October 26, 2012

Langue and Parole in Daniel's "Public Secrets"

In a society which places such ideals as personal freedom and individual liberty in such high regards, such as our society in the United States, it seems that such industries as the prison industrial complex exist as a manifestation of the contradictions which lie beyond the readily perceived public interpretations of such concepts as freedom, liberty, justice. In her critique of the prison industrial complex, which pays particular regard to the prison system in the state of califorina, Daniel masterfully illustrates how the conceived realities of justice and the "correctional institution" are provided by the misuse of symbolic language and misguided intepretation of this network of signs and symbols by the general public, which neglects the conscious recognition of the real situation. The concept of Langue and Parole are easily applied to Daniel's critique of the prison industrial complex, and through the examination of the manner and method by which the prison system, and he larger conept of justice within our society, and therefore the critique becomes more of a critique of the public perception of the signs and symbols of which we have internalized within our minds as members of the society.

In the theory of langue and parole, langue is describe as being a network of signs and symbols which encompass bodies of language, and signs can be seen as anything that has the ability to communicate information, and the interpretation of this information is based upon a recognized system of codes and conventions of which members of a given society consciously or unconsciously internalize. However, this system of communication within a given sociey is flawed within itself due to the ambiguity of the signs themselves, and their ultimate failure to communicate any definite form of information beyond what can be processed to be true based upon the systems of internalized ideas and forms of which are largely shared within a society.

In the Parole, or given narrative in which the language is used, it is assesed that the signifier of the sign and the signified form, object, or idea have no necessary relation to one another, and that we form the meaning to the context of the parole based upon the method in which it is formatted and the relation of the signs contained with each other.

I believe that Daniel's critique of the prison idustrial complex serves as a representation of how the  langue and parole within the form of communication of a given society, which in this case is of course ours, is not only indefinite as a means of communication among members of that society, but also neglects the reconition of the actual meanings of the concepts used within the narrative.
The manipulation of meaning of words, and subsequently the forms, objects, ideas and concepts they are constructed to represent may also be seen as a conscious and unconscious effort to internalize the perceived form of a social reality based upon the intention of the author, and relying upon the complacency of the populace. As Daniel so eloquently illustrates, "The trick to the public secret is knowing what not to know. This is the most powerful form of social knowledge" because "such shared secrets sustain social and political institutions."


noles1128 said...

"Is not only indefinite as a means of communication among members of that society, but also neglects the reconition of the actual meanings of the concepts used within the narrative." I thought this statement to be very direct to Daniel's work.

When you concluded your last point with the trick to public secrets, I thought it summed up Daniel's essay very well. If one were to tell these public secrets to society, our society and social institutions will not be sustainable. There is a reason our society does not know of these secrets, to a certain extent.

Cookie said...

But our society isn't completely ignorant. We have an idea of some of the corruption. Maybe not everyone but some have a very basic understanding. Daniel is not the first person to show some of the corruption in our justice system. Although I do like the style she uses expose these secrets by how she "frames" . I'd like to make a jump and say that most of us in the class already knew there was some corruption and with a title like Public Secrets I'm sure we didn't know the details of it but we knew but just reading a few lines into the hypertext that kind of story we were going to unfold.

Joel Bergholtz said...

It seems like the langue of signs and signals could be the prison. And the parole would be the narrative we choose to listen to through the authorities of the justice system. Imagine a "scared straight" program, where the langue is the prison the student walks through. While the student walks through the langue, the parole is being understood through the narrative of the police man/woman, who tells about how horrible the inmates are and even gets some of the inmates to scream and shout behind the bars to scare the kid. While the action of this situation is to scare the kid, as a citizen he walks away viewing these men and women as wild animals behind cages who cannot control themselves, and the narrative of the police men and women only aid in this thinking. Together, the langue and parole work in the prison system to keep the public secret a secret from itself, in this case, at an extremely early age.

Steven Loer said...

I'm with Joel, it really seems through the reading that the prison it self is the langue of signs and signals with the parole being the narrative. A prison system draws so many comparisons because of how unique it may be. The perception of one differs from person to person that's why i believed it was a good illustrator.

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