Foucault, Michel (1926–1984)

Michel Foucault was an influential French theoretician of power and subjectivity. His scattered elaborations on law gave new direction to the study of law and governance around the globe.

In Discipline and Punish (1977), Foucault analyzed the processes leading to transfiguration of the punishment economy during the late eighteenth century as a moment of epistemological breakdown, noting the gradual disappearance of torture as a public spectacle and showing that a new corrective, “scientifico-juridical complex,” had developed (1977: 19). This was concerned with establishing the truth of a crime and whether it was punishable under law, and with the nature of an act and its meaning, with rehabilitation techniques, and with a whole set of diagnostic measurements. Foucault analyzed the birth of modern prisons as sites where ...

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