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Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison is a book by the French philosopher Michel Foucault argues that prison did not become the principal form of punishment just because of the humanitarian concerns of reformists. He argues that the public spectacle of torture and execution was a theatrical forum, the. In Discipline and Punish Foucault argued that the human sciences and the history of . Foucault’s governing metaphor of the scaffold as spectacle or theater —. Foucault’s writings on power and control in social institutions have made him one of the modern era’s most influential thinkers. Here he argues that punishment.

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Every citizen lives with the knowledge that such methods of violent coercion can be applied to him or her if a certain threshold of disobedience is breached.

#60 Michel Foucault – The Spectacle of the Scaffold | Man Versus Ideas

Towards the end, he sums up the main critiques that have been made. Bits of this are pretty interesting, for example a part about how any evidence against a person, even if circumstantial, used to be sufficient for that person to be considered scafflld least a little guilty – not just more likely to eventually be found guilty, but actually guilty already. Danielle rated it really liked it Apr 11, No trivia or quizzes yet.

He traces the cultural shifts that led to the predominance of prison via the body and power. Feb 21, Samelu Binumcole rated it really liked it.

It allowed for constant observation characterized by an “unequal gaze “; the constant possibility of observation. There is more to ripping out chunks of flesh with red-hot pincers than simple cruelty.


He looks at the development of highly refined forms of discipline, of discipline concerned with the smallest and most precise aspects of a person’s body. These two phenomena are part of the same set of power relations.

Powerpart three, was recently published by Allen Thee. City of Boroondara Library Service. Also, a part about how the accused was never allowed to know the nature of his supposed crime or the evidence against him, which reminded me of Kafka. Out of this movement towards generalized punishment, a thousand “mini-theatres” of punishment would have been created wherein the convicts’ bodies would have been put on display in a more ubiquitous, controlled, and effective spectacle.

The Spectacle of the Scaffold – Foucault, Corporal Punishment, and the Digital Age

He explains that power and knowledge imply one another, as opposed to the common belief that knowledge exists independently of power relations knowledge is always contextualized in a framework which makes it intelligible, so the humanizing discourse of psychiatry is an expression of the tactics of oppression. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. These examples provide a picture of just how profound the o in western penal systems were after foucau,t than a century.

Ole rated it liked it Jul 23, Cover of the French edition. The call for body cams on all police officers, a reform demanded foucauult many activists, is an extension of this trend. Foucault argues that this is why the generalized, “gentle” punishment of public work gangs gave way to the prison.

The Spectacle of the Scaffold – Michel Foucault – Google Books

The only weakness of the book was an over analysis of what is the soul which to spectacls seemed repetitive and meandering — though I am sure it probably read better in the original French: This site uses cookies. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: There was a more graded change, though it ran its course rapidly.


Foucault also rejected the poststructuralist and postmodernist labels later attributed to him, preferring to classify his thought as a critical history of modernity rooted in Immanuel Kant.

Reformists felt the power to punish and judge should become more evenly distributed, the state’s power must be a form of public power. Foucajlt he argues that punishment has gone from being mere spectacle to becoming an instrument of systematic domination over individuals in society – not just of our bodies, but While the threat of this violence is very real, the understanding of it must remain abstract.

Conor Mcdonald rated it liked it Sep 17, Daniel Gray rated it it was amazing Oct 13, It feels like Foucault set out to make the story of crime a tale of state oppression, and picked his facts in a hand-wavey, political philosopher sort of sxaffold way. Set up My libraries How do I set up “My libraries”?

The Spectacle of the Scaffold

He begins by examining public torture and execution. Where there are prison riots, he argues, they are as much against the educationalists and psychiatrists as they are against the warders — and given the way he saffold justice operating, he argues that they are quite right to do so.

Want to Read saving…. Rather than illustrating the triumph of the sovereign, it serves to illustrate the undiluted oppression existing in the society the citizens inhabit.