Carol A. Hand
Following is the second installment of one of the exam papers I wrote to complete a university degree (Hand, 1999). I am sharing the essay in installments, with minor edits and illustrations added, in hopes that it might be of interest and stimulate thoughtful dialogue. (Part One defined theory and discussed some of the relevant general theories that continue to guide research, policies, and practice paradigms that limit the exercise of sovereignty by tribal governments over the welfare of their citizens, lands, and resources.)
It does seem fitting to share this essay in pieces because that’s how it was written. At the time, I lived off the grid and could only afford to run a generator four hours in the morning to power my computer. (Yes, I did have a laptop, but as life happens, it arrived with a faulty battery that couldn’t hold a charge and I didn’t have the time or money to have it fixed.) Every afternoon and evening, I would read and outline for the next day’s work. And because the evening grows dark early in the northwoods’ winter where I lived then, I read by the light of candles and oil lamps.
How Dominance is Established/Maintained. The processes through which particular groups are able to maintain domination over other groups from one generation to the next are explored by a number of theorists. Theorists differ on the degree of emphasis they place on coercion versus socialization, as the following discussion indicates.
Photo: Prisoners of US “Indian Wars” – 1868 (Source)
Force and Ideology.
According to Diamond (1997, p. 277), force and ideology are the processes used to quell resistance by subaltern groups.
“Kleptocrats throughout the ages have resorted to a mixture of four solutions [to the problem of resistance]:
1. Disarm the populace, and arm the elite….
2. Make the masses happy by redistributing much of the tribute received, in popular ways….
3. Use the monopoly of force to promote happiness, by maintaining public order and curbing violence…
4. [C]onstruct an ideology or religion justifying kleptocracy…, central authority, … [the] transfer of wealth, … [and to] maintain peace between unrelated individuals.”
Diamond stresses the importance of religion as a unifying ideology. It links unrelated strangers together in the absence of kinship ties, or in Diamond’s (1997, p. 278) words, “religion helps solve the problem of how unrelated individuals live together without killing each other…” Religion also provides people with “a motive, other than generic self-interest, for sacrificing their lives on behalf of others” in order to defend their nation state or attempt to conquer other nations (Diamond, 1997, p. 278). Despite the importance attributed to force and religion, Antonio Gramsci and Michel Foucault point to the ways in which power maintenance is embedded within the every day operations of ideologies and institutions throughout the macrosystem, reducing the need for pervasive military or police action to assure continuing dominance.
Nationalism and Cultural Hegemony.
Within the United States, even during colonial times, religion was not a unifying force among different settlements of immigrant French and Spanish Catholics and British and Dutch Protestants who were the initial colonizers. Anderson (1991) argues that “nationalism” arose to fill this void: the American-born descendants of European immigrants, “creoles” in Anderson’s language, developed an awareness of nation-ness “well before most of Europe” (p. 50, emphasis in original). These “creole” descendants were viewed as inferior to those who were born in the “metropole” (i.e., mother country), and were barred from positions of power in both the colonies and the metropole. The development of print journalism and newspapers in the “new world” during the eighteenth century enabled resistance to coalesce among the creole class. The blueprint for nationhood and nationalism emerged as the creole class in the American colonies organized and fought for their independence from European control. After their victory, these “nation-builders” turned their attention to indigenous populations and were able to establish and retain dominance. “The sheer size of this immigrant community, no less its overwhelming military, economic, and technological power vis-a-vis the indigenous populations, ensured that it maintained its own cultural coherence and local political ascendancy” (Anderson, 1991, p. 189).
Photo: Indigenous Peoples before European “discovery” (Source)
Three institutions of power — “the census, the map, and the museum” — were used to subdue indigenous peoples and shape “the way in which the colonial state imagined its dominion — the nature of the human beings it ruled, the geography of its domain, and the legitimacy of its ancestry” (Anderson, 1991, p. 164). The systematic quantification and classification of populations and the demarcation of the geographic boundaries of empires were powerful tools for administration and control.
Yet, through the excavation of ancient monuments and the creation of museums to house artifacts, the creole rulers were able to establish a link to the past and denigrate native populations at the same time (Anderson, 1991). As the guardians of monuments and artifacts, as the namer of places and landmarks, as curators of natural history museums, the new state could view the new world’s past as its own, while relegating native societies to merely one part of that past (Anderson, 1991; Haraway, 1994). The creoles were also the writers of the history texts which interpreted the creation of a new nation, glorified the triumphant victory over the metropole (England), and romanticized the conquest and domination of indigenous peoples (Berkhofer, 1979).
