R. Lenoir and J.-J. Yvorel, (eds.) : Michel Foucault. Surveiller et punir : la prison vingt ans après
R. Lenoir and J.-J. Yvorel, (eds.) : Michel Foucault. Surveiller et punir : la prison vingt ans après (Sociétés & Représentations, 1996, 443 p.), ISSN 1262 2966.
1In the English speaking world there is no lack of books or collections of essays somehow related to the work of Michel Foucault. One only has to consider the enormous flow of publications on « Gouvernementality » easily accessible in Current Contents. But the publication under review was only possible in France. In accordance with Michel Foucault's own way to do philosophy and politics, this book combines in a very interesting way different approaches to his seminal work about prisons : The book starts with two papers on reading Foucault, written by Bourdieu and Fadat, the latter describing reading experiences with social workers. Some authors remember Michel Foucault as a person, his intellectual development (Castel) or his influence on their proper work (Chauvière), others reconstruct crucial crossroads in the relations between historians and M.F. (Agulhon, Perrot, Petit) or the relation between the judicial world and M.F. (Lenoir), some interpret Foucault's way to do science (Mauger, Yvorel) or show the crucial importance of Rusche and Kirchheimer to M.F. when working out Surveiller et punir (=S&P) (Lévy and Zander), Lascoumes attempts to develop the notion of « l'illegalisme ». Others continue to do research where Foucault had stopped. This is especially true for several articles on confinement and pedagogic attemps to better children in the nineteenth and twentieth century (Bourquin, Pierre, Fillaut, Dupont, Chauvaud, Dekker, Ruchat, Fatela). In this case fortunately the documentary limitations to France which characterize the work of M. F. are discarded for a more comparative view including not only the francophone neighbours but also the Netherlands and Portugal. Some of these articles present work in progress, others, like Dekker, sum up earlier work with the intention to enlarge or modify M.F.'s notions. Also, the development of criminology is reconceptualized in terms of episteme (Pasquino) and the discours on criminal women is reconstructed (Koeppel). A section about the actual state of the penal system (Casadamont, Salas, Lazarus, Tournier) brings us back to those practical problems which had been an important incentive to M. F. to work about prisons - and which do not seem to have changed a lot since. But two articles about punishments beyond prison and about forced public work as a punishment go further (Faget, Lazerges). There are also some articles about « Moi, Pierre Rivière » (Peter, Allio, Tsikounas). Several reviews of books which took up Foucault's problematics are added fortunately to the publication.
2This collection of different views of the problems treated in « Surveiller et punir » was only possible in a country where Foucault had a certain impact on people working in the administration of prisons. The conference, from which most of the papers were collected, was a meeting of those administrators with some sociologists and several historians and did not even exclude a former minister of justice. Thus, authors from very different horizons met, and this is already a first remarkable effect of this commemoration of a specific intellectual's work. One may imagine that the conference produced a kind of discourse among the different participants which probably led further than the eternal meetings inside specific scientific communities. It seems as if this was one of the main intention of the organizers and editors Rémi Lenoir and Jean-Jacques Yvorel. On the other hand this book is a useful guide to the many directions in which S&P has become fruitful for further research and political practice. Many of the articles show projects under way and one can attend for the results. As such, the publication is actually the most interesting document about the reception of M.F.'s work in the French speaking community and especially successful in re-activating M.F.'s own way to be a specific intellectual.
Pour citer cet article
Martin Dinges, « R. Lenoir and J.-J. Yvorel, (eds.) : Michel Foucault. Surveiller et punir : la prison vingt ans après », Crime, Histoire & Sociétés / Crime, History & Societies, Vol. 3, n°2 | 1999, 114-115.
Martin Dinges, « R. Lenoir and J.-J. Yvorel, (eds.) : Michel Foucault. Surveiller et punir : la prison vingt ans après », Crime, Histoire & Sociétés / Crime, History & Societies [En ligne], Vol. 3, n°2 | 1999, mis en ligne le 03 avril 2009, consulté le 30 mars 2017. URL : http://chs.revues.org/910Haut de page
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