Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison

Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison Glossary


Related to incarceration, or jails and prisons.

Crime of Blood

Violent crimes against bodies, especially murder.

Crime of Fraud

Crime against property, especially theft.


In contrast to the “offender” who is identified by a specific offense, the delinquent is a type of person. A delinquent hasn’t just committed a bad crime, but has a bad personality.


Training and controlling the body to behave in a certain way.


The process of becoming more general, or applying to everyone instead of just someone. Foucault talks about the generalization of discipline, so it’s not just prisoners, but everyone, who is disciplined.


Related to ideas, or what one can imagine in their minds. Foucault talks about the ideality of punishment, or the representation people make to themselves in their minds about how terrible punishment would be.

Lateral Effects

The “side effects” of something, for instance the ways in which punishment doesn’t just affect the one receiving punishment, but also warns bystanders not to commit a crime themselves.

Negative Function

When the effect of something is primarily destructive, such as the negative function of punishment in repressing, or destroying, bad behaviors. Here, negative does not mean “bad,” but getting rid of something (to negate something).


In contrast to a delinquent, someone who is identified through their offense, or bad action, rather than through their personality, or being a bad person.


A condition of universal surveillance, where everyone is seen or feels like they could be watched at any moment.


Something that is considered diseased or abnormal, such as the delinquent, who is a person who breaks social norms.


Related to punishment as prescribed by the law.

Positive Function

When the effect of something is primarily productive, such as the positive function of punishment in producing good citizens.


Assassination of the king.

Sovereign Power

A kind of power that is centralized in and monopolized by the sovereign, or king, of a society. The king is in charge of everything.


A public display meant to attract lots of attention. Foucault talks about torture as a spectacle.


Observation of someone or something. Foucault argues that people today feel they are under constant surveillance, or like they could be watched at any moment.


A way of doing something. Foucault talks about punitive techniques, or different ways of administering punishment.