“Out of the American welter came these imagined realities: nation-states, republican institutions, common citizenships, popular sovereignty, national flags and anthems, etc., and the liquidation of their conceptual opposites: dynastic empires, monarchical institutions, absolutisms, subjecthoods, inherited nobilities, serfdoms, ghettoes, and so forth” (Anderson, 1991, p. 81).
Photo: US “territorial acquisitions” (Source)
Nationhood and nationalism are potent unifying tools for those in leadership positions. Gramsci (1999, p. 12) identifies two crucial “superstructural” levels within nations: “civil society” and “the State.” The State refers to the governmental and juridical sectors, while civil society “is the ensemble of organisms commonly called ‘private’.” According to Gramsci (1999, p. 12):
“… the supremacy of a social group manifests itself in two ways, as ‘domination’ and as ‘intellectual and moral leadership’. A social group dominates antagonistic groups, which it tends to ‘liquidate’, or to subjugate perhaps even by armed force; it leads kindred and allied groups.”
Force and coercion are the function of the State sector, while intellectual and moral leadership emerge primarily from civil society. Both levels are controlled by the dominant group, with intellectuals serving as their “deputies” to carry out the functions of political governance and cultural hegemony. The force of the State is embodied in constitutions, laws, and the military, while schools and public media are the major tools for building the type of national consensus necessary for the exercise of hegemony (Gramsci, 1999). National governments need to balance force and consent.
“Indeed, the attempt is always made to ensure that force will appear to be based on the consent of the majority, expressed by the so-called organs of public opinion — newspapers and associations — which, therefore, in certain situations, are artificially multiplied.” (Gramsci, 1999, p. 80, footnote 49)
Every state “tends to create and maintain a certain type of civilisation and of citizen (and hence of collective life and of individual relations), and to eliminate certain customs and attitudes and to disseminate others” (Gramsci, 1999, p. 246). Through the processes of education, socialization, and mass communication, the citizens of nations are programmed to accept the prevailing social order, to spontaneously consent “to the general direction imposed on social life by the dominant fundamental group” (Gramsci, 1999, p. 12). Through education, and the political and economic structures in which education occurs, individuals within a given society gradually accept, often quite unconsciously through everyday activities, the dominant ideologies and institutions from which all of the lower levels of the macrosystem spring (Gramsci, 1995). It is through such processes that the compelling appeal of the ideologies and symbols on which the new United States was built have assumed dominance, or “cultural hegemony,” over competing ideologies, and were woven throughout “the institutions in civil society, such as schools, churches, [and political] parties, etc.” (Bellamy, 1994, p. xxxviii).
Photo: Menominee Children Enacting Wedding – 1931 (Source – Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University)
The concept of hegemony draws attention to the interconnectedness of “institutions,” “forms of consciousness,” and “political and cultural practices” (Williams, 1994, p. 587). According to Williams (1994, p. 595), the concept of hegemony goes beyond ideology in that it is “not only the conscious system of ideas and beliefs, but the whole lived social process as practically organized by specific and dominant meanings and values.” Formal institutions are a powerful component of hegemony. As Williams (1994, p. 602) points out all societies rely on the process of socialization, but it is in the “selected range of meanings, values, and practices which, in the very closeness of their associations with learning, constitute the real foundations of the hegemonic. In a family, children are cared for and taught to care for themselves, but within this necessary process fundamental and selective attitudes to self, others, to a social order, and to the material world are both consciously and unconsciously taught.” Education, institutions, and communications systems all reenforce particular views, meanings, values, and activities. Yet, training and social pressure alone are not truly hegemonic.
“The true condition of hegemony is effective self-identification with the hegemonic forms: a specific and internalized ‘socialization’ which is expected to be positive but which, if that is not possible, will rest on a (resigned) recognition of the inevitable and the necessary. An effective culture, in this sense, is always more than the sum of its institutions: not only because these can be seen, in analysis, to derive much of their character from it, but mainly because it is at the level of the whole culture that the crucial interrelations, including confusions and conflicts, are really negotiated” (Williams, 1994, p. 603, emphasis in original).
Like Gramsci and Williams, Foucault also underscores education and “the crucial role of ‘expert’ forms of power/knowledge in sustaining the commonsense order of things” (Scheper-Hughes, 1992, p.171). Both Foucault and Gramsci are concerned with “the capillary nature of diffuse power circuits in modern states” (Scheper-Hughes, 1992, p. 171). Similar to Bronfenbrenner’s assertion that power is located in roles and power settings, Foucault argues that domination is exerted by all of society’s institutions through “disciplines” and a “series of localized strategies” (Kritzman (1988, p. xvi).
