Discipline and Punish Questions and Answers
by Michel Foucault

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How, according to Foucault, do prisons resemble factories, hospitals, and schools?

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Prisons resemble factories, hospitals, and schools in that, since the eighteenth century, they have been designed to condition people to internalize the values of the state (i.e., the values of the people in power). They all do this by using surveillance: people in all of these institutions are constantly watched, measured, and evaluated by others. To "succeed" in any of these environments, an individual has, above all, to demonstrate that they can self-regulate. That means they must exhibit model behavior, without any threat of imminent physical punishment.

Through this method, Foucault argues, the state enforces its will by conditioning people to change themselves . The state infrequently uses physical punishment; instead, Foucault says, the state changes our mode of thought in such a way as to encourage obedience and conformity. This, he says, is more cruel than the punishments of the past that we thought were barbaric. Damaging a person's body leaves them free to think their own...

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