Lecture 8 20140405
Postmodern Explanations of Crime: Foucault
Postmodern Criminal Thought: The End of Grand Narratives
From this perspective, crime is not simply a violation of formal law or an objective fact that can be
discovered by using the scientific method
• Crimes are linguistic constructions made by official institutions
• Laws are structures of domination that have led to increased repression rather than to liberty
• Critical observers argued that the state’s law and order efforts at correcting individual behavior were
directed at those who were least able to resist the official language of the state
1. Like Marxist and feminist, less powerful maybe be biased on gender, race, and so forth
• Postmodernism opposes the intellectual and legal machinery of modernism and the conventional forms
of legality, illegality, and crime that criminology conventionally investigates
1. Different modes of operation per state
2. Enlightenment notion that we are progressing towards an evolutionary state are highly
questioned, future states maybe different
• Family affected criminology
• Interest on prison and crime and how it came into being
• He looks at how prison is constructed
• He wrote a book called Discipline and Punish
• His idea was used to look at how larger items in society relates
• 1960’s1970s—institutional prisons, movements outside it from France and Europe
• He was an activist: he was involved in an Organization called French Active Prison Group • He studied knowledge and power; he studied in political, law, medicine, and criminal institutions.
• Staffing of prisons, treatment of prisoners were questioned
• He became interested with law power and knowledge controls individuals
• He looks at the rise of prisons
• Discipline and Punish starts off of the torture of Damon in Paris—execution in front of a crowd of
o He talks about was the execution in front of everyone an acceptable form of punishment?
o Punishment is enacted through rituals of torture and torturing the body of condemned man—it
is violent, ritualistic, and spectacular.
• The Criminal and Criminology
• The Prison did not ‘discover delinquents’ but rather it ‘fabricated them.’
The Spectacle of the Scaffold
• Form of deterrence and creates fear and instills fear in the public
• Every punishment used the essential components of pain and torture
• Has to involve pain and has to involve the public: power of the sovereign—the king at the time displays
their ability to rule is by having public displays of torture—penal display of torture
• It shows the ruling elites power
• If you do not obey the king you are subject to torture, and this is how the King keeps his power
The 2 part of his book: The Schedule
• The second chapter talks about the schedule what happens in prison. You are highly regulated and
prisons can thrive to immune mode of punishments. • Under modern systems it is very different
• What leads to this radical shift quickly?
1. Lower class begin to revoke the executions—it no longer was acceptable and became
unacceptable power of use by the king
2. Kings and rulers realized that it no longer instilled fear in the town
3. In an around the 1800’s there was criticism of external form of violence
4. Explicit pain and torture is not something that governments realized they should not be involved
5. Punishment no longer takes place in the public and not a spectacle and happens in the prison
6. Legal proceedings were in private and the punishment was public
7. In the modern world, legal proceedings were in public and the punishment was private
8. Qualitative punishment rather tan quantitative
9. Torture is done on the body, and it it was to inflict pain on the body
10. The second chapter says punishment becomes a method of therapy—changing the soul,
consciousness, heart, and will—it is about changing the individual, reforming the individual.
11. Creating corrective punishment—we talk about Canada Corrections—it is very much about
o "Art. 17. The prisoners' day will begin at six in the morning in winter and at five in summer. They
will work for nine hours a day throughout the year. Two hours a day will be devoted to
instruction. Work and the day will end at nine o'clock in winter and at eight in summer.
o Art. 18Rising . At the first drumroll, the prisoners must rise and dress in silence, as the
supervisor opens the cell doors. At the second drumroll, they must be dressed and make their
beds. At the third, they must line up and proceed to the chapel for Morning Prayer. There is a
fiveminute interval between each drumroll.
o Art. 19. The prayers are conducted by the chaplain and followed by a moral or religious
reading. This exercise must not last more than half an hour.
o Art. 20Work . At a quarter to six in the summer, a quarter to seven in winter, the prisoners go
down into the courtyard where they must wash their hands and faces, and receive their first
ration of bread. Immediately afterwards, they form into workteams and go off to work, which
must begin at six in summer and seven in winter.
o Art. 21Meal . At