Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison

Introduction

Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (French: Surveiller et punir : Naissance de la prison) is a 1975 book by the French philosopher Michel Foucault. It is an analysis of the social and theoretical mechanisms behind the changes that occurred in Western penal systems during the modern age based on historical documents from France. Foucault argues that prison did not become the principal form of punishment just because of the humanitarian concerns of reformists. He traces the cultural shifts that led to the predominance of prison via the body and power. Prison used by the "disciplines" – new technological powers that can also be found, according to Foucault, in places such as schools, hospitals, and military barracks.[1]

In a later work, Security, Territory, Population, Foucault admitted that he was somewhat overzealous in his argument that disciplinary power conditions society; he amended and developed his earlier ideas.[2]


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