Talks on Foucault’s La société punitive in Melbourne – 3 and 4 March 2014

In addition to the talks on The Birth of Territory (details here); I’ll be giving talks on Foucault’s La société punitive at Monash University on 3 March 2014, 11am (Clayfield Room A1. 34, Caufield Campus – map here); and at the University of Melbourne on 4 March 2014, 2pm (Level 4 Linkway, John Medley Building, Grattan Street entrance, opposite University Square). Here’s the abstract:

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This lecture provides an overview and critical discussion of Foucault’s 1973 lectures La société punitive. This was Foucault’s third course at the Collège de France, and links in important ways to the two previous ones, as well as looking forward to the 1975 book Surveiller et punir (translated as Discipline and Punish). Indeed, one of the ways that La société punitive can be read is as a first public draft of that book. But there are many other things discussed in the course, and some important shifts in emphasis. This presentation will concentrate on four areas: the interlinked themes of measure, inquiry and examination; shifts in modes of punishment; the discussion of civil war and the social enemy; and the treatment of popular illegality in England and France. Throughout all of these there is an explicit engagement with questions of political economy and Marxist work. Finally, the talk will draw out where Foucault’s thinking on questions of power and the genealogical approach was at this stage.

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