Theater of the Grotesque: The Spanish Tragedy and Foucault

It is easy to look at Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy, widely considered the first revenge tragedy play, as having a completely nonsensical ending. While the proceeding three acts are fairly typical for a revenge narrative, with machinations deceptions stabbings and heartfelt vows for murder, the penultimate scene defies logic to the point of nearly … Read moreTheater of the Grotesque: The Spanish Tragedy and Foucault

The Spectacle of Punishment

In Michel Foucault’s Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison, the author revels in tales of past penal methods involving brutal torture of the convicted criminal as a popular public spectacle. He subtly denounces the rigid yet humane schedules applied to contemporary imprisonment and the growing distance between the judicial system and the punishment … Read moreThe Spectacle of Punishment

“Not Boundaries Not to be Crossed”: Little Hans, Power, and Spatial Discipline

In her article “The Taming of Michel Foucault: New Historicism, Psychoanalysis, and the Subversion of Power,” Suzanne Gearhart describes what she calls “Foucault’s critical ‘dialogue’ with Freud,” specifically in his “analysis of the relation between pleasure and power” (459-60). Interestingly, she notes that, in Discipline and Punish, Foucault mentions “the subjects of two of Freud’s … Read more“Not Boundaries Not to be Crossed”: Little Hans, Power, and Spatial Discipline

The Problems with Historical Materialism in Discipline and Punish

In “Two Lectures,” Michel Foucault criticizes historical materialism for inadequately explaining social phenomena. He derides academics that use bourgeois domination to explain a diverse range of social trends, including the exclusion of madness and the repression of infantile sexuality. Foucault calls this kind of social theory too easy and faults it for yielding results that … Read moreThe Problems with Historical Materialism in Discipline and Punish

The Tightrope of Power: the balance between power, knowledge, and authority in relation to Antigone

Foucault’s Discipline and Punish reads partly like a historic text and partly like a speculative essay. Its themes revolving around power, knowledge, and authority however, conveys fundamental principles that is innate to human nature. Foucault addresses these issues in a circular fashion where the end of the capacity for one is also the beginning of … Read moreThe Tightrope of Power: the balance between power, knowledge, and authority in relation to Antigone

Foucault’s Panopticism as Applied to DuBois: The Ideal Model of Power?

As a type of power that is vital to the function of institutions, discipline works to control the thoughts and actions of individuals to fulfill a specific agenda, such as preserving public safety or maximizing profits. Although numerous variations of power exist, institutions idealize the efficiency of panopticism, a psychological model of discipline. By discussing … Read moreFoucault’s Panopticism as Applied to DuBois: The Ideal Model of Power?