Thursday, May 19, 2005


I am not an expert on Michel Foucault. I probably do not understand him in any meaningful way. I started but did not finish Discipline and Punish and Madness and Society. The former begins with a gruesome acount of a public execution where a a man is publicly beaten, burned and torn apart in most vicious way. At the end of this unusually gripping lead to an academic text, Foucault says something about punishing people beyond pain. Honestly, I'm not sure exactly what he said, and the book is all the way upstairs, but the sense I got was that the punishment was more for the punisher than the punished. And in the book about madness, Foucault suggested, at least in the early parts I read, that the insane are an other that we seek to repel, to lock away, but by whom we are also defined.

I have probably got this all wrong. I feel as though I need to really study Foucault's work. There is so much to know.

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