in society and an example of how power and control functions in a rehabilitative penal system. The film is set in a mental ward of a psychiatric institution. Although, the film itself is set in a mental institution it raises the question of whether or not the control and power asserted within the confines of the institution is sane or rational. In this regard, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest incorporates Foucault’s theory that modern society is fashioned after a prescribed manner of conduct and those who do not comply with this prescription must be separated from society and made to conform before they can re-enter society (Foucault, 1979). The prison system as representative or symbolic of the social prescription has the effect of producing and encouraging resistance. As Foucault (1979) stated: Although it is true that prison punishes delinquency, delinquency is for the most part produced in and by incarceration which, ultimately, prison perpetuates in its turn (p. 301). The prison system perpetuates delinquency, because the inmate, subjected to rigid structures and under constant surveillance, and marginalized might take comfort in the knowledge that he/she is an “outlaw”, that “prowls on the confines of a docile, frightening order” (Foucault, 1979, p. 301). One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest demonstrates Foucault’s contention of prison systems perpetuating delinquency via power and control through Randle McMurphy. McMurphy, an obviously sane individual manipulates his institutionalization as a means of escaping imprisonment. McMurphy immediately comes across as a rebellious free spirit and influences resistance from previously docile and conforming patients. McMurphy presents a challenge to Nurse Ratched, the agent of the institution’s power over the condemned and institutionalized patients. The more Nurse Ratched punishes McMurphy, the more resistant he becomes. The heightened surveillance that influences the perpetuation of delinquency argued by Foucault (1979) is portrayed via Nurse Ratched. Nurse Ratched runs a tight shift in that patients have rigidly guarded space and activities. Nurse Ratched asserts absolute control over the patients and a rebellious free spirit like McMurphy does not accept Ratched’s absolute control. The more he challenges Ratched’s control over him, the more determined Ratched is to regain and assert control over McMurphy. For example, McMurphy requested permission for the ward to watch the World Series, and when Nurse Ratched denied his request, McMurphy insisted that Nurse Ratched put the request to a vote. While Nurse Ratched agreed to the vote, she denied that the vote was in favor of watching the World Series when it was. McMurphy responded by putting the World Series on in the recreation lounge. When Nurse Ratched discovered McMurphy’s disobedience, she used her power to turn the electricity off. Even so, McMurphy’s delinquency persisted. Rather than submit to Ratched’ ...Show more
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In What Way does One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Demonstrate Foucault’s Theories Regarding How Power Works in Current Society? By Course Date Foucault’s social theories argue that society is constructed in terms of dominance and the dominated…
In What Way does One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest Demonstrate Foucaults Theories Regarding How Power Works in Current Society
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