In this brilliant work, the most influential philosopher since Sartre suggests that such vaunted reforms as the abolition of torture and the emergence of the modern penitentiary have merely shifted the focus of punishment from the prisoner's body to his soul.
From the excessive and bloody justice of the ancien régime to a disciplinary society in which ongoing examinations take place every time and the judges-controllers are a lot more than we think.
Foucault gives to the prison also a political contingence but tells us also that soon or later it will not be necessary anymore, for the widening of punish/reward connections with the consequent fainting of punishments' intensity will make detrimental to mantain structures for the total submission and recostruction of individuals such as jails.
The only problem of this intelligent and challenging book is that Foucault seems shy to share his opinion on the issue; nearly as if he's afraid of 'abuse' of his power and influence over the reader.
"The body of the condemned" handler om ???
"The spectacle of the scaffold" handler om ???
Foucault's syn på fængsling og henrettelse.
We may be squeamish today, but we cannot state that torture has disappeared from the world. It has just disappeared from the public eye.
From there, he moves on to the concept of punishment, and the various theories that prevailed. And, of course, the practices. For me, the most interesting chapters were those that pertained to discipline, the panopticon, and delinquency.
I don't think that 'the birth of the prison' is a good subtitle. This book is much deeper than that.
It revolves around the concept of power (initially with the king), punishment, society's attitudes towards this, discipline and society; and finally, the Panopticon. This concept was centuries ahead of its time.
In many ways, society is living in a Panopticon today.