Foucault on “Enlightenment” in Discipline and Punish

A very interesting discussion of Foucault’s usage of the term ‘Enlightenment’ before his relatively late turn to Kant’s essay ‘What is Enlightenment?’ – especially looking at Discipline and Punish.

Persistent Enlightenment

Discussing Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish (or, to be more accurate, that portions of it that turn up in The Foucault Reader) in a seminar I taught this spring, I was struck, once again, by a sentence that reminded me why — prior to Foucault’s last discussions of Immanuel Kant’s answer to the question “What is Enlightenment?” — there was a tendency to see Foucault as one of the more effective (and intransigent) modern critics of the Enlightenment.

An Enemy of the Enlightenment?

The sentence comes towards the end of the discussion of “Panopticism”, at the point when Foucault considers the ways in which the “formation of the disciplinary society” was connected with “a number of broad historical processes — economic, juridical-political and, lastly, scientific …” Considering the second of these three processes, he reflects on the way in which the rise of the bourgeoisie to the status of…

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1 Response to Foucault on “Enlightenment” in Discipline and Punish

  1. Pingback: Top posts on Progressive Geographies this week | Progressive Geographies

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