• Save
The Disciplinary and Punitive State - Political Sociology Week 4
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×
 

The Disciplinary and Punitive State - Political Sociology Week 4

on

  • 909 views

Michel Foucault has been widely credited with explaining how the role of the state in modernity changed from having absolute power over its people to having disciplinary power over them. By examining ...

Michel Foucault has been widely credited with explaining how the role of the state in modernity changed from having absolute power over its people to having disciplinary power over them. By examining the growth of modern prisons, Foucault demonstrated how we come to police ourselves due to the belief that we are constantly watched over by an ever-vigilant state with the power to punish. The notion of panopticism is used to describe this idea and is taken from English philosopher Jeremy Bentham’s ‘panoptical prison’, a prison designed to allow for the observation of the inmates of an institution without them being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. The widespread use of CCTV is an example of the modern day use of panoptical powers. The argument that such tools ensure our security masks the extent to which state powers have been progressively put in place to deny freedom. In particular, since September 11 2001, western states have adopted a range of measures such as the curbing of the right to protest, detention without trial, and stop and search laws. This added to the fact that, in the UK, more people are imprisoned than ever before, that deaths in police custody are on the increase and that anti-social behaviour orders, etc. criminalise large numbers of young people, the punitive and disciplinary role of the state appear to stand in sharp contrast to western ideals of liberty and human rights.

