34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (Penguin Social Sciences) (Paperback)
As someone who is sick of hearing the nonsense that's usually talked about "crime", this book was a welcome relief. In fact, it's more than that; it's one of the few books I can actually say has changed my way of thinking about social issues.
It's a historical text, following the emergence of prisons over time and looking at conceptions of power and punishment over quite a long period, but it has often been received as a contemporary commentary. Foucault once said (in Remarks on Marx) that if he has so irritated contemporary authors with a historical text, then it must have contemporary relevance.
It's also remarkably readable for saying that it's a poststructuralist classic. It's also (horror of horrors!) properly referenced and argued, and actually sticks to the subject.
Somebody should insist on reading the whole thing to David Blunkett.