2015年12月5日 星期六

Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison

Recently I have read the following book. The book has four parts, some of its main points are:

Book title: Foucault, Michel; trans. Alan Sheridan. 1975. Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison. New York: Vantage Books.

Main points:

- part one was about the torture of the body. If the penalties in its most sever forms no longer address itself to the body, on what did it laid hold? Since it was no longer the body it must be the soul (p.16). Judges gradually took to judging something other than crimes, namely the ‘soul’ of the criminal. The question of the judge was not longer simply “has the act been established and is it punishable?” but also ‘what is this act?’ (p.19).
- this book was intended as a correlative history of the modern soul and a new power to judge (p.23).
- by an analysis of penal leniency as a technique of power, one might understand both how man, the soul, the normal or abnormal individual had come to duplicate crime as object of penal intervention, and in what way giving birth to man as an object of knowledge for a discourse with a scientific status (p.24).
- the body become a useful force only if it was both a productive body and subjected body. There might be“knowledge” of the body, this knowledge and this mastery constituted what might be called the political technology of the body (p.26).
- the public execution was to be understood not only as a judicial, but also as a political ritual. In some cases a ceremony by which power was manifested (p.47).
- there could be no doubt that the existence of public tortures and executions were connected with something different. Rusche and Kirchheimer were right to see it as the effect of a system of production in which labour power and therefore the human body had the commercial value that was conferred on them in an economy of an industrial type (p.54).
- we shall later see that the truth-power relation remained at the heart of all mechanism of punishment (p.55).

- part two was about punishment. The need for punishment without torture was first formulated as a cry from the heart or from an outraged nature. In the worst of murderers, there was one thing, at least, to be respected when one punished: his ‘humanity’ (p.74).
- we had to recount the birth and the early day of ‘leniency. The reform had to be situated in a process that historian had recently uncovered: crimes seemed to lose their violence, while punishment lost some of their intensity. There was a decrease in murders.  Frequent delinquency of the poorest classes was superseded by limited but skilled delinquency (p.75).
- this transformation could not be separated from several underlying g process. The first was the a change in the operation of economic pressures, a general rise in the standard of living, a large demographic expansion, an increase in wealth and property that needed protection (p.76).
- the criticism of reformers was directed so much at the weakness or cruelty of those in authority, as at a bad economy of power. There was too much power on the side of the prosecution which possessed almost unlimited means of pursuing investigation (p.79).
- the peasants’ refusal to pay certain state or ecclesiastical rent was not necessarily disapproved by the landowners, smuggling was very widely supported. In short, the reciprocal interplay of illegality formed part of the political and economic life of society (p.84)
- in the  second half of the 18th century, the process tended to reverse, the popular target of illegality tended to be not so much rights, as goods: pilfering and theft tended replace smuggling, and armed struggle against the tax agents (p.84).
- bourgeoisie found it difficult to support illegality when it was a question of its own property. Nothing could be more typical of this than the problem of peasant delinquency at the end of the 18th century (p.85).
- illegality was intolerable in commercial and industrial ownership: development of the ports, the appearance of great warehouse, huge workshop also necessitated a severe repression of illegality (p.85).
- the illegality of property was separated from the illegality of rights. This distinction represented a class opposition because the bourgeoisie was to reserve to itself the illegality of right: to ensure for itself an immense sector of economic circulation by a skillful manipulation of gaps in the law (p.87).
-the semio-technique with which one tried to arm the power to punish rested on 6 major rules: a. the rule of minimum quantity. B. the rule of sufficient ideality. C. the rule of lateral effects. D. the rule of perfect certainty. E. the rule of common truth. F. the rule of optimal specification. (pp.94-98).
- beneath the humanization of the penalty, what one found were all those rules that authorized, or rather demanded ‘leniency’, as a calculated economy of power to punish. But they also provoked a shift in the point of application of this power, it was no longer the body, it was the mind (p.101).
- to find the suitable punishment of a crime was to find the disadvantage whose idea was such that it robbed forever the idea of a crime of any attraction. It was a matter of establishing the representation of pairs of opposing values, or setting up a complex of obstacle-signs. These obstacle signs had to constitute the new arsenal of penalty. But in order to function they had to obey several conditions: A. it had to be as un-arbitrary as possible. B. this complex sign had to engage with the mechanics of forces: reduce the desire that made the crime attractive. C. one had to use a temporal modulation. Punishment could function only if it came to an end. D. for the convict, the penalty was a mechanics of signs, interests and duration. The punishment was directed about all at others, at all the potentially guilty. E. while torture was the example on terror. The examples now based on the lesson, the discourse, the representation of public morality. F. to make possible in society an inversion of the traditional discourse of crime, to extinguish the dubious glory of the criminals (pp.104-112).
- how could detention become in so short at time one of the most general forms of legal punishment?  The explanation usually given was the formation of a number of great mode of punitive imprisonment, appeared to have made it possible to overcome double obstacle constituted by the ago-old rule of law and the despotic function of imprisonment (p.120).
- the penitentiary techniques conceived in the second half of the 18th century provided 3 institution to be set up with its own principle and developed in its own particular direction (p.121).
- the maison de force at Ghent organized penal labour above all around economic imperative. The reason given was that idleness was the general cause of most crimes (p.121).
- the Howard and Blackstone institution put into operation in 1779 when the independence of US put an end to deportation. The preamble of the bill written by Blackstone and Howard describe individual imprisonment in term of its triple function as example to be feared, instrument of conversion and condition for an apprenticeship (p.121).
- then came the Philadelphia model. It was associated in people’s mind with the political innovation of the American system. There was compulsory work in workshop, the prisoner were kept constantly occupied (p.124).
- it could be said that in the late 18th century, one was confronted by three ways of organizing the power to punish. The first was based on the old monarchical law. The other two both referred to a preventive, utilitarian, corrective conception of a right to punish that belonged to the society as a whole (p.130).

