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Criminology (771)
CRIM 2650 (97)
Anita Lam (58)

2650 L3.docx

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York University
CRIM 2650
Anita Lam

o Lecture Overview 1. Brief recap 2. Foucault and critical theory 3. Foucault vs. the Marxists: Power 4. Power-knowledge 5. Discourse 1. Brief Recap o Mode of production in society: the ways in which develop and produce material goods and services in society. (3 modes, capitalist, socialist and communistic) o Capitalist mode of production: bourgeoisie(own means, materials and resources) vs. proletariat (all they have is their own labour power to sell) -> class struggle due to different goals  Maximize wages through unionizing for proletariat  Under communist mode of production there will be only one class and class struggle would be eliminated. o How can law be legitimate if it isn't proportionate among classes o Instrumental Marxism:  State= tool for capitalist class and state functions to control, preserve and maintain power of capitalist class by controlling lower classes.  Laws tended to oppress working classes; capitalists wanted the working class to remain in subordinate position o Structural Marxism  More sophisticated than instrumental  They deny that law is exclusive domain for the rich  Instead of arguing that law maintains long-term interests of the capitalist class it maintains the capital system and when law punishes any member who opposes this long- term existence of the system ….  Administrative criminology was interested in policy oriented research. The policies were used to legitimize the system; pathology of lower classes so theories support the ruling classes oppression of working class. o Reflexive about what it means to do criminology  Marxist criminology forces us to think about the work that we do; theory is no longer innocent and we need to be careful in how we construct theories to protect people's rights. 2. Foucault o French philosopher o Apolitical definition of ideology o Interested in studying origin of ideas o Taught history.. o Interested in historically contingent ways that we as a society think and the effect of our ideaas and why some ideas get elevated to status of truth o Critical theory: the conditions that make something possible  What are the economic conditions that made society possible ?  Historical conditions that make our knowledge possible and that make human subjects possible. o Historical conditions that make the human subject possible  Humans as political subjects: subjected to state power and expected to do civic duties (ex vote)  Humans have a sense of themselves: we have identity and self-knowledge; we are s subject because we have subjectivity. o Subjectification  There is therefore no deep human nature for is to discover; human nature isn't a natural given  There is no human nature to discover and we have no free will.  Free will is seen in rational choice and Beccaria  Focault says there is no way we can think of individual as existing apart from broader social forces because they make us possible as human subject and these social forces get inside of us as well through the process of internalization. We therefore cannot be seen to make choices that are purely our own. Society snd culture are not independent of us because they make us and live inside us. o Power and knowledge ranges among social institutions o No deep truth about human nature o Problematizes concept of free will (vs. social contract theorists) Foucault on Criminology ‘Have you ever read any criminological texts? They are staggering. And I say this out of astonishment, not aggressiveness, because I fail to comprehend how the discourse of criminology has been able to go on at this level. One has the impression that is of such utility, is needed so urgently and rendered so vital for the working of the system, that it does not even need to seek a theoretical justification for itself, or even simply a coherent framework. [...] I think one needs to investigate why such a ‘learned’ discourse became so indispensable to the functioning of the nineteenth-century penal system.’ oFocault does t like criminology. o….as a kind of discourse to legitimate it oWe need to understand how to theorize power 3. Three Main Approaches to Power 1. Power over o Effects of power are unpredictable o Power over a person or group of people o Quantity: how much power do you have over this person? o Quality: different forms of power have different effects o Sexual power doesn’t look like economic power but it is a power  Attractiveness, sexual expertise, charm.  Can be born into wealthy family  Get good education  For sexual power the above route is different: for sexual power you can work on your attractiveness (plastic surgery)  The form of power will tell us how it exerts itself on other people  For foucault the effects of power are always unpredictable.  For marxists the power is predictable in its effects 1. Power Storage o Power as quantity to be accumulated o Since it is accumulated you start considering distributions of power in society  Marxist conception of power: power storage when wealth is used as proxy for power; wealth is therefore s quantity that can be accumulated and stored. • Power is localized (e.g. State power): we think that we can find power in a particular source or location o Vs. Foucault  Power is everywhere: power isn't exclusively localized and power is not the sole domain of state. Power is everywhere because it comes from everywhere and every group in society will exercise and be subjected to power. Therefore if everyone can exercise power it is not exclusive to authorities and power is about the overall effect of its strategic positions.  Power is a strategic relation: not a structure and not something that is localized to single institution. o Marx: Base-Superstructure Model  Focault puts a big X on the 'base structure of society' Foucault on Power o Power is not a structure: it is relation between people and institutions; power is local and unstable; it is found in everyday places and interactions o Power is not a zero-sum game: there are clear winners and losers and there Is only one outcome where one team wins and the other loses.  In capitalist society there is one winner: capitalists  Foucault disagreed with the above because it is unclear who is winning or losing since power is not an internally fixed substance that only one group possesses and the other doesn't  Power is fluid and dynamic o E.g.  Video on how the kid cries because dad isnt buying what he wants  Conventionally the parent has the power , but if we see this as a zero-sum game  Father wins, kid loses : parent might follow up with punishment of the kid ; father is like the state which has a list of prohibitions and if laws are violated, the offender is punished. (zero-sum)  Parentgives in and child wins: child exercises power sgains parent; it is a forced relation because the power is strategically exercised; force is exerted on another person to do something. There is a purposeful strategy to create particular outcome. You cannot pitch and fit on s stranger, this power only works between parent and child. Parent here loses  Power is not a zero- sum game: you can compromise by proposing to buy a small bag  Not a zero sum: both refuse (lose-lose): parent does nothing snd kid considers screaming (this is called an act of resistance*) a. For Marxists resistance is rebellion for Foucault it is small acts of resistance that occur on local everyday basis, we start seeing how power has unpredictable effects. Ex: kid might comply or resist in compromise. b. Powers overtime will shift and the power relationship will shift (ex: children will eventually gain more power over their aging parent) c. Power is more than just possession : because power is s force relation snd it is something you exercise. Power is an achievement and an end product. d. Who benefits if law os structured this way? (marxists) for fau it a how question (how does power work how is it exercised and what are its effects) o Who  How 3. Power to do something that might otherwise not be possible o Repressive power  For Marxists the capitalist power is repressive and it is a force that constantly says no. o Repressive hypothesis (Foucault’s History of Sexuality): sex was freer before the Victorian Age  In 19th century, he says we as western society begin to believe the repressive hypothesis. We though tthat ses was freer before bictorian sge snd during victorian age we became sexually repressed and today we are the other Victorians because we still sexually repressed. He says we don’t talk about sex and we chose to not talk about it because it is an intimidating subject ex: some states in US they only teach abstinence not sexual education.  …says this is not true because victorians talked a
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