Notes for Michel Foucault Discipline
and Punish: The Birth of the Prison
Translated from the French by Alan Sheridan
Key concepts: corrective penality, disciplinary society, disciplines, epistemological thaw, micro-physics of power, panopticism, political technology of the body, power-knowledge, reversal of the procedures of individualization, technologies of power.
Related theorists: Bacon, Bentham, Deleuze, Descartes, Guattari, Mably.
1. The body of the condemned
(7) We have, then, a public execution [Damiens the regicide] and a time-table [Faucher's young prisoners rules]. They do not punish the same crimes or the same type of delinquent. But they each define a certain penal style. Less than a century separates them. It was a time when, in Europe and in the United States, the entire economy of punishment was redistributed.
(7) Among so many changes, I shall consider one: the disappearance of torture as a public spectacle.
Collective responsibility for inherent violence in justice recedes from immediate public presence, as punishment becomes non-corporal, striking the soul.
(9) Punishment, then, will tend to become the most hidden part of the
penal process. This has several consequences: it leaves the domain of
more or less everyday perception and enters that of abstract
consciousness; its effectiveness is seen as resulting from its
inevitability, not from its visible intensity; it is the certainty of
being punished and not the horrifying spectacle of public punishment
that must discourage crime; the exemplary mechanics of punishments
changes its mechanisms. As a result, justice no longer takes public
responsibility for the violence that is bound up with its
(10-11) The disappearance of public executions marks therefore the decline of the spectacle; but it also marks a slackening of the hold on the body. . . . From being an art of unbearable sensations punishment has become an economy of suspended rights. . . . As a result of this new restraint, a whole army of technicians took over from the executioner, the immediate anatomist of pain: warders, doctors, chaplains, psychiatrists, psychologists, educationalists; by their very presence near the prisoner, they sing the praises that the law needs: they reassure it that the body and pain are not the ultimate objects of its punitive action. . . . This is worth thinking about. . . . Recourse to psycho-pharmacology and to various physiological 'disconnectors', even if it is temporary, is a logical consequence of this 'non-corporal' penality.
Cicero struggled with performative power of writing not yet built into the system.
Thus it was in the case of Fieschi, the would-be assassin of
Louis-Philippe, in November 1836: 'He will be taken to the place of
execution wearing a shirt, barefoot, his head covered with a black
veil; he will be exhibited upon a scaffold while an usher reads the
sentence to the people, and he will be immediately executed.'
(16) There remains, therefore, a trace of 'torture' in the modern mechanisms of criminal justice – a trace that has not been entirely overcome, but which is enveloped, increasingly, by the non-corporal nature of the penal system.
(16) The expiation that once rained down upon the body must be replaced by a punishment that acts in depth on the heart, the thoughts, the will, the inclinations. Mably formulated the principle once and for all: 'Punishment, if I may so put it, should strike the soul rather than the body' (Mably, 326).
(19) A whole set of assessing, diagnostic, prognostic, normative judgments concerning the criminal have become lodged in the framework of penal judgment. . . . A significant fact is the way in which the question of madness has evolved in penal practice.
(22) The whole penal operation has taken on extra-juridical elements and personnel. . . . Today, criminal justice functions and justifies itself only by this perpetual reference to something other than itself, by this unceasing reinscription in non-juridical systems.
Correlative history of soul and collective power to regard punishment as a complex social function.
(23) This book is
intended as a correlative history of the modern soul and of a new
power to judge; a genealogy of the present scientifico-legal
complex from which the power to punish derives its bases,
justifications and rules, from which it extends its effects and by
which it masks its exorbitant singularity.
(23) regard punishment as a complex social function.
(23) Regard punishment as a political tactic.
(23) make the technology of power the very principle both of the humanization of the penal system and of the knowledge of man.
(24) In short, try to study the metamorphosis of punitive methods on the basis of a political technology of the body in which might be read a common history of power relations and object relations.
Heavy debt to Deleuze and Guattari.
(24) But I am not
claiming to be the first to have worked in this direction.
(24 endnote 2) In any case, I could give no notion by references or quotations what this book owes to Gilles Deleuze and the work he is undertaking with Felix Guattari.
Micro-physics of power forming political technology of body, control operations like machines.
(26) That is to
say, there may be a 'knowledge' of the body that is not exactly the
science of its functioning, and a mastery of its forces that is more
than the ability to conquer them: this knowledge and this mastery
constitute what might be called the political technology of the
body. . . . What the apparatuses and institutions operate is, in
a sense, a micro-physics of power, whose field of validity is
situated in a sense between these great functionings and the bodies
themselves with their materiality and their forces.
(26-27) In short this power is exercised rather than possessed; it is not the 'privilege', acquired or preserved, of the dominant class, but the overall effect of its strategic positions – an effect that is manifested and sometimes extended by the position of those who are dominated.
(28) In short, it is not the activity of the subject of knowledge that produces a corpus of knowledge, useful or resistant to power, but power-knowledge, the processes and struggles that traverse it and of which it is made up, that determines the forms and possible domains of knowledge.
(28) One would be concerned with the 'body politic', as a set of material elements and techniques that serve as weapons, relays, communication routes and supports for the power and knowledge relations that invest human bodies and subjugate them by turning them into objects of knowledge.
(29) In the darkest region of the political field the condemned man represents the symmetrical, inverted figure of the king. We should analyze what might be called, in homage to Kantorowitz, 'the least body of the condemned man'.
View of soul as contingent correlative to technology of power over body, effect and instrument of political anatomy, prison of the body. Connect Baudrillard simulacrum, Zizek virtual, Kittler media. Apply docile bodies narrative to creation of technological systems as disciplinary practices repeated in engineering design.
(29-30) The history of this 'micro-physics' of the punitive power would then be a genealogy or an element in a genealogy of the modern 'soul'. Rather than seeing this soul as the reactivated remnants of an ideology, one would see it as the present correlative of a certain technology of power over the body. It would be wrong to say that the soul is an illusion, or an ideological effect. On the contrary, it exists, it has a reality, it is produced permanently around, on, within the body by the functioning of a power that is exercised on those punished – and, in a more general way, on those one supervises, trains and corrects, over madmen, children at home and at school, the colonized, over those who are stuck at a machine and supervised for the rest of their lives. . . . The man described for us, whom we are invited to free, is already in himself the effect of a subjection much more profound than himself. A 'soul' inhabits him and brings him to existence, which is itself a factor in the mastery that power exercises over the body. The soul is the effect and instrument of a political anatomy; the soul is the prison of the body.
Study past history of the French penal system to write a history of the present.
(30-31) In fact, all these movements – and the innumerable discourses that the prison has given rise to since the early nineteenth century – have been about the body and material things. . . . I would like to write the history of this prison, with all the political investments of the body that it gathers together in its closed architecture. Why? Simply because I am interested in the past? No, if one means by that writing a history of the past in terms of the present. Yes, if one means writing the history of the present.
2. The spectacle of the
(33) It was not only in the great solemn executions, but also in this additional form of punishment, that torture revealed the significant part it played in penality: every penalty of a certain seriousness had to involve an element of torture, of supplice.
(35) In the 'excesses' of torture, a whole economy of power is invested.
(35) The secret and written form of the procedure reflects the principle that in criminal matters the establishment of truth was the absolute right and the exclusive power of the sovereign and his judges.
(36) Secrecy itself required that a rigorous model of penal truth be defined. A whole tradition dating from the Middle Ages and considerably developed by the great lawyers of the Renaissance laid down what the nature and the use of evidence might be.
(38-39) Through confession, the accused himself took part in the ritual of producing penal truth. . . . Through the confession, the accused committed himself to the procedure; he signed the truth of the preliminary investigation.
