• Submitted By: kiwi
  • Date Submitted: 12/06/2008 4:42 AM
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Words: 2367
  • Page: 10
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To what extent do you agree with Foucault that we live in a ‘disciplinary society’?

Foucault’s belief that the social control in disciplinary pervades all elements of life and there is no escape from this type of control. Michel Foucault is not a Freudian, a Marxist, a structuralist, a phenomenologist, a sociologist, or a historian, but his work draws on ideas and assumptions and methods from all of these areas or disciplines. Rather, Foucault, like Derrida and Freud, is the founder of his own ‘school’ of thought.

Michael Foucault born in 1926 was best known for his critical studies of social institutions. He entered the Ecole Normale Superieure in 1946 and over the past thirty years he has made an enormous influence over criminology. Foucault was not only a philosopher and an intellectual but also a political positivist. Three influences are particularly important in Discipline and Punish: Nietzsche, Structuralism and Foucault’s political activism.
Foucault credited Nietzsche with freeing him from the ‘’prison’’ of Hegelian philosophy and the existentialism and Marxism of Sartre. Nietzsche’s philosophy emphasized the coming crisis of religion and morality and his deep-felt hostility towards religion. It seems that he was the first philosopher to argue that ‘’God is dead’’. The concept of genealogy is Nietzsche’s main legacy to Foucault. Foucault had always detached himself of being a ‘structuralist’ but many critics have linked him to the work of structuralist thinkers like, Levi-Strauss, Jacques Derrida, Roland Barthes. Michael Foucault was also immensely influenced by the French campaign for prison reform (GIP). He visited prisons in France and America which drove him to write Discipline and Punish. However his book wasn’t just a theoretical adaptation of prisons, but an explanation of the conditions and structures of the places he visited due to the operation of power in the society.

Discipline and Punish is a history of the modern penal system....