From: Jeff Smithpeters <jeffsm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 1997 16:19:16
I've noticed in my studies of the lit. of the American Civil War that in
novels written predominantly by southerners the Northern troops in
particular would employ panopticon terminology when dealing with the
conquered populations. They would often say, "Our eyes are everywhere!" or
words to that effect.
Yet hangings still took place. The Union forces hung more people than
anyone else. So we see the mixture of the punishment modes of one episteme
(hanging) with that of the later (direct observation).
We have the same situation now. Our prisons are ostensibly there to reform
and to observe the convicted. Yet we still have executions.
Is there any book or article in which Foucault or someone sympathetic to
his methods, tries to explain this apparent contradiction in the American
penal system, which seems to date back to the Civil War and shows little
sign of resolving?