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'Discipline & Punish (Foucault, 1975) is not just a history of the emergence of the prison but a history of the emergence of a - Essay Example

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Michel Foucault’s Discipline & Punish Widening the Understanding of his Work by Infusing the Power-Knowledge Theory into the Discussion on the Emergence of Prison in Modern Societies – Section Date Submitted Introduction Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish provided a holistic understanding not only on the evolution of punishment that culminated in the establishment of the penal system, but also on the significant influences of such system that paved the way for the reinforcement of modern societal structures (such as the education and government sectors of society)…
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Discipline & Punish (Foucault, 1975) is not just a history of the emergence of the prison but a history of the emergence of a
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"'Discipline & Punish (Foucault, 1975) is not just a history of the emergence of the prison but a history of the emergence of a"

Download file to see previous pages Thus, Discipline and Punish could be deemed as Foucault’s critique not only on the effectiveness of prison in attaining its key objective—the disciplining of the prisoner by subjecting him to conditions that are marked by extreme surveillance and control—but also on the true reason for the emergence of various social structures today such as the government, school, and other institutions (Mc Gaha, 2000). Precisely, it is Foucault’s belief that such systems had only been created to cater the elite group (which I shall explore in more detail in the next part of the paper) that bolstered his onslaught on the basic foundations of human civilization. Specifically, by recognizing the essence of prison and other social institutions as merely ‘instruments’ used by the elite to maintain and enhance their power in society, Foucault was able to question essentially the possibility of attaining human freedom in modern-day society. In a deeper regard, I could surmise that Foucault’s attacks on social structures could be attributed to his anarchistic mindset (though not explicitly revealed in any of the texts) as he clearly disregarded the need for such systems. Therefore, human freedom must be seen as the act of ‘letting one be’ and not ‘following what and how one must be’. His precise bastardization of naturals or ideals (as will be discussed later on) could clearly provide an ideological nexus between his anarchistic mindset and his post-modern orientation. If seen in this context, Foucault’s take on the human essence (for the lack of a better term) is slightly existentialist. In this paper, I like to delve further into Foucault’s Discipline and Punish by dividing the discussion into four parts. The first part shall emphasize on the short history of the penal system, which could be traced back to 17th century. Through this part, I aim to highlight on the fact that the development of the penal system had shifted the punishment from physical to mental. The second part will be dedicated to reinforcing the concepts of power and control as the main thrust for the creation of modern social institutions. This will infuse the significant role of the elite in the formation of such institutions. The third part shall zero in on Foucault’s conceptualization of human freedom as hardly attainable given the flaws in modern day systems today. By having this part, I am to provide a reasoning that encapsulates Foucault’s socio-political ideologies Evolution of Punishment and the Rise of the Penal System Following the flow of discussion in Discipline and Punish, Foucault opted to start (in a more detailed light) with a detailed discussion on public tortures and executions that transpired during the17th and 18th centuries. Presenting explicitly the execution of the Damiens, Foucault (1976) narrated, “after these tearings with the pincers, Damiens, who cried out profusely, though without swearing, raised his head and looked at himself; the same ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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