Foucault's Discipline and Punish Essay

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Crime is inevitable in society, whether it be in traditional societies or in modern society. However, with an action, there are always has to be a consequence, however when breaking the law, the consequences are rather bad, and sometimes harsh. This is called punishment. Discipline is enforcing acceptable patterns of behaviour and teaching obedience. In an excerpt called Discipline and Punish, contemporary theorist Michael Foucault explains these two concepts. This paper will summarize the author’s main points; provide a comparison with a theorist previously lectured on in class, as well as a personal interpretation of Foucault’s arguments. As probably studied in any law or history class, punishment in medieval times consisted of…show more content…
Prison is an important place, because it takes away the power from individuals. This means that the criminal is no longer acting upon his will, but that of the officers, judge, guards, etc. “They are the foundation of society, and an element in its equilibrium.” (215) All the techniques, when created, they “attained a level at which formation of knowledge and the increase of power regularly reinforce the other.” (216) This part of the paper will provide a comparison with a theorist previously discussed in a lecture. The theorist with whom Michael Foucault’s arguments will be compared to is Emile Durkheim. Durkheim sees crime as functional. He says that if there was no crime, all our values would be dispersed--these values are laws. These laws are observed by sanctions and punishments attached to it. However, in order for these laws to exist, there must be a punishment, thus, for there to be a punishment, there has to be crime. Repressive law, according to this classical theorist was based on punishing for the evil doing of the criminal through revenge. Durkheim believes that a crime is not collective and when one goes against the core values of society, one threatens the entire order of society. Therefore, this theorist would agree with Foucault that when disciplining a criminal, he or she should be stripped of their freedom and when
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