2011-09-14 Introduction 2.docx

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Western University
Classical Studies
Classical Studies 2301A/B
Randall Pogorzelski

Crime and Punishment in Ancient Greece and RomeSeptember 14 2011We are much less Greeks than we believe Michel Foucault Discipline and Punish page 217 thFrench historian in late 20 centurywe are much less Greek than we thinkcommon argumentclassical cultures are the foundation of modern western cultureit is worth studying ancient Greece because in some sense we are still GreekGreecenation governed by democracydemospeople cratospowerdemocracybut Foucault said we are not like Greekdemocracy today is not the same thing as democracy in classical Athenspolitical right to a small group of young adult menancient democracy significantly different than today women and men allowed to voteAthenians different from ancient crime and punishment are concepts involving spectacle while modern crime and punishment are rather involved with surveillance To render accessible to a multitude of men the inspection of a small number of objects this was the problem to which the architecture of temples theatres and circuses respondedWith spectacle there was a predominance of public life the intensity of festivals sensual proximityIn these rituals in which blood flowed society found a new vigour and formed for a moment a single great bodyThe modern age poses the opposite problem To procure for a small number or even for a single individual the instantaneous view of a great multitude Foucault Discipline and Punish 216 crime and punishment are inverted in the modern worldin the ancient world crime is invisible but huge crowds focused on the individual criminal punishmentin the modern world one individual watches all crime but punishment is hidden in prisonsin the ancient world the individual is an object and the community as a whole is the viewing subjectcommunity does the looking and look at the individualmodern worldoppositethe individual is now a viewing subject and the community or society as a whole is the objectancient ideas of criminality focus on the effects of the communitymodern ideas of criminality focus on the psychology and the agency of the individual within society
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