- part three was about discipline. The classical age discovered the body as an object and target of power. What was new in the projects of docility that interested the 18th century so much was that there were several new things in the project of docility. First there was the scale of control, it was a question of working it ‘retail’, individually, exercising upon it a subtle coercion. There was the object of control for economy, the efficiency of movement. Lastly there was the modality. These methods made possible the meticulous control of the operation of the body (p.136).
- the historical moment of the disciplines was the moment when an art of the human body was born. What was then being formed was a policy of coercion that acted upon the body. The human body was entering a machinery of power that explored it. A ‘political anatomy’ which was also a ‘mechanics of power’ was being born (p.138).
- if economic exploitation separated the force and the product of labour, let us say that disciplinary coercion established in the body the constricting link between and increased aptitude and an increased domination (p.138).
- the first of the great operations of discipline was the constitution of tableaux vivants, which transformed the confused, useless or dangerous multitudes into ordered multiplicity (p.148).
- discipline was no longer simply an art of distributing bodies, of extracting time from them and accumulating it, but of composing forces in order to obtain an efficient machine (p.164).
- the success of disciplinary power derived no doubt from the use of simple instruments; hierarchical observation, normalizing judgement and the examination (p.170).
- in short, the art of punishing, in the regime of disciplinary power, was aimed neither at expiation nor at repression. It brought five distinct operations into play: it referred individual actions to a whole. It differentiated individuals from one another. It measured in quantitative terms and hierarchized in terms of value of ability. Lastly it traced the limit that would define difference in relation to all other differences (pp.182-3).
- examination introduced a whole mechanism that linked to a certain type of the formation of knowledge a certain form of the exercise of power (p.187).
- Bentham’s panopticon was based on the principle that at the periphery an annular building. At the center there was a tower. This tower was pierced with wide windows that open into the inner side of the ring. The periphery building was divided into cells (p.200).
- Panopticism was the general principle of a new political anatomy whose object and end were not the relations of sovereignty but the relations of discipline (p.208).
- discipline might be identified neither with an institution nor with an apparatus; it was a type of power. It might be taken over either by specialized institution, or by institution that used it as an essential instrument of particular nature (school, hospital) (p.215).
- if the economic take-off of the west began with the technique that made possible of the accumulation of capital, it might perhaps be said that the methods for administering the accumulation of men made  possible a political take-off in relation to the tradition, ritual, costly, violent form of power (pp.220-1).
- discipline was the unitary technique by which the body was reduced as a political force at the lease cost and maximized as a useful force (p.221).
- the extension of discipline method had received little attention compared with the development at the about the same time of many other technologies – agronomical, industrial, economic (p.224).

- part four was about prison. The reform laid down a different re-coding that was different from the mere juridical deprivation of liberty at the time of the ideologues. First was the principle of isolation, the isolation of prison from one another. (p.236).
- it should be noted that critiques of the prison always took one of the two direction: either that the prison was insufficiently corrective, or that in attempting to be corrective it lost its power as punishment, and that prison was double economic error: directly, by its intrinsic cost and indirectly, by the cost of the delinquency that it did not abolish (p.268).
- people no longer fighting against the tax farmers, the king’s agent, it was against entrepreneurs who introduced more machines, lower wages and longer working hours and made the factory regulation more strict that a whole peasant illegality developed. Those struggling know that they were confronting both the law and the class that had imposed it (p.274).

- the author fixes the date for the completion of the carceral system at 22nd January 1840 when the officials opened Mettray. It was the disciplinary form at its most extreme, a model in which was concentrated with all the coercive technologies of behavior (p.293).