Foucault: Crime, Police, & Power | Philosophy Tube | Summary and Q&A

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May 19, 2017
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Foucault: Crime, Police, & Power | Philosophy Tube

TL;DR

The penal system exists to defend the power of the ruling class and is designed to distinguish, distribute, and use offenses rather than prevent them.

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Key Insights

  • โŒ› The penal system has undergone significant changes over time, shifting from public to private and from physical to psychological punishment.
  • ๐Ÿ›€ There is a clear bias in the penal system favoring the ruling class, with leniency shown towards offenses committed by the wealthy and powerful.
  • ๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿญ Factors such as race, gender, and ability heavily influence an individual's experiences within the penal system.
  • ๐Ÿคจ The ineffectiveness of the penal system in preventing crime raises questions about its true purpose and benefits to the ruling class.
  • ๐Ÿ˜’ The penal system serves to distinguish, distribute, and use offenses, rather than eliminating them.
  • ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Technology's impact on job availability may contribute to a rise in the prison population, as more working-class jobs become obsolete.
  • ๐Ÿ–๏ธ Power dynamics and class divisions play a crucial role in shaping the administration of the law and the penal system.

Transcript

on the 2nd of March 1757 robber Francois Damien who had attempted to assassinate King Louie the 15th of France was taken through the streets of Paris wearing nothing but a shirt and holding a torch of burning wax to the plaster graph where the flesh was torn from his chest arms thighs and calves with redhot pincers his right hand holding the knife ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How has punishment evolved over the years?

Punishment has shifted from public and gruesome methods towards private prisons and a focus on the mind rather than the body. It has become less about inflicting physical pain and more about preventing crime or reforming criminals.

Q: Why does the penal system seem to prioritize certain types of crime?

There is a bias in the system towards the ruling class, with leniency often shown towards offenses committed by job creators and those in positions of power. This highlights the influence of the ruling class in shaping the law and its administration.

Q: Is there a connection between class and experiences within the penal system?

Yes, class plays a significant role in determining which individuals are more likely to be stopped, searched, and arrested. Factors such as race, gender, and ability can greatly impact the class one falls into and their interactions with the penal system.

Q: What is the purpose of the penal system according to Michel Foucault?

Foucault argues that the penal system's function is to make certain individuals useful or profitable to the ruling class. It is not primarily focused on preventing crime or achieving justice, but rather on distinguishing and assimilating transgressions of the law.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The penal system has changed over the years, moving from public and gruesome punishments to private prisons and a focus on the mind rather than the body.

  • The system seems to prioritize certain types of crime, often lenient towards the ruling class while being harsher on the working class.

  • Despite its stated goals, the penal system fails to prevent crime and reoffending rates remain high, raising questions about its effectiveness and purpose.

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