Foucault’s Lectures on the Punitive Society IV.i

And the next instalment of this detailed reading of the course…


Lecture of twenty-fourth January, 1973

As my notes and comments on this expanded beyond the length of what I posted for previous lectures, I posting on this lecture in two parts.

Foucault sets up this lecture in such as way as to emphasise the political context of debates around criminality. Though some of this can be found in his book of 1975 Discipline and Punish, much of it is more taken up in the lectures of 1975 to 1976, Society Must be Defended, and the lectures of 1976 to 1977, Security, Territory, Population. Here he suggests that look at attitudes to towards criminality and the penal code in the context of the upheavals and debates regarding sovereignty, institutions, and the use of violence to change or preserve these things, which make up the French Revolution.

In the debates of 1791, Maximilien Robespierre opposed the idea that the…

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