Comparing Foucault's Discipline And Punish

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Foucault’s motive in Discipline and Punish is to look at the past in order to explain the present condition. Foucault is trying to write History of the present and how it is made possible through contingent and discontinuous historical changes, unlike Hegelian progress of history. The body of the condemned opens with an account of the public torture and execution of the regicide Damien who tried to kill Louis XV in France in 1757. Foucault contrasts with Leon Faucher’s (a liberal French politician for young prisoners of Paris 1838) timetable, the genealogy of punishment from public spectacle to the elimination of such torture in punishment. By the end of 18th century and the beginning of 19th century, two process of punishment began to disappear:…show more content…
For Foucault, the body has real existence, but the modern soul is a recent invention through a variety of institutions, like schools, hospitals, prisons. The punishment-body relation no longer touches the body. It deprives the individual of a liberty that is regarded both as a right and property. In other words, punishment has become an economy of suspended rights. The criminal is now made to feel shame rather than pain. Punitive practices has become more reserved in nature, instead of the executioner we now have an array of technicians (warders, Doctors, chaplains, psychiatrists, educationalists) to do the job of punishing the soul. Modern society aims to correct the criminals and make them better through discipline. Foucault very interestingly argues how these various kinds of knowledge, institutions, and technicians create a subject (the…show more content…
Modernity now looks at the soul of the prisoner, the aim of punishment now is to study the crime and transform the criminal’s behaviour so that the criminal gets a chance to live a normal life in society again. Modernity is no longer only bothered with questions like who committed the crime, but more importantly what were the factors behind the crime? Was he of sound mind, social background? The modern penal system needs a whole set of assessing, diagnostic, prognostic, normative judgements (p-19) concerning the criminal to be done by experts (magistrates, psychiatric experts, prison officials…) to determine what would be the normal conditions for the crime. The Judge in the modern system certainly does more than judge. The legal power to punish is now distributed among a whole series of subsidiary authorities (magistrate, lawyers, psychiatrist, etc.) Foucault questions about how can we write a history of the modern soul on trial? Durkheim’s method of explaining the history of crime by the increase of individualism can be one way. For Foucault though, it is the opposite, that is, new forms of punishment created individualism. He then gives the following four general rules: 1. The study of punishment is not only something that represses but also something as having complex social functioning that produces things through
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