“Discipline” and “Normalization.”
Foucault’s concept of “discipline” evolved over the course of his diverse studies. Initially, Foucault described discipline as a noun which meant “groups of statements that borrow their organization from scientific models, which tend toward coherence and demonstrativity, which are accepted, institutionalized, transmitted and sometimes taught as sciences …” (Foucault, 1972). p. 178). In his later works, discipline was described both as a verb (surveiller), and a noun which can be characterized by the outcome of a normalizing “supervision” or “surveillance” (Sheridan, 1979; Atkins et al., 1990 ). It is this latter meaning which is most salient in the discussion the continuation of Euro-American cultural hegemony.
Disciplinary power is applied through “the use of simple instruments; hierarchical observation, normalizing judgement and their combination in a procedure that is specific to it, the examination” (Foucault, 1979, p. 170) in order “to produce a human being who could be treated as a docile body” (Dreyfus & Rabinow, 1983, p. 134). Documentary techniques recorded the observations of those charged with the application of disciplinary techniques, creating a record of each individual’s comparative progress (Foucault, 1979).
“The technology of discipline developed and was perfected in workshops, barracks, prisons, and hospitals; in each of these settings the general aim was a ‘parallel increase in the usefulness and docility of individuals’ and populations. The techniques for disciplining bodies were applied mainly to the working classes and the subproletariat, although not exclusively, as they also operated in universities and schools” (Dreyfus & Rabinow, 1983, p. 135).
Photo: Ojibwe Students in Costumes (WI) – 1933 (Source – Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University)
The perfection of these techniques was tied to the rise of capitalism as a dominant ideology in Europe.
“Foucault …contends that it was the disciplinary technologies which underlay the growth, spread, and triumph of capitalism as an economic venture. Without the insertion of disciplined, orderly individuals into the machinery of production, the new demands of capitalism would have been stymied. In a parallel manner, capitalism would have been impossible without the fixation, control and rational distribution of populations on a large scale.” (Dreyfus & Rabinow, 1983, p. 135)
Or, as Foucault (1979, p. 164) explains,
“Discipline is no longer simply an art of distributing bodies, of extracting time from them and accumulating it, but of composing forces in order to obtain an efficient machine. The individual body becomes an element that may be placed, moved, articulated on others…. The body is constituted as a part of a multi-segmentary machine.”
The mechanisms of disciplinary power run throughout all of the institutions of society. From the eighteenth century onward, Foucault (1980b) argues that the role of families is increasingly regimented and medicalized to produce healthy, docile adults.
“It is no longer just a matter of producing an optimum number of children, but one of the correct management of this age of life. New and highly detailed rules serve to codify relations between adults and children…. [A] whole series of obligations [are] imposed on parents and children alike: obligations of a physical kind (care, contact, hygiene, cleanliness, attentive proximity), suckling of children by their mothers, clean clothing, physical exercise to ensure proper development of the organism: the permanent and exacting corporal relation between adults and their children. The family is no longer to be just a system of relations inscribed in social status, a kinship system, a mechanism for the transmission of property. It is to become a dense, saturated, permanent, continuous physical environment which envelops, maintains and develops the child’s body (Foucault, 1988, pp. 172). (See endnote 2 for an important comment from one of the faculty reviewers.)
Families have increasingly become morally responsible for assuring the health of children, and at least partially responsible for bearing the economic cost of medical care (Foucault, 1988).
Techniques of discipline are also embodied in education, and each successive generation is normalized.
“A relation of surveillance, defined and regulated, is inscribed at the heart of the practice of teaching, not as an additional or adjacent part, but as a mechanism that is inherent to it and which increases its efficiency. Hierarchical, continuous and functional surveillance may not be one of the great technical ‘inventions’ of the eighteenth century, but its insidious extension owed its importance to the mechanisms of power it brought with it” (Foucault, 1979, p. 176).
The economy of this new power technique could not be matched by older technologies. Foucault (1980b, p. 155) notes that:
“There is no need for arms, physical violence, material constraints. Just a gaze. An inspecting gaze, a gaze which each individual under its weight will end by interiorising [sic] to the point that he is his own overseer, each individual thus exercising this surveillance over and against himself. A superb formula: power exercised continuously and for what turns out to be a minimal cost.”
Photo: Weaving Class – Holy Family Mission (WI) – 1933 ( Source – Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University)
By means of surveillance techniques, disciplinary power pervaded all aspects of the macrosystem (Foucault, 1979).
