The Week Five Justice Theory And Foucault's Concept Of History

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The following is an examination of prompt one of the week five Justice Theory essay assignment. Accordingly, it presents analysis relating to the French theorist, Michel Foucault, as well as the German theorist, Karl Marx. Moreover, the emphasis of this paper is on the four areas defined in the inquiry, relating to Foucault’s conception of history. First, this paper explains Foucault’s notion of how discourse shapes history. Secondly, it deciphers Foucault’s proposition for studying history using the micro-analysis method of genealogy, which evaluates discourse in the past as a means to discount the present (Jurik, 2016a, p.7). Third, this reflection introduces an example of Foucault’s approach to historical analysis through exploring …show more content…
As previously mentioned, his method of analyzing includes the reexamination of circumstances which often get overlooked when hypothesizing about definitive reasons for change. Hence, he works backwards, identifying deviations from norms within a specific time period. Next, he scrutinizes the processes within the transformation as these conversions evolve into new norms. Finally, he constructs connections as time progresses to the present, in an effort to draw alternative conclusions about history (Sarup, 1989, p. 64). To demonstrate, in his writing, The body of the condemned, Foucault evaluates the changes in punishment with the transition of the public spectacle of torture to surveillance or, thought control (Jurik, 2016a, p. 9). Specifically, he aims to discount the popularly accepted theory that this change occurs due to humanity. Furthermore, he emphasizes the expansive acceptance of this theory suppresses the need for further examination of the less visible aspects of the penal system, which may reveal an alternative theory for explaining the decline of the public spectacle of torture as a form of punishment (Foucault, 1985, pp. …show more content…
To begin, he argues that the analysis must focus on the possibilities, what he refers to as “a complex social function” (p.23). Secondly, he outlines the significance of power and the utility of the body by discussing the paradigm shift from torture to confinement and surveillance, as well as emphasizing the increase of thought control and forced labor as the new form of punishment. Third, Foucault studies the discourse as overlapping principles, “a corpus of knowledge, techniques, ‘scientific’ discourses is formed and becomes entangled with the practice of the power to punish” (p. 23). Finally, he makes the connection between power and objectivity by asserting that the forced labor of prisoners benefits industry, while highlighting the increased need for additional roles in the disciplines to oversee and govern this new population of prisoners (1985, p.11). As a result, Foucault contests the position that confinement and surveillance is more humane than torture. Instead, he connects this evolution in punitive practices to efficiency rather than humanization, thus, supporting his alternative conclusion that modern forms of punishment are for productivity, he contradicts the original hypothesis that the transformation occurs

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