Statistics

Views

Total Views
909
Views on SlideShare
908
Embed Views
1

Actions

Likes
1
Downloads
0
Comments
0

1 Embed 1

http://www.alanalentin.net 1

Accessibility

Categories

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Apple Keynote

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment
  • \n
  • \n
  • According to John O’Neill, it is interesting to compare and contrast the works of the classical sociologist Max Weber and the French ethicist Michel Foucault on the question of how both looked at modern discipline.\n\nAs the quote alludes, although very different to each other, both Weber and Foucault are interested in the fundamental question of how people in modern societies come to integrate the notion of rational discipline within themselves thus changing, not just the organisation of society, but the course of human behaviour itself.\n\nWeber\nAs we have seen, Weber’s crucial contribution to the discussion of power is summed up by his definition of the state as having the ‘control over the legitimate means of violence’. Weber thus saw the state as being the most important locus of power. Nevertheless, Weber did not think that the state controls its citizens through constantly subjecting them to violence. Rather, it is the potential for violence that generates the state’s control. The state’s actual power is wielded through the bureaucratisation of the functions of government.\n\nIn addition to the control over the means of violence, Weber focuses on the legal system, bureaucracy and jurisdiction over a territory as being the main characteristics of the modern state. \n\nIt is through the growth of the legal system and state bureaucracy as apparatuses of state power that the state is able to control individuals living within it.\n\nO’Neill describes Weber’s approach to bureaucracy as a strategy rather than an institution. It is the means through which the relationship between the state and the economy and citizens is reproduced. By making rules about how individuals can behave, the state can regulate them for the better functioning of the economy which it needs in turn in order to thrive and compete.\n\n\n
  • Industrial discipline was one area of control which exemplifies the way in which the modern state intervened in controlling individuals’ behaviour for the benefit of the economy.\n\nDuring the mid-to-late eighteenth century, with the growth and spread of the industrial revolution in Europe, the problem for the bourgeoisie was the lack of worker discipline. \n\nFactories were therefore sites of cruelty: workers, who were thought of as lazy and immoral, worked in harsh conditions and were often beaten by factory masters.\n\nWorkers were also disciplined through the imposition of fines, the use of bells, preachings and schoolings and the suppression of leisure activities. \n\nAs more and more machinery was invented, more and more workers came into the factory system, losing the autonomy they had when they could still work as spinners in their own homes.\n\nWorkers in England who had been used to a certain degree of autonomy over their own labour struggled against factory owners - for example against child labour (which was common) and the ten hour day. This was the beginning of trade unions and other worker organisations.\n\nThe struggle between workers and bosses continued to be a thorn in the side of the capitalist class. The fact that, despite the imposition of factory discipline, workers continued to pose a threat to the smooth running of production led capitalists to rationalise their activity in other ways. \n\nThis is where systems of bookkeeping were generated to increase control over productivity and profitability, factoring in a certain degree of worker non-compliance (strikes, sick leave, unemployment, etc.). \n\nThe so-called Taylorist system which was based on a view of workers as lazy, working only under the threat of discipline and strict supervision, gradually began to accommodate trade union and worker struggles. \n\nThe relationship between workers and bosses improves over time due to concessions made by the latter in addition to rules drawn up by the state to mediate between labour and capital (e.g. about working conditions, minimum wage, pensions, etc.). \n\nBut the owners of capital know that workers can always return to protest if negotiations fail (e.g. current strikes over pensions in the UK). It is therefore in the interests of both the state and capital to ensure that repressive measures against workers are used as little as possible - because this ultimately reduces productivity.\n\nA happy medium is generally achieved because, over time, worker discipline becomes something that is practiced by workers themselves rather than something that has to be constantly reinforced by factory bosses. \n\n\n\n
  • O’Neill explains that the origins of self-discipline can be found in the increasing interrelationship between the prison and the factory.\n\nWith the rise of capitalism and the increased need for labour, there was a need to discipline free labour (workers). The overall aim was to instill a respect for private property in the property-less, despite the fact that they themselves had nothing to sell but their labour and their loyalty. Institutions such as “the prison, the factory and the school, like the army, are places where the system can project its conception of the disciplinary society in the reformed criminal, the good workers, student, loyal soldier and committed citizen.”\n\nThese sites, controlled by the state (in relationship with capital) were the places where citizens could be taught discipline as a means, not only of serving their country and contributing to the economy, but in order to better themselves and allow them to fit in with the order of things. \n\nSchool is the first and arguably the most important site of societal discipline because it takes children from a young age and instills in them the values of majority society. It is a force for the embedding of convention and order as much as education. \n\nDuring the 18th century, the spread of the disciplinary society was seen by those responsible for it, not as repressive but as progressive. Indeed, all of these developments are a double-edged sword. Mandatory schooling, for example, extends education to the greatest number of people in society, allowing previously uneducated classes to be schooled. However, it is also the site in which bourgeois values and those of the majority of society are instilled, often at the expense of non-bourgeois/non-majority ways of life and practices (e.g. indigenous children taken away from their families by force in Australia for ‘their own good’ or children of poor, single mothers sent to Australia from the UK until the 1960s).\n\nThe law too is two-sided. Fear of the force of the law among ordinary people is tempered by the teaching of respect for the law. Workers who fought for the extension of the law managed to ensure the protection of their rights - the law was no longer only to protect those who had property but could be used to protect the working class’s rights. \n\nRespect for and belief in the justice system is one of the ways through which the state achieves disciplinary control. The idea that the law is on the right side and that we are all innocent until proven guilty, in addition to being truly progressive, is also a means of ensuring that individuals fear the consequences of the law and fail to see when the law may not always be on the side of justice.\n\nO’Neill is inspired by Weber’s focus on bureaucratisation as well as Foucault’s discussion of discipline and the relationship to punishment in modern societies.\n\nLet’s turn now to Foucault in order to gain a more in-depth view of his approach to discipline which has been one of the most influential over political sociology and social theory.\n
  • \n
  • 1. In Discipline and Punish (1975), Michel Foucault describes how the modern prison has provided a template for the disciplining of society.\n\nFoucault describes modern prisons as institutions for the more ‘gentle’ treatment of prisoners that replaces the medieval practices of torture and killing of criminals. \n\nNew prisons use a more efficient means of punishment that is extended to factories, hospitals, schools, and so on. As we have seen, the role of the disciplinary society is to inculcate in the individual an understanding of his/her wrongdoing and a fear of the consequences of that wrongdoing with the aim being to ensure future compliance. \n\nWhen prisoners themselves cannot be reformed, the function of prison is to set an example to the law-abiding of the consequences of ‘stepping out of line’.\n\n2. Foucault describes modern disciplinary society as functioning along three axes.\n\na) Hierarchical observation -\n\nFoucault uses Jeremy Bentham’s blueprint for a prison - the Panopticon - as means of explaining how hierarchical observation functions.\n\nBentham’s Panopticon was designed so that prisoners could not see each other but that all could be observed by a monitor. However, one overseer cannot view all of the prisoners at once so there is a system of relays by which a hierarchy of guards passes information back from lower to higher levels.\n\nWhat keeps prisoners in check is not the fact that they are constantly observed (because they may not be) but the threat of being observed. Inmates must therefore monitor their own behaviour; they must act as if they are constantly under observation.\n\nFor example, Albert Memmi in his study of colonialism, ‘The Coloniser and the Colonised’, described watchtowers in North Africa which did not have guards in them. However, the locals were controlled by the mere presence of the watchtower.\n\nA good contemporary example is CCTV. There is now one CCTV camera for every 14 people in the UK. CCTV acts as a preventative measure - we temper our behaviour for fear of being observed although most CCTV footage never gets watched. These panoptical powers work because they are both means of controlling and of protecting us. \n\nb) Normalizing judgment -\n\nJudging through the setting of norms and standards becomes fundamental in the modern age when the objective of prison is not just punishment but also reform.\n\nReform means internalising society’s standards and norms. No longer are criminals judged according to whether the law says they have acted ‘rightly’ or ‘wrongly’; now they are also judged to be normal or abnormal. Under this view, criminals are pathologised - seen as having a debility that makes them unable to act in accordance with the norms of society. The job of prison is to get them to accept that their behaviour has deviated from the norm and to accept to follow society’s standards from now on.\n\nLike observation, the idea of normalisation is pervasive in our societies. Standards are applied throughout our lives - for example, through the national educational curriculum which sets standards which children have to fulfil from a young age.\n\nToday, some policy makers recommend flagging up children as having potential future from as young as when they are toddlers based on their behaviour and on their family history of crime and deviance. The idea is that early state intervention into these children’s lives will prevent them from posing a future problem for society.