Essay on Foucault's Discipline and Punish: The birth of the prison

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Foucault is best remembered for his historical inquiries into the origins of “disciplinary” society in a period extending from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Today, however, under the conditions of global modernity, the relevance of his contribution is often called into question. With the increasing ubiquity of markets, the break up of centralized states and the dissolution of national boundaries, the world today seems far removed from the bounded, disciplinary societies Foucault described in his most famous books. Far from disciplinary, society today is “post panoptic,” as Nancy Fraser has argued — in a move which seems to confirm Jean Baudrillard’s demand that we “forget Foucault.” In order to answer the question, how Foucault’s…show more content…
People don’t have to think about how they should sit- they had been instructed since childhood in the appropriate behaviour for men and women respectively, and these social riles, which had thus been written on their bodies, effectively determined their bodily actions. In focusing on the body Foucault traces the workings of power at a micro-level. He explicitly distinguishes his approach from studies of power that focus on the dominating role of important individuals and institutions. Foucault wants to cut off the kings head, as it were, so hat we can recognise power not as a property of the mighty (kings, presidents, generals, accountants), but rather as a set if forces which establishes positions and ways of behaving that influence people in their everyday lives. Foucault’s notion of micro-power can be distinguished from the concept of hegemony as outlined by Italian Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci argued that powerful groups don’t necessarily have to impose their values on the less powerful by the use of direct force. Often, less powerful groups come to accept that the differences in levels of power and economic wealth within a society are natural and just, and so will consent to the rule of their betters. When working- class people vote for conservative parties (as happened in the United Kingdom at the time of
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