Discipline and Punish Setting & Symbolism

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France

Foucault's discussion of the history of punishment is mostly centered around France. His commentary on "supplice," the style of punishment that involved public executions and torture, derives from accounts under the Ancien Régime, the French absolutist government that lasted from the fifteenth century to 1789, the start of the French Revolution. Foucault's depiction of modern disciplinary society also focuses on France. The rise of the middle-class and the efforts of the penal reformers are couched in French society.

The scaffold

The scaffold, the elevated wooden platform upon which criminals would be executed, symbolizes the era of torture for pre-revolutionary punishment. With its visibility in public spaces, the scaffold is a figurative representation of the monarch's power to commit revenge on its subjects. Foucault often writes of the "spectacle" of executions on the scaffold, contending that it heightened the intensity of punishment by becoming the symbolic threshold "between...

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This section contains 441 words
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