Discipline and Punish - Section 2, Part 1 Summary & Analysis

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Summary

Foucault begins the next section, “Generalized punishment,” with a late eighteenth century account for a call for penal reform. At that time, protests against public executions became increasingly common by lawyers, intellectuals, and government officials. The reformers viewed punishment during the absolutism as a violent interaction between the King and the people; instead, they argued, “criminal justice should simply punish” (74).

This call for reform, Foucault argues, was performed under a pretense of concern over the inhumanity of torture. He suggests that the call was rather a strategic move on the part of the middle class to limit the monarchy’s power. The move away from torture led to the “man-measure . . . of power (74). In order to explain this new form of power, Foucault writes that we should not simply look to the reformers of the penal system, but that we should examine the social...

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This section contains 1,745 words
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