D4TC: Foucault Impossible Prison

In Foucault’s work, I found that it was interesting that he spoke about literal prisons, but also how social and physical constructs can serve as prisons as well. There are so many more layers than typical enslavement, and a lot of it seems to do with what’s in your mind. For example, when Foucault speaks on the Prison, he notes that they are built with this watchtower that they cannot see whether there is a guard or not, and the bars are perpetually open. It’s this mindfulness, this mental expectation of being watched that is supposed to be a form of control, but creates a mental prison and paranoia.

He also speaks about how the guards attempt to have a clinical approach to the prisoners as though there is no personal enjoyment over the imprisonment of others, but Foucault knows that can’t be true. Especially in a place where you are at the mercy of others. No matter how good, is that not a great responsibility with a significant possibility for corruption? He speaks about the structure of the hospital, and how the visibility of the doctor and the proximity of people, ventilation, and water create a prison in their own way. Hospitals can only be in certain areas, patients are restrained to one room, and this feeling of imprisonment within those white walls is potent no matter the benefits.   He speaks even before the French Revolution, places with strict structures like hospitals, churches, and convents were regarded with a bit of disdain. Is it because we inherently despise being restrained? Or are we sickened by our desire to be structured?

https://monoskop.org/File:The_Impossible_Prison_A_Foucault_Reader.pdf

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