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Michel Foucault and the Groupe d’Information sur les Prisons
How can information inspire action?
Parsons Paris
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New York: Michel Foucault and the Groupe d’Information sur les Prisons
How can information inspire action?
Parsons Paris

Michel Foucault (1926-1984) is well known for his 1975 historical and theoretical inquiry into the birth of the prison at the end of the 18th century: Discipline and Punish. By looking at different approaches to discipline over time, he counters the apparent “naturalness” of prison as the unique and most humane mode of punishment. His theory provides a framework for examining how power pervades the entirety of social life. Far from a state of exception, imprisonment, Foucault shows, is in fact the model of our social order: we are all in a permanent state of incarceration.

Foucault’s academic practice was rooted in activism, specifically in the experience of the Groupe d’Information sur les Prisons (GIP, 1971-1972), a Paris-based prisoner support group committed to collecting testimonies of French prisoners and their families and making them public. It gave a voice to those who had constantly been silenced.

Our Point of View

In the context of the Nov. 13th, 2015 terrorist attacks of in Paris, the subsequent state of emergency, curtailment of public rights, and renewed evidence that prisons foster violence, we studied the person who began a global debate about prisons. We spent the semester reading Foucault and carrying out research in archives. While reading Foucault's manuscripts and prisoners’ responses to the GIP questionnaire, we witnessed how little had changed.

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New York: Michel Foucault and the Groupe d’Information sur les Prisons    Parsons Paris
How can information inspire action?
New York: Michel Foucault and the Groupe d’Information sur les Prisons
How can information inspire action?
  Parsons Paris

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Public Dialogues and Events
| July 1 – July 15, 2018

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