\n\nHowever, as Foucault shows in his later studies of sexuality, the application of norms led to the criminalisation and pathologisation of behaviours that are not harmful to others. This often led to individuals being branded ‘perverts’; in the 20th century, many gay people were hospitalised and forced to undergo electric shock therapy to ‘cure’ them of their homosexuality. The institutionalisation of ‘sodomy laws’ in countries such as India (recently repealed) was based on the imposition of modern European norms of sexuality upon areas of the world which traditionally did not see homosexuality as a perversion, but accepted it as part of a spectrum of human sexuality. \n\nc) Examination -\n\nThe examination combines hierarchical observation with normalising judgment. \n\nFoucault places a lot of emphasis on what he calls power/knowledge - or the fact that the powerful establish what is the ‘correct’ knowledge. The exam is a fundamental part of power/knowledge because it establishes the truth while deploying force. It forces people to undergo an examination while controlling their behaviour. A student who studies for an exam is forced to do so (by the school, university, etc.); at the same time, the exam is a means of forming her knowledge because it will be marked according to a set standard. \n\nFrom a societal point if view, exams (both educational and medical, etc. examinations) are important because knowledge gathered about an individual’s performance, health, etc. can be gathered and stored by the state. Having knowledge about an individual permits the state to control him/her better. \n\nAdditionally, the records kept allow for statistics to be kept about the population at large. For example, the DNA database in the UK keeps the DNA records of a disproportionate number of black and minority ethnic people. This allows the police to make assumptions about rates of crime among non-white people. However, as critics have pointed out, due to the institutionalisation of racism, more black people tend to be stopped, searched and arrested than whites leading to more DNA evidence on them being kept. This does not necessarily mean that there is a higher propensity to crime among blacks than whites. In fact, in the UK, non-white people are more likely to be victims of crime (IRR).\n\nAs always with Foucauldian ideas, the systems he describes can be viewed as a double-edged sword. data about individuals in modern societies are also kept in order to purportedly assist them. Therefore, ethnic monitoring is officially a means of ensuring that people marginalised due to their ethnicity do not face discrimination. However, it may also be a way of collecting national data about the numbers of ethnic minorities in order to better control the population. From Foucault’s perspective, we cannot separate the goals of power from the goals of knowledge - in knowing we control and in controlling we know.\n\n\n\n\n
  • 1. In Discipline and Punish (1975), Michel Foucault describes how the modern prison has provided a template for the disciplining of society.\n\nFoucault describes modern prisons as institutions for the more ‘gentle’ treatment of prisoners that replaces the medieval practices of torture and killing of criminals. \n\nNew prisons use a more efficient means of punishment that is extended to factories, hospitals, schools, and so on. As we have seen, the role of the disciplinary society is to inculcate in the individual an understanding of his/her wrongdoing and a fear of the consequences of that wrongdoing with the aim being to ensure future compliance. \n\nWhen prisoners themselves cannot be reformed, the function of prison is to set an example to the law-abiding of the consequences of ‘stepping out of line’.\n\n2. Foucault describes modern disciplinary society as functioning along three axes.\n\na) Hierarchical observation -\n\nFoucault uses Jeremy Bentham’s blueprint for a prison - the Panopticon - as means of explaining how hierarchical observation functions.\n\nBentham’s Panopticon was designed so that prisoners could not see each other but that all could be observed by a monitor. However, one overseer cannot view all of the prisoners at once so there is a system of relays by which a hierarchy of guards passes information back from lower to higher levels.\n\nWhat keeps prisoners in check is not the fact that they are constantly observed (because they may not be) but the threat of being observed. Inmates must therefore monitor their own behaviour; they must act as if they are constantly under observation.\n\nFor example, Albert Memmi in his study of colonialism, ‘The Coloniser and the Colonised’, described watchtowers in North Africa which did not have guards in them. However, the locals were controlled by the mere presence of the watchtower.\n\nA good contemporary example is CCTV. There is now one CCTV camera for every 14 people in the UK. CCTV acts as a preventative measure - we temper our behaviour for fear of being observed although most CCTV footage never gets watched. These panoptical powers work because they are both means of controlling and of protecting us. \n\nb) Normalizing judgment -\n\nJudging through the setting of norms and standards becomes fundamental in the modern age when the objective of prison is not just punishment but also reform.\n\nReform means internalising society’s standards and norms. No longer are criminals judged according to whether the law says they have acted ‘rightly’ or ‘wrongly’; now they are also judged to be normal or abnormal. Under this view, criminals are pathologised - seen as having a debility that makes them unable to act in accordance with the norms of society. The job of prison is to get them to accept that their behaviour has deviated from the norm and to accept to follow society’s standards from now on.\n\nLike observation, the idea of normalisation is pervasive in our societies. Standards are applied throughout our lives - for example, through the national educational curriculum which sets standards which children have to fulfil from a young age.\n\nToday, some policy makers recommend flagging up children as having potential future from as young as when they are toddlers based on their behaviour and on their family history of crime and deviance. The idea is that early state intervention into these children’s lives will prevent them from posing a future problem for society.\n\nHowever, as Foucault shows in his later studies of sexuality, the application of norms led to the criminalisation and pathologisation of behaviours that are not harmful to others. This often led to individuals being branded ‘perverts’; in the 20th century, many gay people were hospitalised and forced to undergo electric shock therapy to ‘cure’ them of their homosexuality. The institutionalisation of ‘sodomy laws’ in countries such as India (recently repealed) was based on the imposition of modern European norms of sexuality upon areas of the world which traditionally did not see homosexuality as a perversion, but accepted it as part of a spectrum of human sexuality. \n\nc) Examination -\n\nThe examination combines hierarchical observation with normalising judgment. \n\nFoucault places a lot of emphasis on what he calls power/knowledge - or the fact that the powerful establish what is the ‘correct’ knowledge. The exam is a fundamental part of power/knowledge because it establishes the truth while deploying force. It forces people to undergo an examination while controlling their behaviour. A student who studies for an exam is forced to do so (by the school, university, etc.); at the same time, the exam is a means of forming her knowledge because it will be marked according to a set standard. \n\nFrom a societal point if view, exams (both educational and medical, etc. examinations) are important because knowledge gathered about an individual’s performance, health, etc. can be gathered and stored by the state. Having knowledge about an individual permits the state to control him/her better. \n\nAdditionally, the records kept allow for statistics to be kept about the population at large. For example, the DNA database in the UK keeps the DNA records of a disproportionate number of black and minority ethnic people. This allows the police to make assumptions about rates of crime among non-white people. However, as critics have pointed out, due to the institutionalisation of racism, more black people tend to be stopped, searched and arrested than whites leading to more DNA evidence on them being kept. This does not necessarily mean that there is a higher propensity to crime among blacks than whites. In fact, in the UK, non-white people are more likely to be victims of crime (IRR).\n\nAs always with Foucauldian ideas, the systems he describes can be viewed as a double-edged sword. data about individuals in modern societies are also kept in order to purportedly assist them. Therefore, ethnic monitoring is officially a means of ensuring that people marginalised due to their ethnicity do not face discrimination. However, it may also be a way of collecting national data about the numbers of ethnic minorities in order to better control the population. From Foucault’s perspective, we cannot separate the goals of power from the goals of knowledge - in knowing we control and in controlling we know.\n\n\n\n\n
  • 1. In Discipline and Punish (1975), Michel Foucault describes how the modern prison has provided a template for the disciplining of society.\n\nFoucault describes modern prisons as institutions for the more ‘gentle’ treatment of prisoners that replaces the medieval practices of torture and killing of criminals. \n\nNew prisons use a more efficient means of punishment that is extended to factories, hospitals, schools, and so on. As we have seen, the role of the disciplinary society is to inculcate in the individual an understanding of his/her wrongdoing and a fear of the consequences of that wrongdoing with the aim being to ensure future compliance. \n\nWhen prisoners themselves cannot be reformed, the function of prison is to set an example to the law-abiding of the consequences of ‘stepping out of line’.\n\n2. Foucault describes modern disciplinary society as functioning along three axes.\n\na) Hierarchical observation -\n\nFoucault uses Jeremy Bentham’s blueprint for a prison - the Panopticon - as means of explaining how hierarchical observation functions.\n\nBentham’s Panopticon was designed so that prisoners could not see each other but that all could be observed by a monitor. However, one overseer cannot view all of the prisoners at once so there is a system of relays by which a hierarchy of guards passes information back from lower to higher levels.\n\nWhat keeps prisoners in check is not the fact that they are constantly observed (because they may not be) but the threat of being observed. Inmates must therefore monitor their own behaviour; they must act as if they are constantly under observation.\n\nFor example, Albert Memmi in his study of colonialism, ‘The Coloniser and the Colonised’, described watchtowers in North Africa which did not have guards in them. However, the locals were controlled by the mere presence of the watchtower.\n\nA good contemporary example is CCTV. There is now one CCTV camera for every 14 people in the UK. CCTV acts as a preventative measure - we temper our behaviour for fear of being observed although most CCTV footage never gets watched. These panoptical powers work because they are both means of controlling and of protecting us. \n\nb) Normalizing judgment -\n\nJudging through the setting of norms and standards becomes fundamental in the modern age when the objective of prison is not just punishment but also reform.\n\nReform means internalising society’s standards and norms. No longer are criminals judged according to whether the law says they have acted ‘rightly’ or ‘wrongly’; now they are also judged to be normal or abnormal. Under this view, criminals are pathologised - seen as having a debility that makes them unable to act in accordance with the norms of society. The job of prison is to get them to accept that their behaviour has deviated from the norm and to accept to follow society’s standards from now on.\n\nLike observation, the idea of normalisation is pervasive in our societies. Standards are applied throughout our lives - for example, through the national educational curriculum which sets standards which children have to fulfil from a young age.\n\nToday, some policy makers recommend flagging up children as having potential future from as young as when they are toddlers based on their behaviour and on their family history of crime and deviance. The idea is that early state intervention into these children’s lives will prevent them from posing a future problem for society.