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Beyond docile bodies and biopolitics: punishment in Michel Foucault

Grant number: 21/14729-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2022
Effective date (End): August 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology - Other specific Sociologies
Principal Investigator:Marcos César Alvarez
Grantee:Jade Gonçalves Roque
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:13/07923-7 - Center of the Study of Violence - NEV/USP, AP.CEPID
Associated scholarship(s):23/02127-0 - Punishment amid the birth of power: Foucault's courses at the Collège de France between 1970 and 1973, BE.EP.MS


For at least three decades, the sociology of punishment has investigated Foucault's potential to resolve its concerns. Despite Michel Foucault appearing as an unavoidable name for the area, there is no consensus on the appropriation of his work among specialists. Above all, there are three different trends: (i) the one that places Foucault's contribution to the understanding of punishment as restricted to the disciplinary society and, therefore, dated; (iii) the one that points to the insufficiency of the approaches earlier, indicating the need for a more rigorous and sustained understanding of the usefulness of the French theorist's work to the sociology of punishment. From reading Michel's texts Foucault on the subject of punishment published between 1971 and 1984, the objective of this research is to carry out a systematic reconstruction and interpretation of the problem in the author's work, to then bring to light the more general sense of a Foucaultian analysis of punishment. We hypothesize that the discussion in question is a precursor of a turn towards subjectivity in Foucault's work, as it is intimately related to the conception of power as a producing force of social relations not only through the establishment of docile bodies or government techniques, as is already widely recognized, but also through of forging modes of subjectivation organized by operations of exclusion. (AU)

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