Discipline and Punish

Michel Foucault


In the Middle Ages there were gaols and dungeons, but punishment was for the most part a spectacle. The economic changes and growing popular dissent of the eighteenth century made necessary a more systematic control over the individual members of society, and this in effect meant a change from punishment, which chastised the body, to reform, which touched the soul.

Foucault shows the development of the Western system of prisons, police organizations, administrative and legal hierarchies for social control - and the growth of disciplinary society as a whole. He also reveals that schools, factories, barracks and hospitals all share a common organization, in which it is possible to control the use of an individual's time and space hour by hour.