Re: The postmodern body

Brian Francis Spatola (
1 Jul 1996 01:00:31 GMT

Michael David Lay ( wrote:
> One question that should be asked is whether incarceration truely serves
> as a mechanism of punishment, or is it more a social device to separate an
> undesireable element from the social mainstream. Granted incarceration
> is not the only punishment out there, but it is the most widely used.

> Clearly, prisons can serve dual purposes, that is "keep society safe", and
> serve to punish criminals. But what exactly is the punishment, hard labor
> without pay, (I think I do that anyway). No, the punishment is the
> inability to access information from a world progressing without the
> prisoner.

> In any event knowledge without the ability to act on it is not really
> power, it is just knowledge.

> M

Foucaut in his book Disipline and Punish says that the reason the focus
of punishment changed from the body (public torture and execution) to
focus on the "soul" is to facilitate the use of the body as a tool for
political power. the use of the prisoner as an object of social
manipulation creates many new angles of judgement, psychologists and
social educators are put to use in this judicial mode of rehabilitation.
No longer a single swift judgement, now we must rehabilitate the soul if
psychiatry thinks it is a possibility. The shame of the punisher is
considered the beginnings of more "humanitarian" methods of punishment.