Foucault and Power

Topics: Sociology, Jeremy Bentham, Michel Foucault Pages: 2 (584 words) Published: March 7, 2011
Arrigo and Bernard’s (1997) article identifies six theoretical statements that compare conflict theory to radical and postmodern criminology. These six concerns include; the focus of the theory, the goal of conflict, control of crime definitions, nature of crime, explanation of crime, and policy implications. Arrigo and Bernard’s (1997) theory suggests that postmodern criminology is consistent with conflict criminology’s definition of crime, while radical criminology is consistent with conflict criminology and the focus of the theory (conflict oriented) and the goal of the conflict. Both conflict and radical criminology center on social structure while postmodern criminology tends to focus more on the human aspect. Conflict and radical criminology tends to concentrate on economic and political powers, but fails to discuss how that power is achieved, and implies that crime is explained in terms of the pursuit for economic success influenced by a capitalist society. Conflict criminology proposes that a capitalist society seeks to equalize the distribution of power/wealth among individuals thereby equalizing the distribution of crime rates, while radical criminology suggests that the problem is rooted in a capitalistic economic system and the only way to attain within this system would be the demise of capitalism. Postmodern criminology identifies the problem of the crime as a linguistic domination and examines the relationship between human agencies and the language which creates meaning, identity, and power. This area of criminology suggests that crime may be rooted in linguistic realities, and can only be solved by listening and incorporating alternate points of view on crime and social harm. Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison (1975), by Michel Foucault, examines the social and theoretical implications which inevitably led to substantial changes in western penal systems during the modern age. Using Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon,...
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