Foucault’s Lectures on the Punitive Society IX

Barry Stocker’s reading of Foucault continues…


Lecture of 28th February, 1973

Rural illegality went under the same transformation as the urban illegality described in the last lecture. It was a part of the survival strategies of the poorest peasants who were using common and uncultivated land. Goods taxed by the office of the ‘régie’, salt and tobacco, were smuggled. There was a change in the second half of the eighteenth century due firstly to growing population, and then from 1730 an increase in tax revenues which made land more economically interesting, and finally a great demand to invest in land. The abolition of feudal rights and and large scale transfer of property during the Revolution contributed to the change. Landed property became a part of simple contract (presumably because of the abolition of feudal constraints).

This had negative effects on peasant who lost traditional de facto rights of ‘illegality’ and communal rights through the increasingly consistent…

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