Discipline and Punish

by: Michel Foucault

Generalized Punishment

Summary Generalized Punishment

The controversial nature of Foucault's views needs to be spelled out. Taking the reformers at their word is not possible for him because of the nature of his analysis. The reformers spoke within a discourse that interacted with economic developments and changes in the nature of power. Their words reflect the complex operations of power, rather than any real feeling for suffering convicts. Some might say that this is a complex way of analyzing the hidden motives behind any reform movement, but it is central to Foucault's argument that all of what anyone says or does reflects structures of power.