- Paperback: 333 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Books (April 25, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679752552
- ISBN-13: 978-0679752554
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 122 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison Paperback – April 25, 1995
|New from||Used from|
$0.76 extra savings coupon applied at checkout.
Sorry. You are not eligible for this coupon.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French
About the Author
Michel Foucault was born in Poitiers, France, in 1926. He lecturerd in universities throughout the world; served as director at the Institut Francais in Hamburg, Germany and at the Institut de Philosophi at the Faculte des Lettres in the University of Clermont-Ferrand, France; and wrote frequently for French newspapers and reviews. At the time of his death in 1984, he held a chair at France's most prestigious institutions, the College de France.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
What used to generate latent feelings of power and resoluteness in the mass has undergone a definite process of banalization. In other words, the violent forces meeting in an ultimate showdown of wills has been removed in favor of a shameful and boring "isolationism" for convicts. We follow the different streams of thought and custom, traversing the classical age until we find that "power" ultimately culminated into a new principle of societal order: surveillance. Or as utilitarian reformer Bentham terms it, the "panopticon" (That which sees all). With no words wasted, the style can be rough going, especially as terminology is introduced in the early chapters. However, the last 70 or so pages roar with ferocity through modern ideas and rationalizations of discipline and imprisonment.
It is easy to understand how Foucault was hated by conservative rationalists and system apologists. The approach taken is essentially anarchistic, in the sense that Foucault offers no alternative system and that he does not criticize certain trajectories in favor of others. He is fundamentally opposed to the current civilization (and this extends even beyond his beginnings in the pre-classical systems) Despite this, strong willed readers will appreciate the complete absence of dogma or moralizing rhetoric. In this way, the work is beyond criticism, except perhaps that this kind of knowledge tends to paralyze readers from action.
Ultimately, a close read will provide an unimaginable amount of value. We are shown the themes of modernity as they existed in their nascent stages, without wading through the endless legal and political details. Foucault is explicit that there are of course many other institutions that were ultimately governed by the same power/knowledge including hospitals and schools. I would encourage any active citizen to read this book as they make their way through their journey.
p.s. if you talk about the concepts with others not reading the book with you or who have never read the book. They might find these topics way far out from the norm. They are neither left/right nor radical. Its comes together. The book is also a great history book.
Foucault's book here is one long delayed-thesis essay. In it he traces history as philosophy coming to the thesis that all social interactions have become part of the prison-like system that we live in, in the western world. School, work, even the hospital place us as subjects of potential surveillance that exist to normalize us. What is the worst aspect of the `carceral' is that we cannot opt out of the system, as it is all-encompassing.
Aside from the main thrust of the argument Foucault makes, there are a lot of interesting bits to learn about theories of punishment through time. The information leans too heavily on post-enlightenment, European theories and history, but that is acceptable. Nothing ever happened in Europe or Asia until the colonial benefactors decided to divest themselves of the burden. A minor critique is that the reading is a little dry. Neither Foucault nor his translator were able to spice things up enough. Maybe elsewhere he carried some polemic and show some passion. Interestingly enough, the authorial presence only comes in during the last sentence.
Overall I would recommend the book to people who are interested in theory. However, I am certain that unless you need the full accounting of the work, there are other venues to get a quick gloss on the main points of the argument. These might be helpful for the student, but the philosopher needs to read the book.