Foucault

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  • Foucault
    • One of the most influential sociological thinkers of the last half century
      • Clearly influenced by Max Weber
    • Focus on how the nature of crime control has shifted from using the threat of violence and the fear of being physically punished to control through surveillance
      • Through fear of being seen to be doing something wrong
        • Punishment has changed from being a violent public spectacle (e.g. hanging) to being hidden away and behind closed doors (e.g. prisons)
          • It has also changed from being swift and physical and done on the body to being more drawn out and psychological - punishment today is typically about changing the mind and soul
            • Change from 'sovereign power' which is control through the threat of force, to 'disciplinary power' which is control through the monitoring and surveillance of populations
              • 'Sovereign power' was typical of the period before the 18th century when the monarch had power over people and their bodies, so inflicting punishment directly on the body was the means of asserting control
    • Change from 'sovereign power' which is control through the threat of force, to 'disciplinary power' which is control through the monitoring and surveillance of populations
      • 'Sovereign power' was typical of the period before the 18th century when the monarch had power over people and their bodies, so inflicting punishment directly on the body was the means of asserting control
    • Opens his 1975 book 'Discipline and Punish' by describing a gruesome execution of 1757, and how by the end of the 18th century this type of extreme public punishment no longer took place
      • Instead punishment took place in prisons and were an attempt by authorities to control and reform criminals through the use of timetables
        • 'Disciplinary power' evolved in the late 19th century with Bentham's panopticon design, which consisted of a central observational tower and prison cells arranged so prisoners could be under observation at any time
        • His book is a detailed emergence of the prison in the 19th century and how power operates in the modern era
        • 'The Great Incarcerations' of the 19th century
          • thieves into prisons, lunatics into asylums, conscripts into barracks, workers into factories, children into schools
            • Ironic because when he was writing in the 1970s there was actually a process of decarceration
              • Alternative sanctions in the community, such as community corrections
      • Stan Cohen 1985 'Visions of Social Control'
        • developed Foucault's argument and argued the development of community corrections intensifies social control patterns
          • Surveillance and discipline have become more prevalent in modern times and is known as the 'dispersal of discipline'
            • Blurring of where prison ends and the community begins
              • Friends, relatives, neighbours are drawn into a web of surveillance  through curfews, tracking, tagging etc
                • Since the 1990s things have intensified further through the rapid expansion of electronic information technologies
        • Mike Davies 1990 'City of Quartz'
          • Contemporary surveillance has become...
            • Inclusionary (offered a sense of safety, security and order for some city dwellers)
            • Exclusionary (for others, teenagers are prevented from entering panoptic shopping centres, planners are developing sadistic street enviornments to displace the homeless- bumproof bus bench)

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