Public punishment vs prison?

There is much debate as to whether the system of imprisonment is better or equal to the effects of a punitive city. What are the similarities and differences between the effects of the two? Do you think there is ever a time where someone should be publicly punished or humiliated?

also food for thought, what would Foucault think of the death penalty, would he be for or against it?


1 thought on “Public punishment vs prison?

  1. Christina Hendricks

    We had an interesting discussion about the question around whether public punishment would ever be warranted! I wanted to say something briefly about your question regarding Foucault’s view of the death penalty.

    Honestly, I don’t know what he would have thought. The thing is, as discussed in lecture, he tends not to say a whole lot about his own views of what is right/wrong or what should be done, in what he studies. At least, not in his books, not in his role as a public intellectual. There really isn’t anything in the text that I feel we could clearly use to answer this question. He is mostly describing what happened in the past when France moved from public torture and punishment to imprisonment, and the way he describes the normalization and panopticism involved in the latter does sound problematic. But that isn’t to say he thought that public torture and execution was better, or that he would be in favour of the death penalty (or not). My sense of his views from reading a number of his works is that he would not be in favour of state-sanctioned killing of a person, but honestly, I’m not certain!


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