(39-40) It is true that the practice of torture is of ancient origin: it goes back at least as far as the Inquisition, of course, and probably to the torture of slaves. But it did not figure in classical law as a survival or defect. . . . The body of the accused, the speaking and, if necessary, suffering body, assured the interlocking of these two mechanisms.
(42) The suspect, as such, always deserved a certain punishment; one could not be the object of suspicion and be completely innocent. . . . In the eighteenth century, judicial torture functioned in that strange economy in which the ritual that produced the truth went side by side with the ritual that imposed the punishment.
(43) It was the task of the guilty man to bear openly his condemnation and the truth of the crime that he had committed. His body, displayed, exhibited in procession, tortured, served as the public support of a procedure that had hitherto remained in the shade; in him, on him, the sentence had to be legible for all.
(44) A successful public execution justified justice, in that it published the truth of the crime in the very body of the man to be executed. . . . If each of the participants played his role well, the penal ceremony had the effectiveness of a long public confession.
(47) The body, several times tortured, provides the synthesis of the reality of the deeds and the truth of the investigation, of the documents of the case and the statements of the criminal, of the crime and the punishment.
(48) The public execution, then, has a juridico-political function. It is a ceremonial by which a momentarily injured sovereignty is reconstituted.
(60) If the crowd gathered round the scaffold, it was not simply to witness the sufferings of the condemned man or to excite the anger of the executioner: it was also to hear an individual who had nothing more to lose curse the judges, the laws, the government and religion. . . . Under the protection of imminent death, the criminal could say everything and the crowd cheered.
(63) But above all – and this was why these disadvantages became a political danger – the people never felt closer to those who paid the penalty than in those rituals intended to show the horror of the crime and the invincibility of power; never did the people feel more threatened, like them, by a legal violence exercised without moderation or restraint.
Last words of a condemned man genre also glorified the criminal, so broadsheets were suppressed and a new crime literature developed, replacing the rustic hero with the exceptional, master criminal.
(66) But the existence of the 'last words of a condemned man' genre
is in itself significant. The law required that its victim should
authenticate in some sense the tortures that he had undergone.
(68) In the wake of a ceremony that inadequately channeled the power relations it sought to ritualize, a whole mass of discourses appeared pursuing the same confrontation; the posthumous proclamation of the crimes justified justice, but also glorified the criminal. That was why the reformers of the penal system were soon demanding suppression of these broadsheets.
(68-69) And they disappeared as a whole new literature of crime developed: a literature in which crime is glorified, because it is one of the fine arts, because it can be the work only of exceptional natures, because it reveals the monstrousness of the strong and powerful, because villainy is yet another mode of privilege. . . . we have moved from the exposition of the facts or the confession to the slow process of discovery; from the execution to the investigation; from the physical confrontation to the intellectual struggle between criminal and investigator. It was not only the broadsheets that disappeared with the birth of a literature of crime; the glory of the rustic malefactor and his sombre transformation into a hero by the process of torture and execution went with them. . . . The split was complete; the people was robbed of its old pride in its crimes; the great murders had become the quiet game of the well behaved.
1. Generalized punishment
(74) Instead of taking revenge, criminal justice should simply punish.
(76) Crime became less violent long before punishment became less severe. But this transformation cannot be separated from several underlying processes.
Increase in fraud correlative with changes in punitive practices as well as societal shifts.
(77) In fact, the shift from a criminality of blood to a criminality
of fraud forms part of a whole complex mechanism, embracing the
development of production, the increase of wealth, a higher juridical
and moral value placed on property relations, stricter methods of
surveillance, a tighter partitioning of the population, more
efficient techniques of locating and obtaining information: the shift
in illegal practices is correlative with an extension and a
refinement of punitive practices.
(80) This dysfunction of power was related to a central excess: what might be called monarchical 'super-power', which identified the right to punish with the personal power of the sovereign.
Distributed effects of public power should replace whims of sovereign.
(81) In short, the power to judge should no longer depend on the
innumerable, discontinuous, sometimes contradictory privileges of
sovereignty, but on the continuously distributed effects of public
(82) The conjuncture that was the birth of reform is not, therefore, that of a new sensibility, but that of another policy with regard to illegalities.
New policy (semio-technique) with regard to illegalities required to support investment in commodities and machines: rule of minimum quantity, sufficient identity, lateral effects, perfect certainty, common truth, optimal specification.
The way in which wealth tended to be invested, on a much larger scale
than ever before, in commodities and machines presupposed a
systematic, armed intolerance of illegality.
(93) Things must be so arranged that the malefactor can have neither any desire to repeat his offense, nor any possibility of having imitators. Punishment, then, will be an art of effects; rather than opposing the enormity of the penalty to the enormity of the crime, one must adjust to one another the two series that follow from the crime: its own effects and those of the penalty.
(94) The semio-technique with which one tried to arm the power to punish rested on five or six major rules.
(94) The rule of minimum quantity.
(94-95) The rule of sufficient ideality. . . . what must be maximized is the representation of the penalty, not its corporal reality.
(95) The rule of lateral effects.
(95) The rule of perfect certainty.
(96) The rule of common truth.
(98) The rule of optimal specification.
(100) Far removed from this speculative model, forms of anthropological individualization were being constituted at the same period in what was still a very rough and ready way. . . . Gradually, as criminality, rather than crime, became the object of penal intervention, the opposition between first offender and recidivist tended to become more important.
Norms of power relation accompanied by emerging object relations of crimes and individuals, knowledge-power spreading.
In either case, one sees that the power relation that underlies the
exercise of punishment begins to be duplicated by an object
which are caught up no only the crime as a fact to be established
according to common norms, but the criminal as an individual to be
known according to specific criteria.
(103) A glance at the new art of punishing clearly reveals the supersession of the punitive semio-technique by a new politics of the body.
The gentle way in punishment
(104) The art of punishing, then, must rest on a whole technology of representation. The undertaking can succeed only if it forms part of a natural mechanics.
(113) But the essential point, in all these real or magnified severities, is that they should all, according to a strict economy, each a lesson: that each punishment should be a fable.
(115) The idea that imprisonment might as it does today cover the whole middle ground of punishment, between death and light penalties, was one that the reformers could not arrive at immediately.
(115-116) A great prison structure was planned, whose different levels would correspond exactly to the levels of the centralized administration. . . . A quite different materiality, a quite different physics of power, a quite different way of investing men's bodies had emerged.
Detention quickly became the general form of legal punishment.
How then could detention, so evidently bound up with an illegality
that was denounced even in the power of the prince, become in so
short a time one of the most general forms of legal punishment?
(121) The maison de force at Ghent organized penal labor above all around economic imperatives.
(122) To the principle of work, the English model added, as an essential addition to correction, isolation.
(123-124) Then came the Philadelphia model. . . . Life was partitioned, therefore, according to an absolutely strict time-table, under constant supervision; each moment of the day was devoted to a particular type of activity, and brought with it its own obligations and prohibitions.
(125-126) No doubt the most important thing was that this control and transformation of behavior were accompanied – both as a condition and as a consequence – by the development of a knowledge of the individuals. . . . The prison became a sort of permanent observatory that made it possible to distribute the varieties of vice or weakness.
(126) Between this apparatus of punishment proposed by the Flemish, English and American models, between these 'reformatories' and all the punishments imagined by the reformers, one may establish the points of convergence and the disparities.
Corrective penality reforms body, time, activities, therefore the soul.
The apparatus of corrective
in a quite different way. The point of application of the penalty is
not the representation, but the body, time, everyday gestures and
activities; the soul, too, but in so far as it is the seat of
(129) In short, the divergence is the following: punitive city or coercive institution?