\n\nHowever, as Foucault shows in his later studies of sexuality, the application of norms led to the criminalisation and pathologisation of behaviours that are not harmful to others. This often led to individuals being branded ‘perverts’; in the 20th century, many gay people were hospitalised and forced to undergo electric shock therapy to ‘cure’ them of their homosexuality. The institutionalisation of ‘sodomy laws’ in countries such as India (recently repealed) was based on the imposition of modern European norms of sexuality upon areas of the world which traditionally did not see homosexuality as a perversion, but accepted it as part of a spectrum of human sexuality. \n\nc) Examination -\n\nThe examination combines hierarchical observation with normalising judgment. \n\nFoucault places a lot of emphasis on what he calls power/knowledge - or the fact that the powerful establish what is the ‘correct’ knowledge. The exam is a fundamental part of power/knowledge because it establishes the truth while deploying force. It forces people to undergo an examination while controlling their behaviour. A student who studies for an exam is forced to do so (by the school, university, etc.); at the same time, the exam is a means of forming her knowledge because it will be marked according to a set standard. \n\nFrom a societal point if view, exams (both educational and medical, etc. examinations) are important because knowledge gathered about an individual’s performance, health, etc. can be gathered and stored by the state. Having knowledge about an individual permits the state to control him/her better. \n\nAdditionally, the records kept allow for statistics to be kept about the population at large. For example, the DNA database in the UK keeps the DNA records of a disproportionate number of black and minority ethnic people. This allows the police to make assumptions about rates of crime among non-white people. However, as critics have pointed out, due to the institutionalisation of racism, more black people tend to be stopped, searched and arrested than whites leading to more DNA evidence on them being kept. This does not necessarily mean that there is a higher propensity to crime among blacks than whites. In fact, in the UK, non-white people are more likely to be victims of crime (IRR).\n\nAs always with Foucauldian ideas, the systems he describes can be viewed as a double-edged sword. data about individuals in modern societies are also kept in order to purportedly assist them. Therefore, ethnic monitoring is officially a means of ensuring that people marginalised due to their ethnicity do not face discrimination. However, it may also be a way of collecting national data about the numbers of ethnic minorities in order to better control the population. From Foucault’s perspective, we cannot separate the goals of power from the goals of knowledge - in knowing we control and in controlling we know.\n\n\n\n\n
  • 1. In Discipline and Punish (1975), Michel Foucault describes how the modern prison has provided a template for the disciplining of society.\n\nFoucault describes modern prisons as institutions for the more ‘gentle’ treatment of prisoners that replaces the medieval practices of torture and killing of criminals. \n\nNew prisons use a more efficient means of punishment that is extended to factories, hospitals, schools, and so on. As we have seen, the role of the disciplinary society is to inculcate in the individual an understanding of his/her wrongdoing and a fear of the consequences of that wrongdoing with the aim being to ensure future compliance. \n\nWhen prisoners themselves cannot be reformed, the function of prison is to set an example to the law-abiding of the consequences of ‘stepping out of line’.\n\n2. Foucault describes modern disciplinary society as functioning along three axes.\n\na) Hierarchical observation -\n\nFoucault uses Jeremy Bentham’s blueprint for a prison - the Panopticon - as means of explaining how hierarchical observation functions.\n\nBentham’s Panopticon was designed so that prisoners could not see each other but that all could be observed by a monitor. However, one overseer cannot view all of the prisoners at once so there is a system of relays by which a hierarchy of guards passes information back from lower to higher levels.\n\nWhat keeps prisoners in check is not the fact that they are constantly observed (because they may not be) but the threat of being observed. Inmates must therefore monitor their own behaviour; they must act as if they are constantly under observation.\n\nFor example, Albert Memmi in his study of colonialism, ‘The Coloniser and the Colonised’, described watchtowers in North Africa which did not have guards in them. However, the locals were controlled by the mere presence of the watchtower.\n\nA good contemporary example is CCTV. There is now one CCTV camera for every 14 people in the UK. CCTV acts as a preventative measure - we temper our behaviour for fear of being observed although most CCTV footage never gets watched. These panoptical powers work because they are both means of controlling and of protecting us. \n\nb) Normalizing judgment -\n\nJudging through the setting of norms and standards becomes fundamental in the modern age when the objective of prison is not just punishment but also reform.\n\nReform means internalising society’s standards and norms. No longer are criminals judged according to whether the law says they have acted ‘rightly’ or ‘wrongly’; now they are also judged to be normal or abnormal. Under this view, criminals are pathologised - seen as having a debility that makes them unable to act in accordance with the norms of society. The job of prison is to get them to accept that their behaviour has deviated from the norm and to accept to follow society’s standards from now on.\n\nLike observation, the idea of normalisation is pervasive in our societies. Standards are applied throughout our lives - for example, through the national educational curriculum which sets standards which children have to fulfil from a young age.\n\nToday, some policy makers recommend flagging up children as having potential future from as young as when they are toddlers based on their behaviour and on their family history of crime and deviance. The idea is that early state intervention into these children’s lives will prevent them from posing a future problem for society.\n\nHowever, as Foucault shows in his later studies of sexuality, the application of norms led to the criminalisation and pathologisation of behaviours that are not harmful to others. This often led to individuals being branded ‘perverts’; in the 20th century, many gay people were hospitalised and forced to undergo electric shock therapy to ‘cure’ them of their homosexuality. The institutionalisation of ‘sodomy laws’ in countries such as India (recently repealed) was based on the imposition of modern European norms of sexuality upon areas of the world which traditionally did not see homosexuality as a perversion, but accepted it as part of a spectrum of human sexuality. \n\nc) Examination -\n\nThe examination combines hierarchical observation with normalising judgment. \n\nFoucault places a lot of emphasis on what he calls power/knowledge - or the fact that the powerful establish what is the ‘correct’ knowledge. The exam is a fundamental part of power/knowledge because it establishes the truth while deploying force. It forces people to undergo an examination while controlling their behaviour. A student who studies for an exam is forced to do so (by the school, university, etc.); at the same time, the exam is a means of forming her knowledge because it will be marked according to a set standard. \n\nFrom a societal point if view, exams (both educational and medical, etc. examinations) are important because knowledge gathered about an individual’s performance, health, etc. can be gathered and stored by the state. Having knowledge about an individual permits the state to control him/her better. \n\nAdditionally, the records kept allow for statistics to be kept about the population at large. For example, the DNA database in the UK keeps the DNA records of a disproportionate number of black and minority ethnic people. This allows the police to make assumptions about rates of crime among non-white people. However, as critics have pointed out, due to the institutionalisation of racism, more black people tend to be stopped, searched and arrested than whites leading to more DNA evidence on them being kept. This does not necessarily mean that there is a higher propensity to crime among blacks than whites. In fact, in the UK, non-white people are more likely to be victims of crime (IRR).\n\nAs always with Foucauldian ideas, the systems he describes can be viewed as a double-edged sword. data about individuals in modern societies are also kept in order to purportedly assist them. Therefore, ethnic monitoring is officially a means of ensuring that people marginalised due to their ethnicity do not face discrimination. However, it may also be a way of collecting national data about the numbers of ethnic minorities in order to better control the population. From Foucault’s perspective, we cannot separate the goals of power from the goals of knowledge - in knowing we control and in controlling we know.\n\n\n\n\n
  • 1. In Discipline and Punish (1975), Michel Foucault describes how the modern prison has provided a template for the disciplining of society.\n\nFoucault describes modern prisons as institutions for the more ‘gentle’ treatment of prisoners that replaces the medieval practices of torture and killing of criminals. \n\nNew prisons use a more efficient means of punishment that is extended to factories, hospitals, schools, and so on. As we have seen, the role of the disciplinary society is to inculcate in the individual an understanding of his/her wrongdoing and a fear of the consequences of that wrongdoing with the aim being to ensure future compliance. \n\nWhen prisoners themselves cannot be reformed, the function of prison is to set an example to the law-abiding of the consequences of ‘stepping out of line’.\n\n2. Foucault describes modern disciplinary society as functioning along three axes.\n\na) Hierarchical observation -\n\nFoucault uses Jeremy Bentham’s blueprint for a prison - the Panopticon - as means of explaining how hierarchical observation functions.\n\nBentham’s Panopticon was designed so that prisoners could not see each other but that all could be observed by a monitor. However, one overseer cannot view all of the prisoners at once so there is a system of relays by which a hierarchy of guards passes information back from lower to higher levels.\n\nWhat keeps prisoners in check is not the fact that they are constantly observed (because they may not be) but the threat of being observed. Inmates must therefore monitor their own behaviour; they must act as if they are constantly under observation.\n\nFor example, Albert Memmi in his study of colonialism, ‘The Coloniser and the Colonised’, described watchtowers in North Africa which did not have guards in them. However, the locals were controlled by the mere presence of the watchtower.\n\nA good contemporary example is CCTV. There is now one CCTV camera for every 14 people in the UK. CCTV acts as a preventative measure - we temper our behaviour for fear of being observed although most CCTV footage never gets watched. These panoptical powers work because they are both means of controlling and of protecting us. \n\nb) Normalizing judgment -\n\nJudging through the setting of norms and standards becomes fundamental in the modern age when the objective of prison is not just punishment but also reform.