Kele The only weakness of the book was an over analysis of what is the soul which to me seemed repetitive and meandering — though I am sure it probably read better in the original French: The basic function of the police is to bring bodies into submission using methods which restrict their mobility, cause physical injury or pain, and in some circumstances take life itself out of them. Mihaela rated it really liked it Aug 13, Also liked his analysis on what punishment has become in liberal societies today and how specgacle might be simultaneously failing yet still over oppressing the soul. Danny rated it really liked it Oct 27, All you are left with is opinion. Prison was preceded by a different form of public spectacle. The Spectacle of the Scaffold — Foucault, Corporal Punishment, and the Digital Age In similar circumstances, Johnson is shot in the back as he is attempting to run away. That is, discipline must come about without excessive force through careful observation, and molding of the bodies into the correct form through this observation.

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Public execution and torture were not the most frequent form of punishment. However, torture played a considerable part in penality. The definition of torture involves an exact, measurable quantity of pain. An "economy of power" is invested in torture. Torture is part of a ceremony that reveals the truth of a crime. The trial is initially a hidden process.

But a tradition of rules of evidence existed: there were different degrees of proof. Now these degrees relate to the juridical effects or the outcome of the trial. Penal investigation was written, secret and subject to rules. It was a machine that might produce the truth in the absence of the accused. But a confession removed the need for further investigation. A confession transforms an investigation from a process carried on against the criminal to a voluntary affirmation.

The ambiguity of the confession explains the means used to obtain it: the oath and judicial torture. Torture is an ancient practice, which had a strict place in the classical legal system. It had two elements: a secret investigation by judicial authority and a ritual act by the accused. The body of the accused linked these two elements.

This is why, until the whole classical system of punishment was examined, there was no critique of torture. Judicial torture was a regulated practice, almost a game. If the suspect successfully resisted, he could be freed. Classical torture was a way of finding evidence in which investigation and punishment were mixed. As the system of proof produced a partial proof of guilt, torture punished this partial guiltiness whilst investigating it further.

From judicial torture to execution, the body produces and reproduces the truth of the crime. A public execution is to be understood as a political as well as a judicial ritual. The intervention of the sovereign in a case was a reply to an offense against him.

Public execution was a ritual by which injured sovereignty was restored. Public execution was a ritual of armed law with two aspects: victory and struggle. The conflict and triumph of the executioner over the body of the accused was like a challenge or a joust. Attitudes toward punishment were related to general attitudes to the body and death. Death was familiar because of epidemics and wars. These general reasons explain the possibility and long survival of physical punishment.

Torture was embedded in legal practice because it revealed the truth and showed the workings of power though the body of the condemned. This truth-power relation remains at the heart of all mechanisms of punishment, and is found in different forms in contemporary penal practice.

The Enlightenment condemned the "atrocity" of public execution. Atrocity is the part of crime that torture turns back on itself to display the truth of crime to the world. The mechanism of atrocity mixed the sovereign and crime together; atrocity was the "organized destruction of infamy by omnipotence. A key element in the execution was the people or audience.

But the role of the people was ambiguous. Criminals often had to be protected from the crowd, and crowds often tried to free prisoners. The intervention of the crowd in executions posed a political problem. In his last words, the convict could, and did, say anything. Uncertainty exists over these last words: were they fictitious? Perhaps crime literature was neither "popular expression" nor moralizing propaganda but the space in which the two investigations of penal practice met.


Foucault the spectacle of the scaffold

Given the nature of the French intellectual scene, perhaps this aspect of competition was inevitable. To cite just one example: "the modern rituals of execution attest to this double process: the disappearance of the spectacle and the elimination of pain. For Foucault, "the power of spectacle" declined and disappeared with the replacement of emperors and kings by "disciplines" and "machines. We are neither in the amphitheatre, nor on the stage, but in the panoptic machine, invested by its effects of power, which we bring to ourselves since we are part of its mechanism. It is significant that Foucault says that, prior to his own work, panopticism has received little attention. It is regarded as not much more than a bizarre little utopia, a perverse dream [


The Spectacle of the Scaffold

Home Witnesses who described the scene could even be prosecuted, thereby ensuring that the execution should cease to be a spectacle and remain a strange secret between the law and those it condemns. One has only to point out so many precautions to realize that capital punishment remains fundamentally, even today, a spectacle that must actually be forbidden Foucault 15 The Rodney King beating is among the most famous amateur videos ever recorded, existing in the same category as the Zapruder film. It was also one of the first times the public witnessed police brutality on video. When the verdict came down and the officers involved got off scot-free, the ensuing riot lasted six days, caused more than 50 deaths, set thousands of fires, and did millions of dollars in property damage. What went relatively unnoticed at the time was the fatal interdependence of social unrest, the institutionalized violence of law enforcement, and mass produced video recording and sharing technology. He was primarily concerned with pursuing a genealogy which followed torture to modern disciplinary institutions such as prisons and schools. While there are many observations pertinent to this subject they are scattered under different headings due to the alternate nature of his project.

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