Maximilian Brichta, Juxtaposing Foucault: Towards an incorporation of the phenomenological subject in prison analysis
To Sense. 28 Mar 2021
If one wishes to analyze prisons from the communication perspective, they will inevitably grapple with Foucault. His 1975 book Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison has become a canonical assessment of power relations in houses of punishment and myriad other neoliberal institutions in modern society. While this original assessment continues to be highly generative, it is worth stopping and assessing its strengths and highlighting its limitations. Need we be tethered to the Foucauldian framework for analyzing prisons? The question goes beyond direct engagement, for countless other works have extended his framework into the realms of public discourse, race relations, interpersonal interactions, and beyond. In the following pages I trace the work of Foucault through various authors to offer a survey of his impact on contemporary prison scholarship.