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M. Foucault ‘Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison’ Part 4 - Prison.

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Presentation on theme: "M. Foucault ‘Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison’ Part 4 - Prison."— Presentation transcript:

1 M. Foucault ‘Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison’ Part 4 - Prison

2 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:  “The shift from a criminality of blood to a criminality of fraud”  Foucault’s link between prison and other institutions in society

3 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 ONE – TORTURE *PART TWO – PUNISHMENT *PART THREE – DISCIPLINE *PART FOUR – PRISON (which I will focus on)

4 ‘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”

5 ‘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: ISOLATION WORK THE DECLARATION OF CARCEAL INDEPENDENCE

6 ‘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’.

7 ‘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  The carceral system “succeeds in making the power to punish natural and legitimate”.

8 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.

9 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

10 Bibliogrpahy  ‘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)


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