SparkNotes: Discipline and Punish: The Body of the CondemnedLanguage in the Legal Process pp Cite as. This chapter investigates the pedagogical role played by the discourse of English legal decisions on rape trials. Foucault argues that until the late eighteenth century, punishment was frequently the public spectacle of torture: prisoners would be flogged, put on the pillory and even executed in open squares. From then on, however, the entire economy of punishment began to change: torture disappeared as a public spectacle, punishment became the most hidden part of the penal process, and the body ceased to be the only target of penal repression. Unable to display preview.
Foucault: Crime, Police, & Power - Philosophy Tube
Discipline and Punish Quotes
Foucault begins with a description of measures to be taken against the plague in the seventeenth century: partitioning of space and closing off houses, constant inspection and registration. Processes of quarantine and purification operate. The plague is met by order. Lepers were also separated from society, but the aim behind this was to create a pure community. The plague measures aim at a disciplined community. The plague stands as an image against which the idea of discipline was created. The existence of a whole set of techniques and institutions for measuring and supervising abnormal beings brings into play the disciplinary mechanisms created by the fear of the plague.
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Foucault begins by comparing a public execution from to an account of prison rules from The shifts between the two reveal how new codes of law and order developed. One important feature is the disappearance of torture; the body of the criminal disappeared from view. Punishment as spectacle disappeared; the exhibition of prisoners, the pillory and the public execution ended. Now, the certainty of punishment, and not its horror, deters one from committing a crime.
It is an analysis of the social and theoretical mechanisms behind the changes that occurred in Western penal systems during the modern age based on historical documents from France. Foucault argues that prison did not become the principal form of punishment just because of the humanitarian concerns of reformists. He traces the cultural shifts that led to the predominance of prison via the body and power. Prison used by the "disciplines" — new technological powers that can also be found, according to Foucault, in places such as schools, hospitals, and military barracks. In a later work, Security, Territory, Population , Foucault admitted that he was somewhat overzealous in his argument that disciplinary power conditions society; he amended and developed his earlier ideas. The main ideas of Discipline and Punish can be grouped according to its four parts: torture, punishment, discipline, and prison. These examples provide a picture of just how profound the changes in western penal systems were after less than a century.