Summary[ edit ] The main ideas of Discipline and Punish can be grouped according to its four parts: These examples provide a picture of just how profound the changes in western penal systems were after less than a century. Foucault wants the reader to consider what led to these changes and how Western attitudes shifted so radically. Foucault wants to tie scientific knowledge and technological development to the development of the prison to prove this point.
Support Aeon Donate now Imagine you are asked to compose an ultra-short history of philosophy. You could do worse than to search for the single word that best captures the ideas of every important philosopher.
Foucault remains one of the most cited 20th-century thinkers and is, according to some lists, the single most cited figure across the humanities and social sciences. His two most referenced works, Discipline and Punish: Interestingly enough, however, Foucault was not always known for his signature word.
He first gained his massive influence in with the publication of The Order of Things. The original French title gives a better sense of the intellectual milieu in which it was written: This was not just a French fashion.
In Richard Rorty, surely the most infamous American philosopher of his generation, summed up the new spirit in the title of his anthology of essays, The Linguistic Turn. Anglo-American philosophy followed the same line, and so too did most French philosophers except they tended toward the linguistic nature of irrationality instead.
For his part, however, Foucault moved on, somewhat singularly among his generation. Rather than staying in the world of words, in the s he shifted his philosophical attention to power, an idea that promises to help explain how words, or anything else for that matter, come to give things the order that they have.
Power, in Foucault, is not another philosophical godhead. Foucault did not attempt to construct a philosophical fortress around his signature concept. He had witnessed first-hand how the arguments of the linguistic-turn philosophers grew brittle once they were deployed to analyse more and more by way of words.
So Foucault himself expressly refused to develop an overarching theory of power. Interviewers would sometimes press him to give them a unified theory, but he always demurred. Such a theory, he said, was simply not the goal of his work. Yet he did Foucault disciplinary power essay himself offer a philosophy of power.
How could this be possible?
His is a philosophical approach to power characterised by innovative, painstaking, sometimes frustrating, and often dazzling attempts to politicise power itself. He wanted to free philosophy to track the movements of power, the heat and the fury of it working to define the order of things.
Before Foucault, political philosophers had presumed that power had an essence: Thomas Hobbesthe English philosopher and original theorist of state power, saw the essence of power as state sovereignty.
Hobbes thought that at its best and purest power would be exercised from the singular position of sovereignty.
Foucault never denied the reality of state power in the Hobbesian sense. But his political philosophy emanates from his skepticism about the assumption and it was a mere assumption until Foucault called it into question that the only real power is sovereign power.
Foucault accepted that there were real forces of violence in the world, and not only state violence. There is also corporate violence due to enormous condensations of capital, gender violence in the form of patriarchy, and the violences both overt and subtle of white supremacy in such forms as chattel slavery, real-estate redlining, and now mass incarceration.
Power is all the more cunning because its basic forms can change in response to our efforts to free ourselves from its grip In seeing through the imaginary singularity of power, Foucault was able to also envision it set against itself. He was able to hypothesise, and therefore to study, the possibility that power does not always assume just one form and that, in virtue of this, a given form of power can coexist alongside, or even come into conflict with, other forms of power.
Such coexistences and conflicts, of course, are not mere speculative conundrums, but are the sort of stuff that one would need to empirically analyse in order to understand.
What these studies reveal is that power, which easily frightens us, turns out to be all the more cunning because its basic forms of operation can change in response to our ongoing efforts to free ourselves from its grip.
To take just one example, Foucault wrote about the way in which a classically sovereign space such as the judicial court came to accept into its proceedings the testimony of medical and psychiatric experts whose authority and power were exercised without recourse to sovereign violence.
Foucault showed how the sovereign power of Leviathan think crowns, congresses and capital has over the past years come to confront two new forms of power: More than any other book, it is Discipline and Punish in which Foucault constructs his signature, meticulous style of enquiry into the actual mechanisms of power.
While Foucault worked on this book, he was deeply engaged in its material, leading research seminars and giving huge public lectures that are now being published under such titles as The Punitive Society and Psychiatric Power. When he eventually organised his archival materials into a book, the result was the consolidated and efficient argumentation of Discipline and Punish.
It is power in the form of correct training. Discipline does not strike down the subject at whom it is directed, in the way that sovereignty does. Discipline works more subtly, with an exquisite care even, in order to produce obedient people.
The exemplary manifestation of disciplinary power is the prison. For Foucault, the important thing about this institution, the most ubiquitous site of punishment in the modern world but practically non-existent as a form of punishment before the 18th centuryis not the way in which it locks up the criminal by force.
This is the sovereign element that persists in modern prisons, and is fundamentally no different from the most archaic forms of sovereign power that exert violent force over the criminal, the exile, the slave and the captive.A summary of Panopticism in Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish.
Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Discipline and Punish and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. Foucault showed how the sovereign power of Leviathan (think crowns, congresses and capital) has over the past years come to confront two new forms of power: disciplinary power (which he also called anatomo-politics because of its detailed attention to training the human body) and bio-politics.
Essay about Analysis of Discipline and Punish Words | 7 Pages. Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, although verbose, contains important dialogue concerning the concept of power in the penal systems of late 18th century France with public execution, and the gradual transformation of power in subsequent disciplinary systems up to modern times.
Foucault Power Essay The Subject and Power This paper explains the differences between sovereign power and disciplinary power according to Foucault thereafter clarify the characteristics of disciplinary power and finally investigates why is it more efficient form of power.
Foucault explains, in Discipline and Punish that ‘this book is intended as a correlative history of the modern soul and of a new power to judge’ (Foucault, ) and opens with accounts of public execution and torture revealing how law and order is created because of the shift from these to prison rules and discipl.
A summary of Panopticism in Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Discipline and Punish and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans.