Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault

Barely two hundred and fifty years ago a man condemned of attempting to assassinate the King of France was drawn and quartered in a grisly spectacle that suggested an unmediated duel between the violence of the criminal and the violence of the state. This groundbreaking book by the most influential French philosopher since Sartre compels us to re-evaluate our assumptions about all the ensuing reforms in the penal institutions of the West.

For as the author examines innovations that range from the abolition of torture to the institution of forced labour and the appearance of the modern penitentiary, Michel Foucault (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Foucault) suggests that punishment has shifted its locus from the prisoner’s body to his soul – and that our very concern with rehabilitation encourages and refines criminal activity. Lucidly reasoned and deftly marshalling a vast body of research, Discipline and Punish (1975) is a genuinely revolutionary book, whose implications extend beyond the prison to the minute power relations of our society.

Listen to the excellent episode of the BBC Radio 4 series ‘Thinking Allowed’ on Michel Foucault (28 minutes). Available at the link  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b038hg73  Laurie Taylor presents this special programme on the life and work of the iconoclastic French  theorist. He’s joined by Professor Stephen Shapiro, Professor Vikki Bell and Professor Lois McNay.

352 pages in Penguin paperback edition

ISBN 978-0140137224

Michel Foucault

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