Introduction: 40 Years after Discipline and Punish

In Foucault Studies #23, 4–9.


This introduction diagnoses two tendencies among Foucaultian scholars with regard to Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish: While the book was initially enthusiastically embraced and its central concepts – above all “discipline” and “panopticism” – were used almost too frequently, these very concepts were often thought to be superseded by Foucault’s own development in the governmentality lectures and beyond. The articles in the special issue, however, demonstrate that Discipline and Punish, read carefully with neither uncritical enthusiasm nor progressivist dismissal, has still a lot to offer for today’s critical theory and cultural analysis.