(D&P 1) Foucault "Discipline and Punish" Chapter-by-Chapter Guide
Power and Subjectivity in Foucault
It also made clear that symbolic structures, far from unfolding in accordance with an immanent logic, were determined by and served to mask relations of power. It is Michel Foucault who, during the s, turns away from the more narrowly methodological concerns which preoccupied him during the late s, and begins to develop the theory of power which disillusionment with the political inadequacy of structuralism required. It is true that Foucault often appears to be producing theoretical generalizations about the nature of power. Indeed, it can be argued that it is the persistence with which Foucault has held to and elaborated his understanding of the historical foundations of the modern West, and the strikingness of the image and allegory through which he has expressed his stance towards the process of modernization, which have been central to his force and his appeal, rather than his modishly fluctuating, and often inconsistent, theoretical and philosophical pronouncements. Foucault does not deny the economic dimension of the process of confinement, as a measure intended to reduce social pressures during a period of inflation and unemployment, but is far more concerned with the effects and implications of what he considers to be a new conception of the state as preserver and augmenter of the general welfare, and with the manner in which this conception intersects with a project of homogenization and moralization of the populace. Modern forms of public provision and welfare, Foucault implies, are inseparable from ever tighter forms of social and psychological control.
Michel Foucault: Power, Truth, Strategy. Sydney: Feral Publications, pp. The reference is Michel Foucault. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. First published in French as Surveiller et punir , Gallimard, Paris, Welcome though it may be to see that this book was translated into English, it is unfortunate that this edition gives the appearance of having been hastily prepared.