Following my thoughts on the first half, here are some additional comments on the second half of Foucault’s 1973 lecture course La société punitive. As mentioned, I’ll be writing a much more formal and thorough review for Berfrois.
- Harcourt’s notes suggest that this course should be seen as developing the productive side of penalty, as opposed to the more repressive side analysed in the previous course Théories et institutions pénales. But as he suggests it is more than this – it broadens the analysis as well as complements the previous course, looking at the emergence of a new kind of power: disciplinary power. In fact, it appears that Foucault half-wishes that ‘the disciplinary society’ had been the title for the course – Daniel Defert has suggested that that was indeed the original title.
- the course really needs to be seen as a third of a sequence that began with Lectures on the Will to Know. Foucault relates this course’s analysis of examination to the previous two course’s discussions of measure and inquiry. There is some interesting discussion of the relation of these three terms – likely to be even richer when the second of the three courses is available.
- Examination would take on a significant role in Discipline and Punish and some of Foucault’s later courses. Here it is described as “the system of the permanent control of individuals… like a permanent test [épreuve], without a final point. It is an inquiry, but before all offence, outside any crime. It is an inquiry of general and a priori suspicion of the individual…” (p. 200).
- the political economy themes I mentioned in my thoughts on the first half are very strong throughout the course. The body of the worker and the body of wealth are explicitly linked (pp. 191-2), as are the role the disciplined body has within the forces of production (p. 200). The original French title of Discipline and Punish is Surveiller et punir – more literally ‘survey and punish’. The pairing of these terms (or of the punitive and examining), as part of a wider system of discipline, first emerges in this text, albeit within a somewhat broader and more explicitly economic analysis. Foucault’s addition is the concentration on the various disciplinary technologies, and, in places, the moral question.
- there is some interesting discussion of prison design and how this is not just an architectural design, but a design for society as a whole. The example is not the Panopticon, but rather the star-design of prisons. Foucault is aware of the Panopticon, and in some of the manuscript notes describes the phenomena of panopticism, but hasn’t yet made the explicit linkage that is so striking in Discipline and Punish. It appears that this was made explicit for the first time in the fourth of the Rio lectures given on 21-25 May 1973 and published as ‘Truth and Juridical Forms’ .
- There is some brief discussion of monomania and its relation to crime (pp. 183-4); and the emergence of dangerous individual (p. 182). These would both be themes that Foucault would elaborate in much greater length in subsequent discussions. Themes around normalisation begin to develop in this course, and there is a brief discussion of sexuality and education, and the relation between heterosexuality and homosexuality (pp. 219-21).
- the critique of Althusser is quite strong here, though he is not named explicitly. Foucault suggests, for instance, that “We must therefore distinguish not only systems of power from State apparatuses, but also, in a more general way, systems of power from political structures” (p. 234).
- Foucault summarises the course as a whole as tracing three interlinked processes: “We therefore have a series which characterizes modern society: constitution of a labour force; apparatus of confinement [séquestration]; permanent function of normalization” (p. 242). In the final lines of the course, Foucault directly links the last to the development of the human sciences (p. 244).
- Rereading the course summary – included here, but long available – is revealing. Foucault usually wrote these in June of each year, a few months after the course had concluded. He often emphasized aspects he retrospectively saw as important, or marginalised ones that had seemed crucial at the time. The summary for this course was written after he had given the ‘Truth and Juridical Forms’ lectures, where he made use of material from his three courses at the Collège, along with some additional material (some of which was drafted for this course, but not delivered). Crucially, as Daniel Defert notes in his essential ‘Chronology’ (published in Dits et écrits and translated in A Companion to Foucault), Foucault finished the first draft of Discipline and Punish in April 1973. Reading the course, the Rio lectures and the summary in sequence is interesting as he shows some sense of the movement in his thinking towards the book, with some important shifts in emphasis. Foucault would continue to work on the book manuscript until August 1974, so there was much more development to come.
I’m looking forward to reading Discipline and Punish yet again, probably in French, in the light of this course. Doing that, writing the Berfrois review, and then reworking the material again will fill an important gap in the opening chapter of Foucault’s Last Decade.