\n\nReform means internalising society’s standards and norms. No longer are criminals judged according to whether the law says they have acted ‘rightly’ or ‘wrongly’; now they are also judged to be normal or abnormal. Under this view, criminals are pathologised - seen as having a debility that makes them unable to act in accordance with the norms of society. The job of prison is to get them to accept that their behaviour has deviated from the norm and to accept to follow society’s standards from now on.\n\nLike observation, the idea of normalisation is pervasive in our societies. Standards are applied throughout our lives - for example, through the national educational curriculum which sets standards which children have to fulfil from a young age.\n\nToday, some policy makers recommend flagging up children as having potential future from as young as when they are toddlers based on their behaviour and on their family history of crime and deviance. The idea is that early state intervention into these children’s lives will prevent them from posing a future problem for society.\n\nHowever, as Foucault shows in his later studies of sexuality, the application of norms led to the criminalisation and pathologisation of behaviours that are not harmful to others. This often led to individuals being branded ‘perverts’; in the 20th century, many gay people were hospitalised and forced to undergo electric shock therapy to ‘cure’ them of their homosexuality. The institutionalisation of ‘sodomy laws’ in countries such as India (recently repealed) was based on the imposition of modern European norms of sexuality upon areas of the world which traditionally did not see homosexuality as a perversion, but accepted it as part of a spectrum of human sexuality. \n\nc) Examination -\n\nThe examination combines hierarchical observation with normalising judgment. \n\nFoucault places a lot of emphasis on what he calls power/knowledge - or the fact that the powerful establish what is the ‘correct’ knowledge. The exam is a fundamental part of power/knowledge because it establishes the truth while deploying force. It forces people to undergo an examination while controlling their behaviour. A student who studies for an exam is forced to do so (by the school, university, etc.); at the same time, the exam is a means of forming her knowledge because it will be marked according to a set standard. \n\nFrom a societal point if view, exams (both educational and medical, etc. examinations) are important because knowledge gathered about an individual’s performance, health, etc. can be gathered and stored by the state. Having knowledge about an individual permits the state to control him/her better. \n\nAdditionally, the records kept allow for statistics to be kept about the population at large. For example, the DNA database in the UK keeps the DNA records of a disproportionate number of black and minority ethnic people. This allows the police to make assumptions about rates of crime among non-white people. However, as critics have pointed out, due to the institutionalisation of racism, more black people tend to be stopped, searched and arrested than whites leading to more DNA evidence on them being kept. This does not necessarily mean that there is a higher propensity to crime among blacks than whites. In fact, in the UK, non-white people are more likely to be victims of crime (IRR).\n\nAs always with Foucauldian ideas, the systems he describes can be viewed as a double-edged sword. data about individuals in modern societies are also kept in order to purportedly assist them. Therefore, ethnic monitoring is officially a means of ensuring that people marginalised due to their ethnicity do not face discrimination. However, it may also be a way of collecting national data about the numbers of ethnic minorities in order to better control the population. From Foucault’s perspective, we cannot separate the goals of power from the goals of knowledge - in knowing we control and in controlling we know.\n\n\n\n\n
  • It is useful to set Foucault’s idea from Discipline and Punish within a wider view of his theorisation of the way in which the power of the state is transformed in modern times in Europe.\n\nFoucault introduces a new vision of the modern state that departs from the notion of sovereignty.\n\n1. As both Hobbes and Locke show, the sovereign has ultimate power over subjects (those whom s/he rules over). For Foucault this means the power to kill because the lives and deaths of subjects are rights only insofar as they are under the will of the sovereign. If the sovereign decides to kill a subject, there is no longer any right to protect her (to an extent this still exists today in countries that enforce the death penalty).\n\n2. In the 19th century, Foucault argues that sovereign power is transformed by a new type of right that does not completely overtake it but coexists with sovereign right. \n\nThis is the right to “make live or let die”. This is in contrast to the right of the sovereign which was to “take life or let live.” The reason for this shift was because during the 17th and 18th centuries, new technologies of power emerged which were centred on the individual body. As we have seen during our discussion of industrial discipline, these technologies were used to increase individuals’ productive force (for the requirements of capital) and so focused on exercise but also surveillance, hierarchies, inspections, reports, etc. – what Foucault calls the “disciplinary technology of labour” (think of clocking-in at the workplace for example). \n\n3. The new power which starts to emerge in the 2nd half of the 18th C. is not disciplinary. It adds to disciplinary power, not doing away with it but adding to it. This new power is not addressed to people as bodies, but to people as living beings or as species. \n\nThis power addresses a global mass of people (population) that all share the function of birth, death, production, illness, etc. So this power is not individualizing but massifying. \n\nFoucault calls this a new biopolitics of the human race. In other words, populations can be looked at as a whole and controlled as such. So because all individuals in a population are subject to birth, death, fertility and so forth, the population as a whole can be governed on this basis. This is when demographers first start to quantify and analyse whole populations using statistics. Whole populations are treated on the basis of averages rather than on individual bases.\n\n4. The new purpose of the state therefore is to ensure the survival of the population as a whole. So, public hygiene becomes the most important role of medicine. Medical power is centralised in order to teach hygiene and medicalise the population. The health of the population is seen to be completely bound up in the future survival of the state. \n\nThe state is now able to “make live or let die” not on an individual basis but by rationally calculating what elements within a population (e.g. certain groups – the mentally ill, criminals, working class, non-white people) weaken the population as a whole. \n\nIn his 1976 lectures (Society Must be Defended) Foucault explains how this new biopolitical phase into which the state enters in the 19th century allows us to understand the growth in state racism. Racism in the 19th century is not or no longer about inter-ethnic hatred, prejudice, or what Foucault calls ‘race war’. Now, because the purpose of the state is to ensure the fitness of its population, those who are considered racially other/inferior must also be ‘let die’ for the greater good of the nation-state. It is this logic that explains the Holocaust in Europe. \n\nAs we enter our discussion of contemporary ‘penality’, we can see how Foucault’s ideas about biopower are relevant for understanding the rates of incarceration among non-white people, which is especially disproportionate in the UK and the US.\n
  • It is useful to set Foucault’s idea from Discipline and Punish within a wider view of his theorisation of the way in which the power of the state is transformed in modern times in Europe.\n\nFoucault introduces a new vision of the modern state that departs from the notion of sovereignty.\n\n1. As both Hobbes and Locke show, the sovereign has ultimate power over subjects (those whom s/he rules over). For Foucault this means the power to kill because the lives and deaths of subjects are rights only insofar as they are under the will of the sovereign. If the sovereign decides to kill a subject, there is no longer any right to protect her (to an extent this still exists today in countries that enforce the death penalty).\n\n2. In the 19th century, Foucault argues that sovereign power is transformed by a new type of right that does not completely overtake it but coexists with sovereign right. \n\nThis is the right to “make live or let die”. This is in contrast to the right of the sovereign which was to “take life or let live.” The reason for this shift was because during the 17th and 18th centuries, new technologies of power emerged which were centred on the individual body. As we have seen during our discussion of industrial discipline, these technologies were used to increase individuals’ productive force (for the requirements of capital) and so focused on exercise but also surveillance, hierarchies, inspections, reports, etc. – what Foucault calls the “disciplinary technology of labour” (think of clocking-in at the workplace for example). \n\n3. The new power which starts to emerge in the 2nd half of the 18th C. is not disciplinary. It adds to disciplinary power, not doing away with it but adding to it. This new power is not addressed to people as bodies, but to people as living beings or as species. \n\nThis power addresses a global mass of people (population) that all share the function of birth, death, production, illness, etc. So this power is not individualizing but massifying. \n\nFoucault calls this a new biopolitics of the human race. In other words, populations can be looked at as a whole and controlled as such. So because all individuals in a population are subject to birth, death, fertility and so forth, the population as a whole can be governed on this basis. This is when demographers first start to quantify and analyse whole populations using statistics. Whole populations are treated on the basis of averages rather than on individual bases.\n\n4. The new purpose of the state therefore is to ensure the survival of the population as a whole. So, public hygiene becomes the most important role of medicine. Medical power is centralised in order to teach hygiene and medicalise the population. The health of the population is seen to be completely bound up in the future survival of the state. \n\nThe state is now able to “make live or let die” not on an individual basis but by rationally calculating what elements within a population (e.g. certain groups – the mentally ill, criminals, working class, non-white people) weaken the population as a whole. \n\nIn his 1976 lectures (Society Must be Defended) Foucault explains how this new biopolitical phase into which the state enters in the 19th century allows us to understand the growth in state racism. Racism in the 19th century is not or no longer about inter-ethnic hatred, prejudice, or what Foucault calls ‘race war’. Now, because the purpose of the state is to ensure the fitness of its population, those who are considered racially other/inferior must also be ‘let die’ for the greater good of the nation-state. It is this logic that explains the Holocaust in Europe. \n\nAs we enter our discussion of contemporary ‘penality’, we can see how Foucault’s ideas about biopower are relevant for understanding the rates of incarceration among non-white people, which is especially disproportionate in the UK and the US.\n
