Discipline and Punish

by: Michel Foucault

Important Quotations Explained

We have then a public execution and a timetable. They do not punish the same type of crimes or the same type of delinquent. But they each define a certain penal style.

Taken from the very beginning of the work, this quotation shows both Foucault's love of contrast, and the fundamental change that Discipline and Punish addresses. The two penal styles to which he refers are the pre-modern system, in which punishment is carried out on the body of the criminal in a public and violent manner, and the carceral system, in which the criminal's soul is the object of attention. The execution cuts and burns the criminal's body: the timetable regulates his soul, dividing his time into smaller, ordered parts. The execution represents a penality in which the public restoration of order is vital; the timetable represents one in which the aim is to classify and order behavior in an attempt to control the individual.