“The workshop, the school, the army were subject to a whole micro-penality of time (lateness, absences, interruptions of tasks), of activity (inattention, negligence, lack of zeal), of behaviour (impoliteness, disobedience), of speech (idle chatter, insolence), of the body (‘incorrect’ attitudes, irregular gestures, lack of cleanliness), of sexuality (impurity, indecency). At the same time, by way of punishment, a whole series of subtle pressures was used, from light punishment to minor deprivations and petty humiliations” (Foucault, 1979, p. 178).
The application of these disciplinary measures was referred to by Foucault as “dressage,” translated from French as “taming” or “breaking in” (Atkins et al., 1987, p. 232), or in English usage, “the art or method of training a horse in obedience and precision of movement” (Webster’s Dictionary, 1989, p. 435). According to Foucault (1988, p. 105): “What developed, then, was a whole technique of human dressage by location, confinement, surveillance, the perpetual supervision of behavior and tasks, in short, a whole technique of ‘management’ of which the prison was merely one manifestation or its transposition into the penal domain.” Discipline effectively “normalized,” or homogenized, individuals. Foucault (1979, p. 193) notes that: “In a system of discipline, the child is more individualized that the adult, the patient more than the healthy man, the madman and the delinquent more than the normal and non-delinquent. In each case, it is towards the first of these pairs that all individualizing mechanisms are turned in our civilization.”
Through the application of these mechanisms of dressage, individuals are ranked vertically according to their performance and abilities in relation to the prevailing needs and ideologies embodied in the capitalist macrosystem (Foucault, 1979). Thus, the power exerted over individuals transcends specific institutions, although the technologies of exerting and maintaining power “find a localization with specific institutions (schools, hospitals, prisons, when they ‘invest’ these institutions…” (Drefus & Rabinow, 1983, p. 185). Thus, power is not located solely within the State apparatus (Foucault, 1980). The points of power are diffuse and operate “on a much more minute and every day level” (p. Foucault, 1980a, p. 59).
“Power is not something that is acquired, seized, or shared, something that one holds on to or allows to slip away; power is exercised from innumerable points, in the interplay of nonegalitarian and mobile relations…. One must suppose rather that the manifold relationships of force that take shape and come into play in the machinery of production, in families, limited groups, and institutions, are the basis for wide-ranging effects of cleavage that run through the social body as a whole…. Major dominations are the hegemonic effects that are sustained by all these confrontations” (Foucault, 1990, p. 94).
What this means, then, is that there is no one person or institution intentionally dominating others, although individuals and institutions can make use of the technologies of discipline for their own aims (Foucault, 1990).
In complex societies, power has become vested in a proliferation of emerging organizations (Foucault, 1979; Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Scott, 1987; Perrow, 1986). These organizations, nested within the exostructure and macrostructure, embody the dominant ideologies that are operative within a given culture at a given time. Characterized by bureaucratic structures, organizations have assumed a tremendous importance in the everyday lives of individuals, families, communities, societies, and the world at large (Scott, 1987; Zey-Ferrel, 1981). Charles Perrow (1986, p. 5) argues that bureaucratic organizations “legitimize the control of the many by the few, despite the formal apparatus of democracy, and this control has generated unregulated and unperceived social power.”
“As bureaucracies satisfy, delight, pollute, and satiate us with their output of goods and services, they also shape our ideas, our very way of conceiving of ourselves, control our life chances, and even define our humanity…. We grow up in organizations; to stand outside them is to see their effect on what we believe, what we value, and, more important, how we think and reason.” (Perrow, 1986, p. 5)
According to Foucault (1979, 1980a, 1980b, 1988, 1990), disciplinary techniques and differential power are interwoven throughout the institutions and organizations of politics, law, production, education, and social welfare. With the tremendous influence organizations have, it becomes crucial to understand who controls them and for what purpose (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978; Zald, 1981). This is one of the central concerns of the resource dependency and political economy theorists.
Political Economy and Resource Dependency.
From the perspective of the political economy and resource dependency models which emerged in the late 1970s, organizations are nested within and constrained by the larger socio-political and economic environment (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978; Pfeffer, 1982). According to Benson (1975, p. 229):
“The interorganizational network may be conceived as a political economy concerned with the distribution of two scarce resources, money and authority. Organizations, as participants in the political economy, pursue an adequate supply of resources. Interactions and sentiments of organizations are dependent upon their respective market positions and power to affect the flow of resources.”
One of the crucial constraints is the existing social structure in which organizations are nested, since those individuals and organizations in powerful positions “tend to occasion the reproduction of the existing social structure” (Benson, 1977b, p. 3). Internal organizational operations are also constrained by “constitutions” (Zald, 1981, p. 225), or by “paradigms,” which in “normal times” are “taken for granted as the framework of purposes, means, strategies and structures within which organizational behavior is directed” (Benson, 1977a, p. 7). While these “norms set the limits for behavior, … it may be rare for participants even to be aware of the norms” (Zald, 1981, p. 227).