(130-131) In any case, it can be said that, in the late eighteenth century, one is confronted by three ways of organizing the power to punish. The first is the one that was still functioning and which was based on the old monarchical law. The other two both refer to a preventive, utilitarian, corrective conception of a right to punish that belogns to society as a whole; but they are very different from one another at the level of the mechanisms they envisage. Broadly speaking, one might say that, in monarchical law, punishment is a ceremonial of sovereignty; it uses the ritual marks of the vengeance that it applies to the body of the condemned man; and it deploys before the eyes of the spectators an effect of terror as intense as it is discontinuous, irregular and always above its own laws, the physical presence of the sovereign and of his power. The reforming jurists, on the other hand, saw punishment as a procedure for requalifying individuals as subjects, as juridical subjects; it uses not marks, but signs, coded sets of representations, which would be given the most rapid circulation and the most general acceptance possible by citizens witnessing the scene of punishment. Lastly, in the project for a prison institution that was then developing, punishment was seen as a technique for the coercion of individuals; it operated methods of training the body – not signs – by the traces it leaves, it the form of habits, in behavior; and it presupposed the setting up of a specific power for the administration of the penalty. . . . The are modalities according to which the power to punish is exercised: three technologies of power.
How did training the body in prisons triumph over reforming jurists and old monarchical law of public spectacles becomes the problem to study as three technologies of power.
(131) The problem, then, is the following: how is it that, in the end, it was the third that was adopted? . . . Why did the physical exercise of punishment (which is not torture) replace, with the prison that is its institutional support, the social play of the signs of punishment and the prolix festival that circulated them?
1. Docile bodies
(135) By the late eighteenth century, the soldier has become something that can be made; out of a formless clay, an inapt body; the machine required can be constructed; posture is gradually corrected; a calculated constraint runs slowly through each part of the body, mastering it, making it pliable, ready at all times, turning silently into the automatism of habit; in short, one has 'got rid of the peasant' and given him 'the air of a soldier' (ordinance of 20 March 1764).
Man the machine develops through anatomico-metaphysical registers of philosophers, and disciplines of technico-political registers, bodily improving improvement, creating the man of modern humanism.
(136) The great book of Man-the-Machine was written simultaneously on two registers: the anatomico-metaphysical register, of which Descartes wrote the first pages and which the physicians and philosophers continued, and the technico-political register, which was constituted by a whole set of regulations and by empirical and calculated methods relating to the army, the school and the hospital, for controlling or correcting the operations of the body. . . . A body is docile that may be subjected, used, transformed and improved. The celebrated automata, on the other hand, were not only a way of illustrating an organism, they were also political puppets, small-scale models of power: Frederick II, the meticulous king of small machines, well-trained regiments and long exercises, was obsessed with them.
Disciplines as methods making possible meticulous control of bodily operations.
These methods, which made possible the meticulous control of the
operations of the body, which assured the constant subjection of its
forces and imposed upon them a relation to docility-utility, might be
. . . The historical moment of the disciplines was the moment when an
art of the human body was born, which was directed not only at the
growth of its skills, nor at the intensification of its subjection,
but at the formation of a relation that in the mechanism itself makes
it more obedient as it becomes more useful, and conversely.
(139) Discipline is a political anatomy of detail.
(140) The meticulousness of the regulations, the fussiness of the inspections, the supervision of the smallest fragment of life and of the body will soon provide, in the context of the school, the barracks, the hospital or the workshop, a laicized content, an economic or technical rationality for this mystical calculus of the infinitesimal and the infinite.
Trifles from which man of modern humanism born.
(141) A meticulous observation of detail, and at the same time a political awareness of these small things, for the control and use of men, emerge through the classical age bearing with them a whole set of techniques, a whole corpus of methods and knowledge, descriptions, plans and data. And from such trifles, no doubt, the man of modern humanism was born.
The art of distributions
(141) In the first instance, discipline proceeds from the distribution of individuals in space.
(142) The factory was explicitly compared with the monastery, the fortress, a walled town.
(143) This machinery works space in a much more flexible and detailed way. It does this first of all on the principle of elementary location or partitioning. Each individual has his own place; and each place its individual.
(144) The medical supervision of diseases and contagions is inseparable from a whole series of other controls: the military control over deserters, fiscal control over commodities, administrative control over remedies, rations, disappearances, cures, deaths, simulations. Hence the need to distribute and partition off space in a rigorous manner. . . . Out of discipline, a medically useful space was born.
(145) At the emergence of large-scale industry, one finds, beneath the division of the production process, the individualizing fragmentation of labor power; the distributions of the disciplinary space often assured both.
(146) Discipline is an art of rank, a technique for the transformation of arrangements. It individualizes bodies by a location that does not give them a fixed position, but distributes them and circulates them in a network of relations.
(146) One should not forget that, generally speaking, the Roman model, at the Enlightenment, played a dual role: in its republican aspect, it was the very embodiment of liberty; in its military aspect, it was the ideal schema of discipline.
Cellular power: elements creating the man of modern humanism, organizing space and controlling activity, create conditions for machine organization of operating systems and distributed control systems, which then feed back on the project of making docile souls.
of serial space
one of the great technical mutations of elementary education. . . .
It made the educational space function like a learning machine, but
also as a machine for supervising, hierarchizing, rewarding.
(149) But the table does not have the same function in these different registers. . . . It is the first condition for the control and use of an ensemble of distinct elements: the base for a micro-physics of what might be called a 'cellular' power.
The control of activity
Constituting totally useful time, time-table as program; connect to Castells timeless time.
One began to count in quarter hours, minutes, in seconds. . . . But
an attempt is also made to assure the quality of the time used;
constant supervision, the pressure of supervisors, the elimination of
anything that might disturb or distract; it is a question of
constituting a totally
(151-152) What the ordinance of 1766 defines is not a time-table – the general framework for an activity; it is rather a collective and obligatory rhythm, imposed from the outside; it is a 'program'; it assures the elaboration of the act itself; it controls its development and its stages from the inside. We have passed from a form of injunction that measured or punctuated gestures to a web that constrains them or sustains them throughout their entire succession.
(153) Thus disciplinary power appears to have the function not so much of deduction as of synthesis, not so much of exploitation of the product as of coercive link with the apparatus of production.
This story of development of discipline can be told in the context of exhaustive use of underdetermined, available CPU time in general purpose computers to make the modern multitasking operating system: strange that such a gap existed between the hardware and the software that eventually controlled it like the docile humans Foucault studies, as if the (hardware) creator really did not know how best to use the creation (by supplying software), the Altair story and so many others potentially map well onto this narrative, with the composition of forces move towards massively distributed internetworked systems.
(154) Discipline, on the other hand, arranges a positive economy; it
poses the principle of a theoretically ever-growing use of time:
exhaustion rather than use; it is a question of extracting, from
time, ever more available moments and, from each moment, ever more
(155) This new object is the natural body, the bearer of forces and the seat of duration; it is the body susceptible to specified operations, which have their order, their stages, their internal conditions, their constituent elements.
The organization of geneses
(157) The disciplines, which analyze space, break up and rearrange activities, must also be understood as machinery for adding up and capitalizing time.
(159) It is this disciplinary time that was gradually imposed on pedagogical practice – specializing the time of training and detaching it from the adult time, from the time of mastery; arranging different stages, separated from one another by graded examinations; drawing up programs, each of which must take place during a particular stage and which involves exercises of increasing difficulty; qualifying individuals according to the way in which they progress through these series.
(160) A macro- and micro-physics of power made possible, not the invention of history (it had long had no need of that), but the integration of a temporal, unitary, continuous, cumulative dimension in the exercise of controls and the practice of dominations.
(161-162) By bending behavior towards a terminal state, exercise makes possible a perpetual characterization of the individual either in relation to this term, in relation to other individuals, or in relation to a type of itinerary. It thus assures, in the form of continuity and constraint, a growth, an observation, a qualification. . . . In its mystical or ascetic form, exercise was a way of ordering earthly time for the conquest of salvation. It was gradually, in the history of the West, to change direction while preserving certain of its characteristics; it served to economize the time of life, to accumulate it in a useful form and to exercise power over men through the mediation of time arranged in this way. Exercise, having become an element in the political technology of the body and of duration, does not culminate in a beyond, but tends towards a subjection that has never reached its limit.
The composition of forces
(163) in short, the need to invent a machinery whose principle would no longer be the mobile or immobile mass, but a geometry of divisible segments whose basic unity was the mobile soldier with his rifle.
(164) Discipline is no longer simply an art of distributing bodies, of extracting time from them and accumulating it, but of composing forces in oder to obtain an efficient machine.
Soldier as fragment of mobile space.
(164) The solider is above all a fragment of mobile space, before he
is courage or honor.
(165) The school became a machine for learning, in which each pupil, each level and each moment, if correctly combined, were permanently utilized in the general process of teaching.
(166) From the master of discipline to him who is subjected to it the relation is one of signalization: it is a question not of understanding the injunction but of perceiving the signal and reacting to it immediately, according to a more or less artificial prearranged code.
Discipline creates modern individuality as cellular, organic, genetic, and combinatory, using techniques of drawing up tables, prescribing movements, imposing exercises, and arranging tactics.
(167) To sum up, it might be said that discipline creates out of the bodies it controls four types of individuality, or rather an individuality that is endowed with four characteristics: it is cellular (by the play of spatial distribution), it is organic (by the coding of activities), it is genetic (by the accumulation of time), it is combinatory (by the composition of forces). And, in doing so, it operates four great techniques: it draws up tables; it prescribes movements; it imposes exercises; lastly, in order to obtain the combination of forces, it arranges 'tactics'. Tactics, the art of constructing, with located bodies, coded activities and trained aptitudes, mechanisms in which the product of the various forces is increased by their calculated combination are no doubt the highest form of disciplinary practice.
Differentiation between strategy and tactics, the latter maintaining civil society (see also Feenberg); again, similar to creation of modern technological systems.
(168-169) If there is a politics-war series that passes through strategy, there is an army-politics series that passes through tactics. It is strategy that makes it possible to understand warfare as a way of conducting politics between states; it is tactics that makes it possible to understand the army as a principle for maintaining the absence of warfare in civil society. . . . Historians of ideas usually attribute the dream of a perfect society to the philosophers and jurists of the eighteenth century; but there was also a military dream of society; its fundamental reference was not to the state of nature, but to the meticulously subordinated cogs of a machine, not to the primal social contract, but to permanent coercions, not to fundamental rights, but to indefinitely progressive forms of training, not to the general will but to automatic docility.
Foucault urges this narrative of meticulous subordination, permanent coercions, progressive training, and automatic docility added to familiar history of ideas based on state of nature, social contract, and general will.
(169) While jurists or philosophers were seeking in the pact a primal model for the construction or reconstruction of the social body, the soldiers and with them the technicians of discipline were elaborating procedures for the individual and collective coercion of bodies.
2. The means of correct
(170) It is not a triumphant power, which because of its own excess can pride itself on its omnipotence; it is a modest, suspicious power, which functions as a calculated, but permanent economy. . . . The success of disciplinary power derives no doubt from the use of simple instruments; hierarchical observation, normalizing judgment and their combination in a procedure that is specific to it, the examination.
(171) Side by side with the major technology of the telescope, the lens and the light beam, which were an integral part of the new physics and cosmology, there were the minor techniques of multiple and intersecting observations, of eyes that must see without being seen; using techniques of subjection and methods of exploitation, an obscure art of light and the visible was secretly preparing a new knowledge of man.
(171) These 'observatories' had an almost ideal model: the military camp.
(172) A whole problematic then develops: that of an architecture that is no longer built simply to be seen (as with the ostentation of palaces), or to observe the external space (the geometry of fortresses), but to permit an internal, articulated and detailed control – to render visible those who are inside it; in more general terms, an architecture that would operate to transform individuals: to act on those it shelters, to provide a hold on their conduct, to carry the effects of power right to them, to make it possible to know them, to alter them. Stones can make people docile and knowable. . . . In this way the hospital building was gradually organized as an instrument of medical action.
Funny to think that the idea of the panopticon was inspired by observation of scrupulously designed latrines.
(172-173) Similarly, the school building was to be a mechanism for
training. . . . latrines had been installed with half-doors,
so that the supervisor on duty could see the head and legs of the
pupils, and also with side walls sufficiently high 'that those inside
cannot see one another'. This infinitely scrupulous concern with
surveillance is expressed in the architecture by innumerable petty
(173 endnote 2) Jeremy Bentham recounts that it was while visiting the Ecole Militaire that his brother first had the idea of the Panopticon.
(174-175) As the machinery of production became larger and more complex, as the number of workers and the division of labor increased, supervision became ever more necessary and more difficult. . . . Surveillance thus becomes a decisive economic operator both as an internal part of the production machinery and as a specific mechanism in the disciplinary power.
(176-177) By means of such surveillance, disciplinary power became an 'integrated' system, linked from the inside to the economy and to the aims of the mechanism in which it was practiced. It was also organized as a multiple, automatic and anonymous power. . . . The power in the hierarchized surveillance of the disciplines is not possessed as a thing, or transferred as a property; it functions like a piece of machinery. . . . Discipline makes possible the operation of a relational power that sustains itself by its own mechanism and which, for the spectacle of public events, substitutes the uninterrupted play of calculated gazes.
Disciplinary punishment corrective via small mechanisms; infra-penality like Zizek informal, unwritten rules.
At the heart of all disciplinary systems functions a small penal
mechanism. . . . The disciplines established an 'infra-penality';
they partitioned an area that the laws had left empty; they defined
and repressed a mass of behavior that the relative indifference of
the great systems of punishment had allowed to escape.
(179) The order that the disciplinary punishments must enforce is of a mixed nature: it is an 'artificial' order, explicitly laid down by a law, a program, a set of regulations. But it is also an order defined by natural and observable processes: the duration of an apprenticeship, the time taken to perform an exercise, the level of aptitude refer to a regularity that is also a rule.
(179) Disciplinary punishment has the function of reducing gaps. It must therefore be essentially corrective.
Rank in graded system serves as reward or punishment and normalizes, transposition of the system of indulgences.
In discipline, punishment is only one element of a double system:
gratification-punishment. . . . A penal accountancy, constantly
brought up to date, makes it possible to obtain the punitive
balance-sheet of each individual. . . . What we have here is a
of the system of indulgences.
And by the play of this quantification, this circulation of awards
and debits, thanks to the continuous calculation of plus and minus
points, the disciplinary apparatuses hierarchized the 'good' and the
'bad' subjects in relation to one another.
(181) Discipline rewards simply by the play of awards, thus making it possible to attain higher ranks and places; it punishes by reversing this process. Rank in itself serves as a reward or punishments.
Perpetual penality normalizes by imposing comparison, differentiation, hierarchy, homogenization, exclusions; penality of the norm built within flexible space of infra-penality.
The perpetual penality that traverses all points and supervises every
instant in the disciplinary institutions compares, differentiates,
hierarchizes, homogenizes, excludes. In short, it normalizes.
(183) The disciplinary mechanisms secreted a 'penality of the norm', which is irreducible in its principles and functioning to the traditional penality of the law.
(185) The superimposition of the power relations and knowledge relations assumes in the examination all its visible brilliance. It is yet another innovation of the classical age that the historians of science have left unexplored.
(185-186) One of the essential conditions for the epistemological 'thaw' of medicine at the end of the eighteenth century was the organization of the hospital as an 'examining' apparatus. . . . The 'well-disciplined' hospital became the physical counterpart of the medical 'discipline'; this discipline could now abandon its textual character and take its references not so much from the tradition of author-authorities as from a domain of objects perpetually offered for examination.
Epistemological thaw of medicine through disciplines of examination (Sterne begins listening practices in medical contexts).
Similarly, the school became a sort of apparatus of uninterrupted
examination that duplicated along its entire length the operation of
teaching. . . . And just as the procedure of the hospital examination
made possible the epistemological 'thaw' of medicine, the age of the
'examining' school marked the beginnings of a pedagogy that functions
as a science.
(187) 1. The examination transformed the economy of visibility into the exercise of power.
(188) Discipline, however, had its own type of ceremony. It was not the triumph, but the review, the 'parade', an ostentatious form of the examination. In it the 'subjects' were presented as 'objects' to the observation of a power that was manifested only by its gaze.
(189) Let us take this medal [commemorating Louis XIV's first military review] as evidence of the moment when, paradoxically but significantly, the most brilliant figure of sovereign power is joined to the emergence of the rituals proper to disciplinary power.
(189) 2. The examination also introduces individuality into the field of documentation.
(189-190) Hence the formation of a whole series of codes of disciplinary individuality that made it possible to transcribe, by means of homogenization the individual features established by the examination: the physical code of signaling, the medical code of symptoms, the educational or military code of conduct or performance.
Importance of record keeping techniques in epistemological thaw of the sciences of the individual, procedures of objectification, a historical reversal from heroization.
The other innovations of disciplinary writing concerned the
correlation of these elements, the accumulation of documents, their
seriation, the organization of comparative fields making it possible
to classify, to form categories, to determine averages, to fix norms.
The hospitals of the eighteenth century, in particular, were great
laboratories for scriptuary and documentary methods.
(190-191) These small techniques of notation, of registration, of constituting files, of arranging facts in columns and tables that are so familiar to use now, were of decisive importance in the epistemological 'thaw' of the sciences of the individual.
(191) 3. The examination, surrounded by all its documentary techniques, makes each individual a 'case': a case which at one and the same time constitutes an object for a branch of knowledge and a hold for a branch of power.
(192) This turning of real lives into writing is no longer a procedure of heroization; it functions as a procedure of objectification and subjection.
(192) With it are ritualized those disciplines that may be characterized in a word by saying that they are a modality of power for which individual difference is relevant.
(193-194) In a disciplinary regime, on the other hand, individualization is 'descending'. . . . All the sciences, analyses or practices employing the root 'psycho-' have their origin in this historical reversal of the procedures of individualization. . . . The adventure of our childhood no longer finds expression in 'le bon petit Henri', but in the misfortunes of 'little Hans'. The Romance of the Rose is written today by Mary Barnes; in the place of Lancelot, we have Judge Schreber.
Power produces: must describe its effects positively to understand action of disciplines constituting the individual.
(194) The individual is no doubt the fictitious atom of an 'ideological' representation of society; but he is also a reality fabricated by this specific technology of power that I have called 'discipline'. We must cease once and for all to describe the effects of power in negative terms: it 'excludes', it 'represses', it 'censors', it 'abstracts', it 'masks', it 'conceals'. In fact, power produces; it produces reality; it produces domains of objects and rituals of truth.
Begins chapter with another interesting, somewhat macabre account of plague measures.
The following, according to an order published at the end of the
seventeenth century, were the measures to be taken when the plague
appeared in a town.
(198) The plauge as a form, at once real and imaginary, of disorder had as its medical and political correlative discipline.
(200) Bentham's Panopticon is the architectural figure of this composition. . . . The panoptic mechanism arranges spatial unities that make it possible to see constantly and to recognize immediately. In short, it reverses the principle of the dungeon; or rather of its three functions – to enclose, to deprive of light and to hide – it preserves only the first and eliminates the other two.
(200) Each individual, in his place, is securely confined to a cell from which he is seen from the front by the supervisor; but the side walls prevent him from coming into contact with his companions. He is seen, but he does not see; he is the object of information, never a subject in communication. . . . And this invisibility is a guarantee of order.
Internet proxy server analogy to central tower, visible power like Internet acceptable use messages.
Hence the major effect of the Panopticon: to induce in the inmate a
state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the
automatic functioning of power. . . . In view of this, Bentham laid
down the principle that power should be visible and unverifiable. . .
. The Panopticon is a machine for dissociating the see/being seen
dyad: in the peripheric ring, one is totally seen, without ever
seeing; in the central tower, one sees everything without ever being
(202) It is an important mechanism, for it automatizes and disindividualizes power.
(202) A real subjection is born mechanically from a fictitious relation.
(203) Bentham does not say whether he was inspired, in his project, by Le Vaux's menagerie at Versailles. . . . By Bentham's time, this menagerie had disappeared. But one finds in the program of the Panopticon a similar concern with individualizing observation, with characterization and classification, with the analytical arrangement of space.
Panopticon as mechanism for social laboratory, diagram of power mechanism reduced to its ideal form, control by knowledge of constant, asymmetrical surveillance: compare to workplace Internet monitoring.
(203-204) But the
Panopticon was also a laboratory; it could be used as a
machine to carry out experiments, to alter behavior, to train or
correct individuals. . . . The Panopticon may even provide an
apparatus for supervising its own mechanisms.
(205) But the Panopticon must not be understood as a dream building: it is the diagram of a mechanism of power reduced to its ideal form; its functioning, abstracted from any obstacle, resistance or friction, must be represented as a pure architectural and optical system: it is in fact a figure of political technology that may and must be detached from any specific use.
(209) These disciplines, which the classical age had elaborated in specific, relatively enclosed places – barracks, schools, workshops – and whose total implementation had been imagined only at the limited and temporary scale of a plague-stricken town, Bentham dreamt of transforming into a network of mechanisms that would be everywhere and always alert, running through society without interruption in space or in time. The panoptic arrangement provides the formula for this generalization. It programs, at the level of an elementary and easily transferable mechanism, the basic functioning of a society penetrated through and through with disciplinary mechanisms.
Other theorists distinguish discontinuous disciplinary mechanisms of industrial era with continuous control mechanisms of electronic era, although Foucault notes that the ideal penality is indefinite discipline and interrogation without end.
(209) The movement
from one project to the other, from a schema of exceptional
discipline to one of a generalized surveillance, rests on a
historical transformation: the gradual extension of the mechanisms of
discipline throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, their
spread throughout the whole social body, the formation of what might
be called in general the disciplinary society.
(210) But this extension of the disciplinary institutions was no doubt only the most visible aspect of various, more profound processes.
(210-211) 1. The functional inversion of the disciplines. . . . The disciplines function increasingly as techniques for making useful individuals. . . . They become attached to some of the great essential functions: factory production, the transmission of knowledge, the diffusion of aptitudes and skills, the war-machine.
(211) 2. The swarming of disciplinary mechanisms.
(213) 3. The state-control of the mechanisms of discipline.
Police power over the dust of everything that happens, writing immense text by means of complex documentary organization; compare to knowledge metaphor of snow.
Contrast dust model of knowledge to potentials of code/space capta trails (Kitchin and Dodge).
Suggest regressive subjectivity results from default comportment to technological Big Other in which information accrues like dust of everything that happens.
Police power must bear 'over everything': it is not however the
totality of the state nor of the kingdom as visible and invisible
body of the monarch; it is the dust
events, actions, behavior, opinions – 'everything that
(214) And, in order to be exercised, this power had to be given the instrument of permanent, exhaustive, omnipresent surveillance, capable of making all visible, as long as it could itself remain invisible. . . . And this unceasing observation had to be accumulated in a series of reports and registers; throughout the eighteenth century, an immense police text increasingly covered society by means of a complex documentary organization.
(215) The organization of the police apparatus in the eighteenth century sanctioned a generalization of the disciplines that became co-extensive with the state itself. . . . Yet it would be wrong to believe that the disciplinary functions were confiscated and absorbed once and for all by a state apparatus.
Discipline is an entire technology of power, not just institution or apparatus.
(215) 'Discipline' may be identified neither with an institution nor with an apparatus; it is a type of power, a modality for its exercise, comprising a whole set of instruments, techniques, procedures, levels of application, targets; it is a 'physics' or an 'anatomy' of power, a technology.
Subjectivity imbricated in the panoptic machine arousing quote we are much less Greeks than we believe.
(217) it is not
that the beautiful totality of the individual is amputated,
repressed, altered by our social order, it is rather that the
individual is carefully fabricated in it, according to a whole
technique of forces and bodies. We are much less Greeks than we
believe. We are neither in the amphitheater, nor on the stage, but in
the panoptic machine, invested by its effects of power, which we
bring to ourselves since we are part of its mechanism.
(218) The formation of the disciplinary society is connected with a number of broad historical processes – economic, juridico-political and, lastly, scientific – of which it forms part.
(218-219) 1. Generally speaking, it might be said that the disciplines are techniques for assuring the ordering of human multiplicities. . . . For the old principle of 'levying-violence', which governed the economy of power, the disciplines substitute the principle of 'mildness-production-profit'. These are the techniques that make it possible to adjust the multiplicity of mean and the multiplication of the apparatuses of production (and this means not only 'production' in the strict sense, but also the production of knowledge and skills in the school, the production of health in the hospitals, the production of destructive force in the army).
Compare to disciplines as ensemble of minute technical inventions to multiplicity of electronics.
(220) In a word,
the disciplines are the ensemble of minute technical inventions that
made it possible to increase the useful size of multiplicities by
decreasing the inconveniences of the power which, in order to make
them useful, must control them. A multiplicity, whether in a workshop
or a nation, an army or a school, reaches the threshold of a
discipline when the relation of the one to the other becomes
(222) 2. . . . The general juridical form that guaranteed a system of rights that were egalitarian in principle was supported by these tiny, everyday, physical mechanisms, by all those systems of micro-power that are essentially non-egalitarian and asymmetrical that we call the disciplines.
Disciplines as counter-law introduce structure changes favoring the collective over the individual.
disciplines should be regarded as a sort of counter-law. They
have the precise role of introducing insuperable asymmetries and
(224) What generalizes the power to punish, then, is not the universal consciousness of the law in each juridical subject; it is the regular extension, the infinitely minute web of panoptic techniques.
Technological threshold crossed when formation of knowledge and increase of power circularly reinforce each other: a marker of modernity?
(224) 3. Taken one by one, most of these techniques have a long history behind them. But what was new, in the eighteenth century, was that, by being combined and generalized, they attained a level at which the formation of knowledge and the increase of power regularly reinforce one another in a circular process. At this point, the disciplines crossed the 'technological' threshold. . . . It is a double process, then: an epistemological 'thaw' through a refinement of power relations; a multiplication of the effects of power through the formation and accumulation of new forms of knowledge.
Inquisitorial techniques the forerunner of panopticism for methodology of examination for human sciences.
(224-225) But it
must be recognized that, compared with the mining industries, the
emerging chemical industries or methods of national accountancy,
compared with the blast furnaces or the steam engine, panopticism has
received little attention. . . . If a historical equivalent or at
least a point of comparison had to be found for them, it would be
rather in the 'inquisitorial' technique.
(225-226) In fact, the investigation has been the no doubt crude, but fundamental element in the constitution of the empirical sciences; it has been the juridico-political matrix of this experimental knowledge, which, as we know, was very rapidly released at the end of the Middle Ages. . . . On the threshold of the classical age, Bacon, lawyer and statesman, tried to develop a methodology of investigation for the empirical sciences. What Great Observer will produce the methodology of examination for the human sciences?
Indefinite discipline under endless interrogation is the model of the control society.
Panopticism does not yield the totalizing view that is implied in the gaze of the liberal humanist subject, but rather contextual, situated, instrumental, so there really is no big brother watching, only distributed technological unconscious (Hayles).
(227-228) What is now imposed on penal justice as its point of application, its 'useful' object, will no longer be the body of the guilty man set up against the body of the king; nor will it be the juridical subject of an ideal contract; it will be the disciplinary individual. . . . The ideal point of penality today would be an indefinite discipline: an interrogation without end. . . . The public execution was the logical culmination of a procedure governed by the Inquisition. The practice of placing individuals under 'observation' is a natural extension of a justice imbued with disciplinary methods and examination procedures. . . . Is it surprising that prisons resemble factories, schools, barracks, hospitals, which all resemble prisons?
1. Complete and austere institutions
(231) The general form of an apparatus intended to render individuals docile and useful, by means of precise work upon their bodies, indicated the prison institution, before the law ever defined it as the penalty par excellence.
(232-233) Its [time] loss has therefore the same value for all; unlike the fine, it is an 'egalitarian' punishment. The prison is the clearest, simplest, most equitable of penalties. Moreover, it makes it possible to quantify the penalty exactly according to the variable of time. . . . The prison is 'natural', just as the use of time to measure exchanges is 'natural' in our society.
(233) In short, penal imprisonment, from the beginning of the nineteenth century, covered both the deprivation of liberty and the technical transformation of individuals.
(234) Prison 'reform' is virtually contemporary with the prison itself: it constitutes, as it were, its program. From the outset, the prison was caught up in a series of accompanying mechanisms, whose purpose was apparently to correct it, but which seem to form part of its very functioning, so closely have they been bound up with its existence throughout its long history.
(236) This complete 'reformatory' lays down a recoding of existence very different from the mere juridical deprivation of liberty and very different, too, from the simple mechanism of exempla imagined by the reformers at the time of the ideologues.
(236-237) 1. The first principle was isolation. . . . Isolation provides an intimate exchange between the convict and the power that is exercised over him.
(242-243) 2. Penal labor must be seen as the very machinery that transforms the violent, agitated, unreflective convict into a part that plays its role with perfect regularity. . . . If, in the final analysis, the work of the prison has an economic effect, it is by producing individuals mechanized according to the general norms of an industrial society. . . . The labor by which the convict contributes to his own needs turns the thief into a docile worker. This is the utility of remuneration for penal labor; it imposes on the convict the 'moral' form of wages as the condition of his existence.
(244) It [the prison] becomes increasingly an instrument for the modulation of the penalty; an apparatus which, through the execution of the sentence with which it is entrusted, seems to have the right, in part at least, to assume its principle.
(246) Although the principle of the penalty was certainly a legal decision, its administration, its quality and its rigors must belong to an autonomous mechanism that supervises the effects of punishment within the very apparatus that produces them.
(247) All this 'arbitrariness' which, in the old penal system, enabled the judges to modulate the penalty and the princes to ignore it if they wished, all this arbitrariness, which the modern codes have withdrawn from the judicial power, has been gradually reconstituted on the side of the power that administers and supervises punishment. It is the sovereignty of knowledge possessed by the warder.
(247) let us call it the Declaration of Carceral Independence – in it is claimed the right to be a power that not only possesses administrative autonomy, but is also a part of punitive sovereignty.
(248) The cell, the workshop, the hospital. The margin by which the prison exceeds detention is filled in fact by techniques of a disciplinary type. And this disciplinary addition to the juridical is what, in short, is called the 'penitentiary'.
