According to Balibar (Difference, Otherness, Exclusion. Anthropological Categories in the Analysis of Racism), it is possible to trace a conjunctive line between Arendt and Foucault, even if Foucault never mentioned the German philosopher when he was commenting the “same” historical sequences. Such point of continuity would be represented by the akin idea that processes of mass extermination, or more generally elimination “ever were possible in history, especially in Modern history, and especially from within States and Societies, without their victims being, so to speak, prepared for elimination, i.e. progressively and institutionally marked as potential, future victims, and collectively pushed into a social symbolic corner where they acquired the status of “living corpses”, or masses of individuals who are neither completely “alive” nor yet, already “dead”. This is certainly the most shocking and embarrassing aspect of the processes of extermination and elimination that characterize Modernity, because it takes place within the realm and the time of legality and normality, because it is associated with forms of rationality that we believe are inseparable from civilization, and because it is open to repetition.”
What happens within the realm of legality and norm-ality? You have the rise of the dyad ‘civilization-rationality’ which takes place into educational institutions aimed to give shape to the ‘future humanity’ according to a norm, i.e. the law of consciousness (or, according to some scholars, the law of the unconsciousness), namely the ego, the civilized self fixed into the effort to manifest itself ‘outside’, into society. As society, according to Marx, is not the sum of individuals but the way in which individuals are related, then it’s necessary to understand the plot of power(s) which regulate such relations. Thus, educational institutions act together with punitive institutions (disciplinary society). If one can say nulla lex sine poena, the refusal (and the exclusion) of individuals not correctly shaped as norm-al, according to ‘eligible criteria’, is implicit. One can say that today you have the shift from disciplinary society to society of control. What is society of control? It is not simply the very act of controlling things, of course, nor the technical reproduction of the capacity of control flows of information, data, things and so on. The issue of control is that it masks its police aims which underlie a morbid government over quiet, infantilized and normalized people.