  • It is useful to set Foucault’s idea from Discipline and Punish within a wider view of his theorisation of the way in which the power of the state is transformed in modern times in Europe.\n\nFoucault introduces a new vision of the modern state that departs from the notion of sovereignty.\n\n1. As both Hobbes and Locke show, the sovereign has ultimate power over subjects (those whom s/he rules over). For Foucault this means the power to kill because the lives and deaths of subjects are rights only insofar as they are under the will of the sovereign. If the sovereign decides to kill a subject, there is no longer any right to protect her (to an extent this still exists today in countries that enforce the death penalty).\n\n2. In the 19th century, Foucault argues that sovereign power is transformed by a new type of right that does not completely overtake it but coexists with sovereign right. \n\nThis is the right to “make live or let die”. This is in contrast to the right of the sovereign which was to “take life or let live.” The reason for this shift was because during the 17th and 18th centuries, new technologies of power emerged which were centred on the individual body. As we have seen during our discussion of industrial discipline, these technologies were used to increase individuals’ productive force (for the requirements of capital) and so focused on exercise but also surveillance, hierarchies, inspections, reports, etc. – what Foucault calls the “disciplinary technology of labour” (think of clocking-in at the workplace for example). \n\n3. The new power which starts to emerge in the 2nd half of the 18th C. is not disciplinary. It adds to disciplinary power, not doing away with it but adding to it. This new power is not addressed to people as bodies, but to people as living beings or as species. \n\nThis power addresses a global mass of people (population) that all share the function of birth, death, production, illness, etc. So this power is not individualizing but massifying. \n\nFoucault calls this a new biopolitics of the human race. In other words, populations can be looked at as a whole and controlled as such. So because all individuals in a population are subject to birth, death, fertility and so forth, the population as a whole can be governed on this basis. This is when demographers first start to quantify and analyse whole populations using statistics. Whole populations are treated on the basis of averages rather than on individual bases.\n\n4. The new purpose of the state therefore is to ensure the survival of the population as a whole. So, public hygiene becomes the most important role of medicine. Medical power is centralised in order to teach hygiene and medicalise the population. The health of the population is seen to be completely bound up in the future survival of the state. \n\nThe state is now able to “make live or let die” not on an individual basis but by rationally calculating what elements within a population (e.g. certain groups – the mentally ill, criminals, working class, non-white people) weaken the population as a whole. \n\nIn his 1976 lectures (Society Must be Defended) Foucault explains how this new biopolitical phase into which the state enters in the 19th century allows us to understand the growth in state racism. Racism in the 19th century is not or no longer about inter-ethnic hatred, prejudice, or what Foucault calls ‘race war’. Now, because the purpose of the state is to ensure the fitness of its population, those who are considered racially other/inferior must also be ‘let die’ for the greater good of the nation-state. It is this logic that explains the Holocaust in Europe. \n\nAs we enter our discussion of contemporary ‘penality’, we can see how Foucault’s ideas about biopower are relevant for understanding the rates of incarceration among non-white people, which is especially disproportionate in the UK and the US.\n
  • It is useful to set Foucault’s idea from Discipline and Punish within a wider view of his theorisation of the way in which the power of the state is transformed in modern times in Europe.\n\nFoucault introduces a new vision of the modern state that departs from the notion of sovereignty.\n\n1. As both Hobbes and Locke show, the sovereign has ultimate power over subjects (those whom s/he rules over). For Foucault this means the power to kill because the lives and deaths of subjects are rights only insofar as they are under the will of the sovereign. If the sovereign decides to kill a subject, there is no longer any right to protect her (to an extent this still exists today in countries that enforce the death penalty).\n\n2. In the 19th century, Foucault argues that sovereign power is transformed by a new type of right that does not completely overtake it but coexists with sovereign right. \n\nThis is the right to “make live or let die”. This is in contrast to the right of the sovereign which was to “take life or let live.” The reason for this shift was because during the 17th and 18th centuries, new technologies of power emerged which were centred on the individual body. As we have seen during our discussion of industrial discipline, these technologies were used to increase individuals’ productive force (for the requirements of capital) and so focused on exercise but also surveillance, hierarchies, inspections, reports, etc. – what Foucault calls the “disciplinary technology of labour” (think of clocking-in at the workplace for example). \n\n3. The new power which starts to emerge in the 2nd half of the 18th C. is not disciplinary. It adds to disciplinary power, not doing away with it but adding to it. This new power is not addressed to people as bodies, but to people as living beings or as species. \n\nThis power addresses a global mass of people (population) that all share the function of birth, death, production, illness, etc. So this power is not individualizing but massifying. \n\nFoucault calls this a new biopolitics of the human race. In other words, populations can be looked at as a whole and controlled as such. So because all individuals in a population are subject to birth, death, fertility and so forth, the population as a whole can be governed on this basis. This is when demographers first start to quantify and analyse whole populations using statistics. Whole populations are treated on the basis of averages rather than on individual bases.\n\n4. The new purpose of the state therefore is to ensure the survival of the population as a whole. So, public hygiene becomes the most important role of medicine. Medical power is centralised in order to teach hygiene and medicalise the population. The health of the population is seen to be completely bound up in the future survival of the state. \n\nThe state is now able to “make live or let die” not on an individual basis but by rationally calculating what elements within a population (e.g. certain groups – the mentally ill, criminals, working class, non-white people) weaken the population as a whole. \n\nIn his 1976 lectures (Society Must be Defended) Foucault explains how this new biopolitical phase into which the state enters in the 19th century allows us to understand the growth in state racism. Racism in the 19th century is not or no longer about inter-ethnic hatred, prejudice, or what Foucault calls ‘race war’. Now, because the purpose of the state is to ensure the fitness of its population, those who are considered racially other/inferior must also be ‘let die’ for the greater good of the nation-state. It is this logic that explains the Holocaust in Europe. \n\nAs we enter our discussion of contemporary ‘penality’, we can see how Foucault’s ideas about biopower are relevant for understanding the rates of incarceration among non-white people, which is especially disproportionate in the UK and the US.\n
  • The move from punishment to discipline which Foucault describes as fundamental for explaining the evolution of modern societies appears to be seeing a reversal to the growth in emphasis on punishment alone. \n\nThe rise in mass incarceration - most notably in countries like the US, UK, several Latin American countries, etc. - appears to be sending a message that the aim of reform is no longer achievable nor desirable. \n\nWe could argue that the approach to crime in society today continues to combine discipline and punishment. Nevertheless, there is an extension of punishment from the prison to parts of society in general: categories of society (homeless, marginalised young people, blacks and ethnic minorities, asylum seekers, the long-term unemployed, sex workers, drug users, etc.) being subjected to constant surveillance, control and punishment in their daily lives.\n\nExamples of this include ASBOs, control orders, electronic tagging or the decision to ‘clean-up’ areas of the city (e.g. Kings X in London, Times Square in New York, eviction of historical squats in Berlin, etc.) making it impossible for ‘undesirable’ people to gather there. \n\n1. The roots of this approach can be found in what Katherine Beckett and Theodore Sasson call the Tough on Crime movement. They describe the growth of this movement in the US. However, as Loic Wacquant explains for the case of Brazil or France, this is a common phenomenon among many if not most societies today.\n\nTough on Crime replaced any emphasis on reforming criminals and has spawned the widespread belief that there are certain people who must be incarcerated or even put to death for the ‘greater good of society’. Despite the fact that, as Loic Wacquant claims, there is no evidence that mass incarceration and ‘zero-tolerance’ approaches to deviant behaviour have any effect on reducing crime, to be seen to be tough on crime has become a political sine qua non.\n\nThe tough on crime movement, which began as a conservative movement in the US in the late 1960s, was based on a rejection on the idea that there are social causes for criminal behaviour. It was mush closer to the idea explained by Foucault that there are ‘normal’ people and ‘deviant’ people. \n\nIn the late 20th century, the growth in a reliance on genetics as a way of explaining everything backs up this idea. The idea of right-wing thinkers like Bell Curve author Charles Murray who opposes welfare reform on the grounds that elements of the population (mainly poor and black) are genetically prone to crime and underachievement, are used to argue for tougher anti-crime measures. \n\nThe proponents of tough on crime believe that ‘helping’ criminals, drug addicts, and the poor paradoxically only encourages them to continue their deviant behaviour. In contrast, a strong message should be sent to these populations that their behaviour will not be tolerated and that they will certainly not receive any ‘rewards’ (i.e. welfare, rehabilitation, etc.) for continuing it.\n\nA major consequence of tough on crime is a widening of what comes under the label of crime. For example, the so-called ‘broken windows’ approach is based on the belief that signs of public disorder such as unmended broken windows are evidence of underlying wrongdoing among the population. The aim is not to attempt to understand the root causes of such signs (e.g. lack of public investment, transient population, dislocation from civic engagement, etc.) but to criminalise them as such. \n\nThis has led to a zero tolerance approach to any behaviours which are seen as disorderly. An example may be sitting in groups in parks or on the street (homeless are often asked to move on) or the example given by Beckett of ‘squeegie men’ who clean car windshields being criminalised in New York.\n\n2. Over the last 40 years, since the beginning of the tough on crime movement in the US, this approach has led to imprisonment for relatively minor charges and the massive growth in prison numbers. For example, the number of women in prison in the UK doubled between 1990 and 2000 (Sudbury). \n\nAs Loic Wacquant in his study of what he calls ‘the militarization of urban marginality’ in Brazil, punitive containment - or imprisonment - is increasingly seen as a solution for dealing with dispossessed populations, such as poor blacks from the Brazilian favelas. \n\nOne of the main problems in the extension of what first emerges as a policy in the US to poorer countries like Brazil is that mass imprisonment can go on without almost any control from the state or the law. So, prisons in Brazil are sites of extreme violence, overcrowding, dilapidation, with little-no medical care for inmates as well as ‘murderous brutality’ by prison staff.\n\nAs Wacquant says, all of these elements combine to ‘make imprisonment akin to the disposal of social trash.’\n\nHe describes the situation of inmates in Brazilian jails where overcrowding means that as many as 8 people occupy cells built for one for months or even years on end. \n\nBasic healthcare is almost non-existent. According to Wacquant, one inmate with fill-blown AIDS upon asking to be taken to the first-aid station was told “thieves deserve to die.”\n\nPrisons are also sites of extreme violence between inmates due to gross understaffing, insufficient training and low pay of prison guards who can be easily bribed. Often there is only one guard for 200 prisoners. Gangs are rife.\n\nHowever, according to Wacquant, the violence of the authorities exceeds this with “everyday brutality, institutionalized torture, summary executions, and mass killings” a routine part of prison life in Brazil. For example, in 1992, 111 prisoners were massacred by guards at Carandiru prison in reaction to a rebellion against prison conditions. \n\nThe legal authorities in Brazil tend to meet this with indifference, reproducing the belief that prisoners are “unworthy of concern and protection.” The chief of Sao Paolo’s Third police precinct reiterated this when he told Human Rights Watch that “prisoners here have been thrown away like trash. The conditions are subhuman. Go ahead, write that down: subhuman.”\n\n
