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Important Terms - Important Terms The carceral system The...

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Important Terms The carceral system - The complex system introduced towards the end of Discipline and Punish. It attempts to explain both the operation of the modern prison and its failure. The carceral system includes the architecture of the prison, its regulations and its staff: it extends beyond the prison itself to penetrate into society. Its components are the discipline of the prison, the development of a rational technique for managing prisoners, the rise of criminality and strategies of reform. The carceral system therefore contains both the failure and reform of the prison; it is part of Foucault's argument that failure is an essential part of the working of the prison. See also delinquent. The classical period - The time-period from 1660 to the end of the 19th century. Discipline and Punish, like most of Foucault's works, refers mainly to this age. For Foucault, the classical period is seen as the birth of many of the characteristic institutions and structures of the modern world, as well as of mechanisms of control and the human sciences. Delinquent - The concept that eventually replaces that of the "prisoner", according to Foucault. The delinquent is created by the operation of the carceral system and the human sciences, and strictly separated from other popular illegal activities. He is part of a small, hardened group of criminals, identified with the lower social classes. Most importantly, he is defined as "abnormal", and analyzed and controlled by the mechanisms that Foucault describes. There are several advantages in replacing the criminal by the delinquent: delinquents are clearly set apart from the rest of society, and therefore easy to supervise and control. A small, controlled group is far easier to cope with than the alternative: large roaming bands of brigands and robbers, or revolutionary crowds. In part, Foucault argues that the figure of the delinquent was a response to the danger presented by the lower orders in the nineteenth century.
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