(249) the prisons must be conceived as places for the formation of clinical knowledge about the convicts. . . . In the 1830s, the Panopticon became the architectural program of most prison projects.
(250) But the penitentiary Panopticon was also a system of individualizing and permanent documentation.
(251-252) The delinquent is to be distinguished from the offender by the fact that it is not so much his act as his life that is relevant in characterizing him. The penitentiary operation, if it is to be a genuine re-education, must become the sum total existence of the delinquent, making of the prison a sort of artificial and coercive theater in which his life will be examined from top to bottom.
(253) With Ferrus's classification, we probably have one of the first conversions of the old 'ethnography' of crime into a systematic typology of delinquents.
Criminology possible through knowledge of acts and individuals in terms of offenses and delinquents.
The task of this new knowledge is to define the act 'scientifically'
and above all the individual qua
Criminology is thus made possible.
(255) Delinquency is the vengeance of the prison on justice. It is a revenge formidable enough to leave the judge speechless. It is at this point that the criminologists raise their voices.
(256) Now the 'delinquent' makes it possible to join the two lines and to constitute under the authority of medicine, psychology or criminology, an individual in whom the offender of the law and the object of a scientific technique are superimposed – or almost – one upon the other.
(256) The prison, that darkest region in the apparatus of justice, is the place where the power to punish, which no longer dares to manifest itself openly, silently organizes a field of objectivity in which punishment will be able to function openly as treatment and the sentence be inscribed among the discourses of knowledge.
2. Illegalities and delinquency
The spectacle for this chapter is the chain gang.
From the point of view of the law, detention may be a mere
deprivation of liberty. But the imprisonment that performs this
function has always involved a technical project. . . . From this
transition spring a symptom and a symbol: the replacement, in 1837,
of the chain-gang by the police carriage.
(261) In every town it passed through, the chain-gang brought its festival with it: it was a saturnalia of punishment, a penalty turned into a privilege. . . . The convicts sang marching songs, which rapidly became famous and were repeated everywhere for a long time after. No doubt an echo was to be found in them of the complaints that the broadsheets attributed to criminals – an affirmation of the crime, a black heroization, an evocation of terrible punishments and of the general hate that surrounded them.
(263) It was necessary, therefore, to break with these public rites; to subject the movements of convicts to the same mutation as the punishments themselves; and to bring them, too, under the veil of administrative decency.
(263) But what, in June 1837, was adopted to replace the chain-gang was not the simple covered cart, which had been suggested at one time, but a machine that had been very meticulously designed: a carriage conceived as a moving prison, a mobile equivalent of the Panopticon. A central corridor divided it along its entire length: on either side were six cells in which the two rows of convicts sat facing one another.
(264) And, just as the project of a corrective technique accompanied the principle of punitive detention, the critique of the prison and its methods appeared very early on, in those same years 1820-45; indeed, it was embodied in a number of formulations which – figures apart – are today repeated almost unchanged.
(265) Prisons do not diminish the crime rate.
(265) Detention causes recidivism.
(266) The prison cannot fail to produce delinquents. It does so by the very type of existence that it imposes on its inmates.
(267) The prison makes possible, even encourages, the organization of a milieu of delinquents, loyal to one another, hierarchized, ready to aid and abet any future criminal act.
(267) The conditions to which the free inmates are subjected necessarily condemn them to recidivism. . . . Being on the loose, being unable to find work, leading a life of a vagabond are the most frequent factors in recidivism.
(268) Lastly, the prison indirectly produces delinquents by throwing the inmate's family into destitution.
(269) for the past 150 years they have constituted the seven universal maxims of the good 'penitential condition'.
(269) 1. Penal detention must have as its essential function the transformation of the individual's behavior.
(269) 2. Convicts must be isolated or at least distributed according to the penal gravity of their act, but above all according to age, mental attitude, the technique of correction to be used, the stages of their transformation.
(269) 3. It must be possible to alter the penalties according to the individuality of the convicts, the results that have been obtained, progress or relapses.
(269) 4. Work must be one of the essential elements in the transformation and progressive socialization of convicts.
(270) 5. The education of the prisoner is for the authorities both an indispensable precaution in the interests of society and an obligation to the prisoner.
(270) 6. The prison regime must, at least in part, be supervised and administered by a specialized staff possessing the moral qualities and technical abilities required of educators.
(270) 7. Imprisonment must be followed by measures of supervision and assistance until the rehabilitation of the former prisoner is complete.
(271) The carceral system combines in a single figure discourses and architectures, coercive regulations and scientific propositions, real social effects and invincible utopias, programs for correcting delinquents and mechanisms that reinforce delinquency.
(272) In short, penality does not simply 'check' illegalities; it 'differentiates' them, it provides them with a general 'economy'. And, if one can speak of justice, it is not only because the law itself or the way of applying it serves the interests of a class, it is also because the differential administration of illegalities through the mediation of penality forms part of those mechanisms of domination.
(274) it was against the new system of the legal exploitation of labor that workers' illegalities at the beginning of the nineteenth century developed: from the most violent such as machine-breaking, or the most lasting such as the formation of associations, to the most everyday, such as absenteeism, abandoning work, vagabondage, pilfering raw materials, deception as to the quantity and quality of work completed. A whole series of illegalities was inscribed in struggles in which those struggling knew that they were confronting both the law and the class that had imposed it.
(277) In short, although the juridical opposition is between legality and illegal practice, the strategic opposition is between illegalities and delinquency.
Prison has succeeded in producing specific types of delinquency, pathologized subjects, including prostitution networks and organized crime.
For the observation that prison fails to eliminate crime, one should
perhaps substitute the hypothesis that prison has succeeded extremely
well in producing delinquency, a specific type, a politically or
economically less dangerous – and, on occasion, usable – from of
illegality; in producing delinquents, in an apparently marginal, but
in fact centrally supervised milieu; in producing the delinquent as a
(279) Delinquency, controlled illegality, is an agent for the illegality of the dominant groups. The setting up of prostitution networks in the nineteenth century is characteristic in this respect.
(280 endnote 16) The case of the Italian Mafia transplanted to the United States and used both to extract illicit profits and for political ends is a fine example of the colonization of an illegality of popular origin.
(280) It is also an instrument for the illegality with which the very exercise of power surrounds itself. . . . a whole extra-legal functioning of power was partly assured by the mass of reserve labor constituted by the delinquents: a clandestine police force and standby army at the disposal of the state.
(281-282) Delinquency functions as a political observatory. In their turn, the statisticians and sociologists have made use of it, long after the police. . . . So that one should speak of an ensemble whose three terms (police-prison-delinquency) support one another and form a circuit that is never interrupted. Police surveillance provides the prison with offenders, which the prison transforms into delinquents, the targets and auxiliaries of police supervisions, which regularly send back a certain number of them to prison.
(283) The Shakespearian age when sovereignty confronted abomination in a single character had gone; the everyday melodrama of police power and of the complicities that crime formed with power was soon to begin.
(286) The combination of the fait divers and the detective novel has produced for the last hundred years or more an enormous mass of 'crime stories' in which delinquency appears both as very close and quite alien, a perpetual threat to everyday life, but extremely distant in its origin and motives, both everyday and exotic in the milieu in which it takes place.
(288-289) In short, a whole effort was being made to reverse this monotonous discourse on crime, which sought both to isolate it as a monstrosity and to depict it as the work of the poorest class.
(290) The irony with which the judge tried to envelop indiscipline in the majesty of the law and the insolence with which the accused reinscribed indiscipline among the fundamental rights represent for penality an exemplary scene.
(291) Confronted with discipline on the face of the law, there is illegality, which puts itself forward as a right; it is indiscipline, rather than the criminal offense, that causes the rupture.