  • The move from punishment to discipline which Foucault describes as fundamental for explaining the evolution of modern societies appears to be seeing a reversal to the growth in emphasis on punishment alone. \n\nThe rise in mass incarceration - most notably in countries like the US, UK, several Latin American countries, etc. - appears to be sending a message that the aim of reform is no longer achievable nor desirable. \n\nWe could argue that the approach to crime in society today continues to combine discipline and punishment. Nevertheless, there is an extension of punishment from the prison to parts of society in general: categories of society (homeless, marginalised young people, blacks and ethnic minorities, asylum seekers, the long-term unemployed, sex workers, drug users, etc.) being subjected to constant surveillance, control and punishment in their daily lives.\n\nExamples of this include ASBOs, control orders, electronic tagging or the decision to ‘clean-up’ areas of the city (e.g. Kings X in London, Times Square in New York, eviction of historical squats in Berlin, etc.) making it impossible for ‘undesirable’ people to gather there. \n\n1. The roots of this approach can be found in what Katherine Beckett and Theodore Sasson call the Tough on Crime movement. They describe the growth of this movement in the US. However, as Loic Wacquant explains for the case of Brazil or France, this is a common phenomenon among many if not most societies today.\n\nTough on Crime replaced any emphasis on reforming criminals and has spawned the widespread belief that there are certain people who must be incarcerated or even put to death for the ‘greater good of society’. Despite the fact that, as Loic Wacquant claims, there is no evidence that mass incarceration and ‘zero-tolerance’ approaches to deviant behaviour have any effect on reducing crime, to be seen to be tough on crime has become a political sine qua non.\n\nThe tough on crime movement, which began as a conservative movement in the US in the late 1960s, was based on a rejection on the idea that there are social causes for criminal behaviour. It was mush closer to the idea explained by Foucault that there are ‘normal’ people and ‘deviant’ people. \n\nIn the late 20th century, the growth in a reliance on genetics as a way of explaining everything backs up this idea. The idea of right-wing thinkers like Bell Curve author Charles Murray who opposes welfare reform on the grounds that elements of the population (mainly poor and black) are genetically prone to crime and underachievement, are used to argue for tougher anti-crime measures. \n\nThe proponents of tough on crime believe that ‘helping’ criminals, drug addicts, and the poor paradoxically only encourages them to continue their deviant behaviour. In contrast, a strong message should be sent to these populations that their behaviour will not be tolerated and that they will certainly not receive any ‘rewards’ (i.e. welfare, rehabilitation, etc.) for continuing it.\n\nA major consequence of tough on crime is a widening of what comes under the label of crime. For example, the so-called ‘broken windows’ approach is based on the belief that signs of public disorder such as unmended broken windows are evidence of underlying wrongdoing among the population. The aim is not to attempt to understand the root causes of such signs (e.g. lack of public investment, transient population, dislocation from civic engagement, etc.) but to criminalise them as such. \n\nThis has led to a zero tolerance approach to any behaviours which are seen as disorderly. An example may be sitting in groups in parks or on the street (homeless are often asked to move on) or the example given by Beckett of ‘squeegie men’ who clean car windshields being criminalised in New York.\n\n2. Over the last 40 years, since the beginning of the tough on crime movement in the US, this approach has led to imprisonment for relatively minor charges and the massive growth in prison numbers. For example, the number of women in prison in the UK doubled between 1990 and 2000 (Sudbury). \n\nAs Loic Wacquant in his study of what he calls ‘the militarization of urban marginality’ in Brazil, punitive containment - or imprisonment - is increasingly seen as a solution for dealing with dispossessed populations, such as poor blacks from the Brazilian favelas. \n\nOne of the main problems in the extension of what first emerges as a policy in the US to poorer countries like Brazil is that mass imprisonment can go on without almost any control from the state or the law. So, prisons in Brazil are sites of extreme violence, overcrowding, dilapidation, with little-no medical care for inmates as well as ‘murderous brutality’ by prison staff.\n\nAs Wacquant says, all of these elements combine to ‘make imprisonment akin to the disposal of social trash.’\n\nHe describes the situation of inmates in Brazilian jails where overcrowding means that as many as 8 people occupy cells built for one for months or even years on end. \n\nBasic healthcare is almost non-existent. According to Wacquant, one inmate with fill-blown AIDS upon asking to be taken to the first-aid station was told “thieves deserve to die.”\n\nPrisons are also sites of extreme violence between inmates due to gross understaffing, insufficient training and low pay of prison guards who can be easily bribed. Often there is only one guard for 200 prisoners. Gangs are rife.\n\nHowever, according to Wacquant, the violence of the authorities exceeds this with “everyday brutality, institutionalized torture, summary executions, and mass killings” a routine part of prison life in Brazil. For example, in 1992, 111 prisoners were massacred by guards at Carandiru prison in reaction to a rebellion against prison conditions. \n\nThe legal authorities in Brazil tend to meet this with indifference, reproducing the belief that prisoners are “unworthy of concern and protection.” The chief of Sao Paolo’s Third police precinct reiterated this when he told Human Rights Watch that “prisoners here have been thrown away like trash. The conditions are subhuman. Go ahead, write that down: subhuman.”\n\n
  • The emergence of what has come to be known as the Prison-Industrial Complex is one of the fundamental features of what Wacquant calls ‘neoliberal penality’. \n\nAccording to Sudbury, in addition to the commonsense connection made between poverty and crime, and the increasing racialisation of crime, the approach taken to crime today is marked by ‘the symbiotic relationship between state correctional institutions, politicians and the corporate sector.’\n\nExample of the UK:\n\nSudbury describes how US-based prison corporations began to aggressively market themselves in Britain during the 1980s. By the end of the 80s, it was decided that private companies should be allowed to bid for prisons in the UK. The main incentive for the privatisation of prisons is cost-cutting which in turn allows for prisons to be modernised and expanded.\n\nBecause the money being put into building and managing a prison now comes from profit-making corporations, they can use whatever means necessary to ensure the profitability of their prison. However, it also meant that the government’s tough on crime agenda could be met - more new prisons could be built without it having an effect on the governments purse strings. \n\nThis led to a prison-building boom by the 1990s in Britain but also masked the long-term costs of increased incarceration according to Sudbury. \n\nFollowing the election of New Labour in 1997, the slogan ‘tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’ was one of Tony Blair’s key policy promises. However, the second part of the slogan which promised to deal with the root causes of crime was quickly glossed over. New Labour opted to focus on imprisoning greater and greater numbers of people and kept prisons private. \n\nPrivatising prisons remains the cheapest option for imprisoning the greatest amount of people. The political commitment to being ‘tough on crime’ can only be met because private prisons keep unions out of prisons, keep wages low and hours long as well as using new technologies to keep staff numbers down. New Labour had the option of reducing prison numbers or privatising prisons; it opted for the latter. \n\n\n
  • The US has long been acknowledged as having the highest rate of incarceration among black people and ethnic minorities. More than 70 percent of the imprisoned population in the US are people of colour.\n\nThe charts show the disproportionate numbers of young black males imprisoned in the US (other charts in the handout show figures for the population in general - including women).\n\nIn the UK, Black prisoners make up 15% of the prisoner population and this compares with 2.2% of the general population.\n\nAmerica jails 3% of its black population, and England and Wales 1%.\n\nAs Angela Davis points out, in order to reach such numbers the imprisonment of blacks and ethnic minorities relies on racialised assumptions about black people’s greater propensity towards crime. Because it is believed that blacks are naturally more inclined to commit crime, locking them up is seen as the simplest solution - there is a belief that they cannot be reformed. \n\nCombined with the need for greater prison numbers to fuel the prison industry, locking blacks up is a solution for politicians keen to be seen to be tough on crime and for an industry that relies on the existence of criminals to be incarcerated. \n\nAs Wacquant shows for the case of Brazil, the racialisation of crime and prisons is also highly prevalent. In the mid-1980s seven in ten prisoners in Rio were Afro-Brazilians. Behind bars these prisoners face the harshest detention conditions and the most violence. \n\nSocial consequences:\n\nOne of the biggest, but hidden, problems of mass incarceration of poor blacks in the US, pointed out by Angela Davis, is that it masks other social problems. Politicians are able to say that they have solved the problem of unemployment in some areas, not because there is full employment but because the problem has been taken away by imprisoning large numbers of the employable population. \n\nUnder these conditions, reformism is futile because there is no agenda to bring young black men out of prison and into gainful employment - in the US in particular, there is an absence of jobs, an absence of social welfare and an absence of political will to see these people as anything other than a menace to society.\n\n\n\n

