Law and Society@Kwantlen

Food for Thought: Foucault and Law


This week, we examined the ideas of Michel Foucault, with an emphasis on his typology of techniques of power: sovereign power, disciplinary power, and governmentality / biopower. We focused on the theory of disciplinary power that Foucault explored in his influential text Discipline and Punish. Both Pavlich (2011) and Hunt and Wickham (1994) note that Foucault’s account of the emergence of disciplinary power downplayed the importance of law in modern regulation. Contemporary scholarship that is informed by Foucault’s ideas often involves efforts to reconcile the relationship between law and mechanisms of disciplinary power.

Food for Thought:

Select a contemporary example of a mechanism of disciplinary power. Briefly introduce your example – with reference to supporting sources. Then explain how it exemplifies disciplinary power, drawing on Pavlich (2011) and other relevant sources. Finally, explain the relationship between this mechanism of disciplinary power and law. You will find Pavlich (pp. 144-145) and the excerpt from Hunt and Wickham (1994) helpful.

Other resources of interest:

Posts prepared in response to this food for thought question must be submitted before class on Nov. 18, 2014