Jessica's Reviews > Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison

Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault
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Nov 10, 2007

bookshelves: owned-for-years-but-still-not-read, crime-and-punishment
Recommended for: intellectuals who have done something bad

I started it. I didn't finish. And unless I one day find myself in a situation with extremely limited mobility and options, with a great deal of time (read: years) on my hands, it's conceivable that I never will.

I'd like to have read this book, since I'm very interested in the topics it addresses, but I don't know that I have the mind, stomach, or patience for Foucault. So while I'd like to have read it, I don't know that I'd like as much to read it, if you get what I'm saying. Well, maybe someday.... It wasn't boring, but it was kind of hard, and as I'm not much of a French Theory type of girl, nor am I particularly Intellectual, every other page I was sort of scratching my little tete and sort of wondering all over again what the point of all this was, and whether it was even possible that there was one.

I bet a lot of people'd love this. Plus, anyone who doubts its relevance completely (and not just periodically) should read about the NYPD's new "Sky Watch" tower program.

Next time I try this guy, if I do, I'll probably go for the stuff on madness.
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by matthew (new)

matthew the madness book is hard, too. the man was an obscurantist (not that i don't appreciate that, to a certain extent). i had pretty much the same experience as you, with this. it did learn me about the panopticon, though! it offends me when you claim not to be an intellectual.


message 2: by Rachel (new)

Rachel I wish I could search for courses by reading list. I would totally take a class just so I could read this book.


message 3: by matthew (new)

matthew can you not do an individual study kind of thing?


message 4: by Rachel (new)

Rachel But the whole point is I can't read it on my own.


message 5: by matthew (new)

matthew ah, i see the problem, now. are there not just foucault courses, or the like?


message 6: by David (new)

David McCormick I recommend "The Foucault Reader" its a selection of Foucault's work (short essays, interviews, etc.) that get to the meat of his ideas without all the dense reading. I've found it helpful to read this book as an introduction and to get the main ideas of his work, and then dive into his longer books to help connect the dots.


message 7: by David (new)

David McCormick Hi! Also "power/knowledge" is a collection of interviews & essays outlining his basic ideas, on the prison in particular. It's a great accessible introduction to his work, plus it's fun to read. The classical marxists he lectures/debates really have no clue at all what he's talking about, which makes me feel better as a reader. This dialectical style was helpful for me . . . .


Devin There is definitely a barrier to entry here, and whether or not that's legitimate, you're not alone in putting Foucault down. This stuff is the quantum physics of the social sciences.


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