Chinese Practice of Foucault’s ‘Disciplinary Power’ and its Effects on the Rehabilitation of Female Prisoners in China
(2020) British Journal of Criminology, 60 (3), pp. 662-680.
The prison system of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been viewed by some scholars as effective in achieving the primary target of Chinese imprisonment: rehabilitation. This article aims to redress this argument. Drawing on interviews undertaken with 30 female parolees/ex-prisoners and 10 prison officers, this article argues that the Jifen Kaohe System in prison, which is strongly imprinted with Foucault’s theory of ‘disciplinary power’, is ineffective and is unable to make accurate judgements on the achievement of prisoners’ rehabilitation at selected women’s prisons. This article suggests that Foucault’s disciplinary power is theoretically problematic in producing a ‘new person’, not the least of its unawareness of contextualized culture, values and situations, and women’s agency in prison. © 2019 The Author(s) 2019.
Chinese female prisoner; disciplinary power; Jifen Kaohe System; rehabilitation