Organizations engage in transactions with their environments in order to increase the likelihood of their survival through the dual processes of organizational adaptation and environmental change efforts (Cook, 1977; Scott, 1987; Pfeffer, 1982). Since organizations are dependent upon their environments for resources (raw materials to transform into products, markets in which to sell products for profit, personnel, information access, and legitimacy), power disparities emerge within and among organizations (Pfeffer, 1981; Pfeffer, 1982). Those organizations which better reflect the ideologies of a given society (e.g., in terms of organizational structure, technologies, products, and professions) have a stronger power base and are able to dominate other organizations, exert greater influence on their environments (e.g., on state and federal governments), and are more likely to survive and expand (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978; Benson, 1977a & 1977b). Those organizations with a poorer fit have less power, and hence become more dependent upon other organizations within the interorganizational network.
“Dependence … measures the potency of the external organizations or groups in the given organization’s environment. It is a measure of how much these organizations must be taken into account and, also, how likely it is that they will be perceived as important and considered in the [focal] organization’s decision making” (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978, p. 52).
Pfeffer and Salancik (1978) found that those organizations which are more dependent upon government resources in order to survive, were more vulnerable to governmental demands and pressures.
Photo: St. Joseph’s Indian School (WI) – 1920? 1935? (Source – Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University)
Austin (1988, p. 70) points out that the trend in both capitalist and socialist societies has been the “concentration of economic and political power,” and the concomitant “development of a system of social control which has as its objective the support and protection of the particular structure of power concentration in that society.”
“These controls take the form of laws and regulations, and the use of both economic power and political authority, to limit, or eliminate the impact of dissenters. Even more important is the development of symbols, and intensive processes of socialization about the significance of those symbols, that serve to establish and maintain among the majority of citizens in both types of societies the legitimacy of the concentration of power.” (Austin, 1988, p. 70)
Like Foucault and Gramsci, Zey-Ferrel (1981) asserts that the invisibility of the power exerted by the ruling elite to define what is valuable, meaningful, and legitimate, actually increases the symbolic force of the political and economic power which is embedded throughout the macrosystem and interorganizational networks.
Within the context of the complex interplay of these multifaceted forces, past and present, Native American peoples have continued to survive. It is within the present-day legacy of this overwhelming socio-historical context that the thoughtful Ojibwa youth, cited at the beginning of this paper, developed his theory to make sense of the causality of child maltreatment. A number of scholars have also attempted to describe the experiences and present situations of Native American peoples within theoretical frameworks.
Table 1 – Key Events and Their Impacts on Tribal Nations within the United State
The Impact of Domination for Native Americans. Two perspectives explicitly relegate a central position to differential power: captive nations/internal colonies (Snipp 1986a, 1986b, 1988, 1990; Snipp & Summers, 1990) and incorporation (Cornell, 1988). Cast in an economic framework, both theoretical perspectives recount the evolving strategies of domination used by colonial metropoles and the U.S. government to exert an increasing amount of control over indigenous peoples within the United States. While both perspectives explicitly note the significant differences among tribal cultures and the unique challenges each tribe faced at the hands of colonizers, certain similarities can be identified. Table 1 highlights key political and economic events, and the impact of these events for Native American peoples. The captive nations/internal colonies theoretical approach focuses on processes and impacts of economic domination and exploitation ( Snipp 1986b). Cornell’s (1988) approach views the process of political and economic incorporation of Native peoples into the dominant U.S. structure as transactional, although the balance of power is unequal. Native resistance, from Cornell’s perspective, has enabled Tribal peoples to survive as distinct political entities.
To be continued…
1. Table 1 summarizes the work of a number of authors (Fleras & Elliott, 1992; Cornell, 1988, p. 14; O’Brien, 1989, p. 258; Snipp, 1986b, 1988; Diamond, 1997; and Armitage, 1995). While the dates of the periods included in Table 1 correspond to the six periods Cornell identified, Table 1 expands the historical time period and includes different labels for some of the periods to more clearly characterize the socio-political context within each timeframe.
2. Faculty comment: “Of course, prior to this time, in Western culture, children were largely treated as property to be dealt with by their parents as would any other form of property” (emphasis in original).
3. Table 1 is adapted from a number of sources: Armitage (1995); Cornell (1988, p. 14); Diamond (1997); Fleras & Elliot (1992, p. 136); O’Brien (1989, p. 258); and Snipp (1986b, 1989)
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