Discipline & Punish Book Summary (PDF) by Michel Foucault

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Ready to learn the most important takeaways from Discipline & Punish in less than two minutes? Keep reading!

Why This Book Matters:

Discipline & Punish is a look at the French Anien Regime in a modern light, showing how the pricson system is directly linked to societal functions.

The Big Takeaways:

  1. Criminal punishment may no longer be as publicly gruesome as it once was, but that is not entirely attributed to the growth of humanity.
    1. If Robert-Francois’ brutal execution for the attempted murder of Louis XV was the last of its kind; as the turn of the eighteenth century approached in Europe, the new norm was private torture that aimed at the soul rather than the body.
  2. Torture once went hand-in-hand with crime.
    1. Investigators once believed anything admitted during torture was truth.
  3. Because the public no longer was accepting of public torture, the way punishments had to be carried out changed.
    1. The new goal was to “improve” a criminal instead of just destroying a criminal.
  4. These three principles were the focus in criminal rehabilitation: hierarchical observation, normalizing judgment, and examination.
    1. One entity establishes the norm, enforces the norm, and observes abnormalities. Examples are schools, hospitals, etc.
  5. Key elements of this newfound criminal reform structure were observation or surveillance.
    1. The feeling of always being watched made prisoners behave accordingly.

Want To Keep Reading?

  1. Read A Longer Form Summary on Blinkist
  2. Buy The Book on Amazon
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