3. The carceral
(293) The date I would choose [for the completion of the carceral system] would be 22 January 1840, the date of the official opening of Mettray.
Function of training.
(293-294) Why Mettray? Because it is the disciplinary form at its most extreme, the model in which are concentrated all the coercive technologies of behavior. . . . the entire parapenal institution, which is created in order not to be a prison, culminates in the cell, on the walls of which are written in black letters: 'God sees you.'
No doubt many works capitalize on this being as perpetual assessment emerging in various domains of discourse by orthopedists of individuality producing submissive subjects, like Florida school testing: computational rendering of individual bodies at Mettray foreshadows Nazi atrocities and modern bureaucracies of embodiment; good humanities definition (link in Mitcham) or model for AI, needing supervisory control everywhere the discipline imposed on working code redoubled, both in its overall programming component of ultra determinative nature docility, and within virtual virtual realities where such beings live.
(294-295) This superimposition of different models makes it possible to indicate, in its specific features, the function of 'training'. . . . They were in a sense technicians of behavior: engineers of conduct, orthopedists of individuality. Their task was to produce bodies that were both docile and capable. . . . Training was accompanied by permanent observation; a body of knowledge was being constantly built up from the everyday behavior of the inmates; it was organized as an instrument of perpetual assessment. . . . This information is written down on a board on which everything concerning each inmate is noted in turn, his stay at the colony and the place in which he is sent when he leaves' (Ducpetiaux, 1851, 61). The modeling of the body produces a knowledge of the individual, the apprenticeship of the techniques induces modes of behavior and the acquisition of skills is inextricably linked with the establishment of power relations; strong, skilled agricultural workers are produced; in this very work, provided it is technically supervised, submissive subjects are produced and a dependable body of knowledge is built up about them. This disciplinary technique exercised upon the body had a double effect: a 'soul' to be known and a subjection to be maintained.
Continuing the analogy, apply this apprenticeship in discipline to learning programming.
The essential element of its program was to subject the future cadres
to the same apprenticeships and to the same coercions as the inmates
themselves: they were 'subjected as pupils to the discipline that,
later, as instructors, they would themselves impose'. They were
taught the art of power relations. It was the first training
college in pure discipline: the
'penitentiary' was not simply a project that sought its justification
in 'humanity' or its foundations in a 'science', but a technique that
was learnt, transmitted and which obeyed general norms.
(296) But the supervision of normality was firmly encased in a medicine or a psychiatry that provided it with a sort of 'scientificity'; it was supported by a judicial apparatus which, directly or indirectly, give it legal justification.
Carceral archipelago and subtle, graduated carceral net good images for disciplinary society.
Mettray, a punitive model, is at the limit of strict penality. It was
most famous of a whole series of institutions which, well beyond the
frontiers of criminal law, constituted what one might call the
(297) Yet the very principle of extra-penal incarceration was in fact never abandoned. . . . But what is still more important is that it was homogenized, through the mediation of the prison, on the one hand with legal punishments and, on the other, with disciplinary mechanisms. . . . A subtle, graduated carceral net, with compact institutions, but also separate and diffused methods, assumed responsibility for the arbitrary, widespread, badly integrated confinement of the classical age.
(298) And, lastly, this great carceral network reaches all the disciplinary mechanisms that function throughout society.
(298) We have seen that, in penal justice, the prison transformed the punitive procedure into a penitentiary technique; the carceral archipelago transported this technique from the penal institution to the entire social body.
Excellent summary of the book.
(299-300) 1. The generality of the punitive function that the eighteenth century sought in the 'ideological' technique of representations and signs now had as its support the extension, the material framework, complex, dispersed, but coherent, of the various carceral mechanisms. . . . The carceral network linked, through innumerable relations, the two long, multiple series of the punitive and the abnormal.
Fulfills dream of living writing, dream of information, artificial intelligence in the form of performativity of pedagogical curriculum and professional networks.
2. The carceral, with its far-reaching networks, allows the
recruitment of major 'delinquents'. . . . There was a sort of
disciplinary 'training', continuous and compelling, that had
something of the pedagogical curriculum and something of
the professional network.
Careers emerged from it, as secure, as predictable, as those of
public life: assistance associations, residential apprenticeships,
penal colonies, disciplinary battalions, prisons, hospitals,
(301) The carceral network does not cast the unassimilable into a confused hell; there is no outside. . . . It saves everything, including what it punishes. . . . In short, the carceral archipelago assures, in the depths of the social body, the formation of delinquency on the basis of subtle illegalities, the overlapping of the latter by the former and the establishment of a specified criminality.
(302-303) 3. There is a strict economy that has the effect of rendering as discreet as possible the singular power to punish. . . . Prison continues, on those who are entrusted to it, a work begun elsewhere, which the whole of society pursues on each individual through innumerable mechanisms of discipline.
Compare normalizing of acceptability of punishment to robotic moment.
(303) By operating at every level of the social body and by mingling ceaselessly the art of rectifying and the right to punish, the universality of the carceral lowers the level from which it becomes natural and acceptable to be punished.
Universal reign of normative is the repression of civilization distributed through economy of panoptic power.
(304) 4. With this new economy of power, the carceral system, which is its basic instrument, permitted the emergence of a new form of 'law': a mixture of legality and nature, prescription and constitution, the norm. . . . The judges of normality are present everywhere. We are in the society of the teacher-judge, the doctor-judge, the educator-judge, the 'social worker'-judge; it is on them that the universal reign of the normative is based; and each individual, wherever he may find himself, subjects to its his body, his gestures, his behavior, his aptitudes, his achievements.
Functional, trans-embodiment definition of individuality that nonetheless essentially imbricates embodiment and combinatorial structure control affordances.
(305) 5. If, after the age of 'inquisitorial' justice, we have entered the age of 'examinatory' justice, if, in an even more general way, the method of examination has been able to spread so widely throughout society, and to give rise in part to the sciences of man, one of the great instruments for this has been the multiplicity and close overlapping of the various mechanisms of incarceration. . . . This policy required the involvement of definite relations of knowledge in relations of power; it called for a technique of overlapping subjection and objectification; it brought with it new procedures of individualization. The carceral network constituted one of the armatures of this power-knowledge that has made the human sciences historically possible. Knowable man (soul, individuality, consciousness, conduct, whatever it is called) is the object-effect of this analytical investment, of this domination-observation.
Interesting argument for revealing by tracing counters of other phenomena, like Zizek deploying curvature of space analogy.
(306) 6. The first is that which reduces the utility (or increases its inconveniences) of a delinquency accommodated as a specific illegality, locked up and supervised; thus the growth of great national or international illegalities directly linked to the political and economic apparatuses (financial illegalities, information services, arms and drugs trafficking, property speculation) makes it clear that the somewhat rustic and conspicuous work force of delinquency is proving ineffective.
Field effect model of societal control with good juxtaposition of carceral city and body of the condemned to enclose the book; still distant roar of battle, discontentment of repressed human animality.
Compare correspondent in La Phalange article describing the carceral city to a blog.
(307-308) the model of the carceral city [by correspondent in La Phalange article, like a blog] is not, therefore, the body of the king . . . but a strategic distribution of elements of different natures and levels. . . . In this central and centralized humanity, the effect and instrument of complex power relations, bodies and forces subjected by multiple mechanisms of 'incarceration', objects for discourses that are in themselves elements for this strategy, we must hear the distant roar of battle.
Does this require us, docilely, to therefore study the book as a sort of procedural rhetoric? It got itself onto my exam reading list at least.
(308) At this point I end a book that must serve as a historical background to various studies of the power of normalization and the formation of knowledge in modern society.
Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York: Vintage Books, 1995. Print.