1. Please describe Spierenburg’s criticism of Discipline and Punish (p. 158 – 159).
Like Durkheim and marx, F’s explanation only provides a partial part of punishment
Neither punishment nor penal history can be fully understood in terms of power
A wider and more pluralistic view is needed!
Historians were hesitant with F’s work.
One criticism was when and why was the practice of public torture abandoned. In F’s work, he
says that public torture was used between 1750-1820 and this is what historians (like
Spierenburg) were challenging. S says that elimination of public torture should not be
viewedas an independent event but instead as a stage in changing privatized punishments. In
addition, the elimination of public torture were in fact ended near 1600.
Langbein suggests that the change in law may be a result of abandonment of torture. Brown
suggests the whole confession system( using torture to take evidence) is set upon religious
beliefs and had been altered before any penal practice was taken place.
F cannot ignore or reduce facts and just say that it is all because of power
Also criticised for failing to supply the kind of evidence that the argument makes. We were told
that prison form found its way into our society through disciplinary strategies rather than an
outcome in penal theories. However Patton points out that there needs to be evidence to
support and none were offered
2. What kinds of arguments were used against Foucault’s conception of the creation of a
criminal class? (p. 160)
F presents no evidence. He only lists the characteristics of modern punishment and implies
that it started almost 200 years ago. Research showed that it had only started in the early 12th
century and still not settled now, ex: fines. Additionally, discipline and normalization had
never banished punitive penal process. Our penal system now is still punitive
3. Why is Discipline and Punish not a historical work? (p. 162)
It should be viewed as a work that purposes a new way of thinking
We study punishment in a way where we assume everything is oriented to enhance control
and max power.
4. Why is the radical perspective often insightful and revealing? (p. 163)
It produces questions and later answered with evidence and explanations
He does not believe that this penal system will fail
5. What did prevent us from application of several very effective forms of punishment to
criminal offenders? (p. 164).
Cultural and sensibilities limits which forms of punishment are tolerable (ex: no brain
washing, blood sanctions)
6. What might be an alternative explanation of the ‘prison’s survival’ (The prison had been
retained despite its apparent defects)? (p. 164 - 166)
Prison does not control the criminal, it controls working class by creating criminals. This was
how prisons could survive for that long.
F seems to just take the consequences of prisons to be his explanation but this is considered as
invalid reasoning but functionalists
How are we to measure if a prison fails or not? If the scale was set by utopians then clearly a
failure, but the expectations were unrealistic anyways so poor scale. If scale was made based
on schools, hospital or social work, then failure may not be that obvious
If we leave F’s explanation of prison failure behind, there are other explanations for why
prisons survive. D suggests that prisons satisfy a popular desire to put punishment on law-
breakers and have them dismissed from social life. Or maybe society needs an ultimate