The Disciplinary and Punitive State - Political Sociology Week 4 The Disciplinary and Punitive State - Political Sociology Week 4 Presentation Transcript

  • Political Sociology I Week 4: The Disciplinary and Punitive State
  • OverviewModern state discipline: Weber & FoucaultDiscipline & PunishThe Birth of BiopowerExpanding the Penal StateRace & the Prison-Industrial Complex
  • Modern State Power: Weber & Foucault“What are the techniques by which man has subjected himself to the rational discipline of the applied human sciences?” John O’Neill
  • Industrial Discipline
  • Instilling the Disciplinary Society “the prison, the factory and the school, like the army, are places where the system can project its conception of thedisciplinary society in the reformed criminal, the good workers, student, loyal soldier and committed citizen.” John O’Neill
  • Foucault’s Power “Generally speaking, it might be said thatthe disciplines are techniques for assuring the ordering of human multiplicities” Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish (1975)
  • Prisons & Society
  • Prisons & Society“To punish less,perhaps; but certainlyto punish better”
  • Prisons & Society“To punish less,perhaps; but certainlyto punish better”3 Techniques of control:
  • Prisons & Society“To punish less,perhaps; but certainlyto punish better”3 Techniques of control: Hierarchical observation
  • Prisons & Society“To punish less,perhaps; but certainlyto punish better”3 Techniques of control: Hierarchical observation Normalizing judgment
  • Prisons & Society“To punish less,perhaps; but certainlyto punish better”3 Techniques of control: Hierarchical observation Normalizing judgment Examination
  • Beyond Discipline - Biopower
  • Beyond Discipline - BiopowerThe sovereign has the powerto cause death or let live.
  • Beyond Discipline - BiopowerThe sovereign has the powerto cause death or let live.The right “to ‘make’ liveand ‘let’ die.”
  • Beyond Discipline - BiopowerThe sovereign has the powerto cause death or let live.The right “to ‘make’ liveand ‘let’ die.”Disciplinary power addressesthe individual body /biopower addressespopulation.
  • Beyond Discipline - BiopowerThe sovereign has the powerto cause death or let live.The right “to ‘make’ liveand ‘let’ die.”Disciplinary power addressesthe individual body /biopower addressespopulation.Ensuring the ‘fitness’ ofthe population.
  • Expanding the Penal State“...it’s like a trash receptacle. prisoners here have been thrown away like trash. The conditions are subhuman. Go ahead, write that down: subhuman.” Chief of Sao Paolo’s Third police precinct, cited in Wacquant (2008)
  • Expanding the Penal State Tough on Crime“...it’s like a trash receptacle. prisoners here have been thrown away like trash. The conditions are subhuman. Go ahead, write that down: subhuman.” Chief of Sao Paolo’s Third police precinct, cited in Wacquant (2008)
  • Expanding the Penal State Tough on Crime Punitive Containment“...it’s like a trash receptacle. prisoners here have been thrown away like trash. The conditions are subhuman. Go ahead, write that down: subhuman.” Chief of Sao Paolo’s Third police precinct, cited in Wacquant (2008)
  • The Prison-Industrial Complex “By 1997, Britain had become a profitable location for transnational prison companies, producing revenues of over £95 million for the fiveleading private incarcerators... the Prison Service could commission the construction of new prisons without being restricted by annual capital budgets.” Sudbury (2000)
  • Race and the PIC “To deliver up bodies destined for profitable punishment, thepolitical economy of prisons relies on racialized assumptions of criminality.” Angela Davis (1998)