QUICKLET ON MICHEL FOUCAULT'S DISCIPLINE & PUNISH: THE BIRTH OF THE PRISON (CLIFFNOTES-LIKE SUMMARY)
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ABOUT THE BOOK To read and understand Foucault is to know that you are not a free man, but in fact a prisoner/guard in a penitentiary named Western Society. Discipline and Punish changed the way the humanities and social sciences understood power and the way that I understood my place in the world. It answers questions like why non-conformists dress like all the other non-conformists and why we all try to hide the fact that we are singing to ourselves in our cars while simultaneously watching other people to see if they are singing to themselves. We all participate in maintaining the norms and rules of our society. In the Rebellious sixties, young people were attacking the establishment but they did not realize how deeply entrenched the power was and how it flowed, not from the top down, but out of all levels of society as a ubiquitous force. MEET THE AUTHOR Davidson received his BA from the University of Windsor and his MA from Carleton Universitity. He teaches history at Eldercollege in Windsor, Ontario and has published a biography of Charles G.D. Roberts. You can follow his blog at www.hubpages.com/bkeithdavidson. EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK Part one ?Torture? begins with the gruesome execution of convicted regicide Robert-Francois Damiens who had attempted to murder Louis XIV and had his sins cleansed by making Amene Honorable. The rest of the book then has to explain how we have moved in only two hundred years from burning hot pincers removing the flesh from your bones to sitting in prison with three meals a day. The societal pressure for the move towards lenience began only decades after the grizzly death of Damiens and came from all levels of society. This period saw the focus of judicial punishment shift from the body to the soul. To use Foucault's phrase, ?The soul is the prison of the body.? The theatrical displays that accompanied of the earlier forms of punishment are now reserved for the court room.