m foucault discipline and punish the birth of the prison l.
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M. Foucault ‘Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison’ . Part 4 - Prison. Introduction. Previous theory on the emergence of and social function of prisons suggest their existence shows high levels of societal development. Foucault’s view was that prisons were almost as bad:

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Presentation Transcript
  • Previous theory on the emergence of and social function of prisons suggest their existence shows high levels of societal development.
  • Foucault’s view was that prisons were almost as bad:
  • “The shift from a criminality of blood to a criminality of fraud”
  • Foucault’s link between prison and other institutions in society
background and structure
Background and Structure
  • ‘Discipline & Punish’ published in 1975, one of Foucault’s best known works
  • Structure of the book, Four main parts, chapters in each
  • *PART FOUR – PRISON (which I will focus on)
guidelines for study
‘Guidelines for Study’
  • Foucault establishes four main guidelines which he intends to follow in the rest of his work
  • 1) “Regard punishment as a complex social function”
  • 2) “Regard punishment as a political tactic”
  • 3) “Find link between the history of penal law and the human sciences”
  • 4) “Find link between the entry of the soul into the penal justice scene and how the body is invested by power relations”
complete austere institutions
‘Complete & Austere Institutions’
  • In this chapter Foucault looks at the early stages of the prison system and the roles that it was meant to play.
  • These were:
  • WORK
illegalities delinquency
‘Illegalities & Delinquency’
  • In this chapter Foucault goes into more detail in his criticism of penal detention stating 5 main critiques.
  • He believes prison can be worthwhile and comes up with seven universal maxims of ‘good penitential condition’.
  • He goes on to argue how the prison system ends up creating an ‘economy of illegalities’.
the carceral
‘The Carceral’
  • The ‘Carceral System’ is a group of institutions including prison that act as disciplinary mechanisms throughout society.
  • Foucault dates the beginning of this system to the opening of the Mettray in 1840.
  • The carceral system “succeeds in making the power to punish natural and legitimate”.
overview of foucault s argument
Overview of Foucault’s argument
  • Prisons are part of network of disciplinary institutions that regulate our behaviour.
  • Whilst they were conceived as a sophisticated form of punishment they have a number of different failings which mean they do not fulfil their aims.
  • Prisons role in maintaining existing power relations -maintaining the political order.
critical assessment
Critical Assessment
  • Foucault offers a unique take on many aspects of prison particularly through his idea of the existence of ‘the carceral system’.
  • A criticism of Foucault is that he focuses too much on the idea of “Prison as a form of control” (Garland)
  • Weaknesses in the political aspect of his theories
  • However overall ‘Discipline & Punish’ of great importance – argues the paradoxical view
  • ‘Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison’ by Michel Foucault (1977)
  • ‘Foucault: A Critical Reader’ ed. David Couzens Hoy (1986)
  • ‘Michel Foucault’ by Clare O’Farrell (2005)
  • ‘Foucault’s “Discipline & Punish” An Exposition and Critique’ by David Garland (1979)