On Friday I gave the opening plenary lecture to the ‘Time Served: Discipline and Punish Forty Years On‘ conference, organised by Sophie Fuggle and held at the Galleries of Justice in Nottingham. The room we were in for much of the event was the former courtroom, and was a very appropriate setting for the event.
My talk was entitled “Before the Punitive Society: The Inquiry of Théories et institutions pénales” (abstract). I spoke about how the analysis of Théories et institutions pénales related to the ‘course summary’, to the third ‘Truth and Juridical Forms’ lecture from Rio in 1973, and Foucault’s preparatory notes for these lectures. [Update – the audio recording of my talk is available here]
There were some other very interesting papers, including from Sophie, Azrini Wahidi, Marcelo Hoffman, Colin Gordon and Philippe Artières. I thought it was striking how debates on the text itself have remarked rather static, with many of the same elements highlighted, even in the light in the new materials; but equally that the usefulness of the text for a range of activists remains strong.
On the first evening there was a screening of the Sur les toits film about French prison riots in the early 1970s. Well worth watching if you can locate a copy – the interviews with some of the prisoners and one of the warders involved were fascinating. Daniel Defert is also interviewed.