Foucault 'Discipline and Punish' Essay

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Michel Foucault, author of the book 'Discipline and Punishment: The Birth of Prison' lived from 1926 to 1984 and was a French philosopher, historian, and sociologist.

This novel shows how the prison looked and changed, what torture was used, what punishments were used against prisoners, and what a typical day looked like at this place.

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Foucault undertook a critical reflection on the philosophical tradition associated with rationalism and empiricism. The book begins with a description of the brutal public execution of Robert-François Damiens in 1757. Over the past 80 years, the prisoners' situation changed utterly; they had time to pray, eat, study, and had to work. You can ask yourself, how did it happen that there was such a significant change? Once the execution was a theatrical spectacle in which other people could look at the whole process, see the one who committed the crime, and then be executed in front of them. It was to be a punishment not only for the body but also for the spirit. Its purpose was also to scare others from committing crimes and rebelling against laws that the authorities determined

Over time, there was a change in mentality associated with the social pursuit of justice and a greater awareness of the people who turned into firm masses rebelling against these processes. Two contrasting ways of punishment are described. The first is a public torture demonstration, and the second is disciplinary punishment, which gives psychologists and prison staff power over criminals to observe and oversee their entire process. The sentence was supposed to change the behavior of the convict, and he was to become a better person and understand what he did wrong. Over time, the dark dungeon of the prison was replaced by a bright, modern place, but the author warns that such visibility can be an ambush, a trap. Through this, society enforces the power and knowledge of its control systems, which leads to placing these factors on an increasingly individualized level. This can be seen daily by the ability of institutions to follow our lives. The 'prison continuum' is still in our society, from secured places like prisons to areas of residence, employees, and everyday life at work, and home.

All are disciplined and enslaved by the deliberate or careless supervision of one person by another. This is a rather depressing vision of a state permeated with a network of power relations. There are two types of it: power over bodies through supervision techniques and criminal institutions, and power that is exercised over human life, over the population.

Barracks, dormitories, and factories are new techniques. This is to minimize unwanted phenomena. Each unit is subjected to a hierarchical system. Time, timetable, and punctuality are other elements organized by discipline. This applies to the lives of all of us - at school, at work, at the university. It is a capillary system that means subjecting the whole of society to disciplinary techniques. We are subordinated every day, by most factors such as appropriate clothing, appropriate behavior, and not being late.

The human 'I' is the result of subjugation and constructed to control society better. The human body becomes an object through disciplinary techniques used as a tool, as an employee, prisoner, or soldier, depending on the tasks assigned, it must be controlled. If we are convinced that someone is watching us, then we succumb to self-subjugation. An example of this is the prison model described in the book, which looks like a round building with prisoners' cells with a courtyard in the middle. There was a guard tower from where they had an ideal view of what the prisoners were doing. Instead of controlling people, it is much easier when society observes itself because everyone has an interest in ensuring that nobody protrudes beyond the norm. At the soul level, our conscience would be such a controlling factor.

In 'Discipline and Punish,' the author shows how the system has changed, and how it affects our daily lives, how power and society currently control and subjugate us. A controlled force is done using a variety of techniques and systems. Although each of us is entirely different, we must adapt to society and be subject to different rules and rules. But is this good for all of us?

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Foucault ‘Discipline and Punish’ Essay. (2024, February 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/foucault-discipline-and-punish-essay/
“Foucault ‘Discipline and Punish’ Essay.” Edubirdie, 28 Feb. 2024, edubirdie.com/examples/foucault-discipline-and-punish-essay/
Foucault ‘Discipline and Punish’ Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/foucault-discipline-and-punish-essay/> [Accessed 22 Jul. 2024].
Foucault ‘Discipline and Punish’ Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2024 Feb 28 [cited 2024 Jul 22]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/foucault-discipline-and-punish-essay/
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