Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Katherine Bischoping, Selom Chapman-Nyaho, Rebecca Raby, Linking Visuality to Justice through International Cover Designs for Discipline and Punish, Annual Review of Interdisciplinary Justice Research, Visualizing Justice (IJR) Volume 5: Winter 2016, pp. 180-214

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Discipline and Punish revolves around the demise of a brief impulse to develop a juridical subject. We employ cover designs of this book from around the world as lenses through which to focus on how Foucault links visuality to justice. From examining covers showing the envisioning of “model men” that justify the inspection of others, we move to covers drawing attention to the measured rationalities and restless irrationalities of such inspection, and to the ubiquity of the resulting “carceral complex” across interconnected institutions. We turn next to cover images that spur our attention to the contemporary significance of torture, either when consumed in spectacular forms of “dark tourism” or when perpetrated secretly under state sponsorship – a possibility that Discipline and Punish appears not to anticipate. In response, we develop an understanding of how torture may nonetheless cohere with Foucault’s conception of discipline. Finally, we discuss how cover designs remind us that we, like Foucault, are caught up in disciplinary gazes, and ask where the possibilities of resistance and hope might lie.

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