Benthamite Discipline and Punishment; Or, What Foucault Missed

Terence Ball

in Reappraising Political Theory

Published in print November 1994 | ISBN: 9780198279952
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598753 | DOI:
 Benthamite Discipline and Punishment; Or, What Foucault Missed

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In this chapter, I show how James Mill reworks and recycles the argument of a classic text—viz. Plato's Republic—and uses Plato's theory of justice and just punishment to legitimize Bentham's plans for penal reform. Pace Michel Foucault, who views Bentham as the thoroughly modern doyen of the `surveillance society’, I argue that much modern political theory has classical roots and that we should therefore be wary of post‐modern genealogists’ claims about discursive continuities between discrete epistemes or systems of thought.

Keywords: Jeremy Bentham; discourse; Michel Foucault; justice; James Mill; penal reform; Plato; political theory; post‐modernism; punishment

Chapter.  7256 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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