5. Discipline and Punish

  1. Christopher Falzon2,
  2. Timothy O'Leary3 and
  3. Jana Sawicki4
  1. Alan D. Schrift

Published Online: 5 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118324905.ch5

A Companion to Foucault

A Companion to Foucault

How to Cite

Schrift, A. D. (2013) Discipline and Punish, in A Companion to Foucault (eds C. Falzon, T. O'Leary and J. Sawicki), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118324905.ch5

Editor Information

  1. 2

    University of Newcastle, Australia

  2. 3

    University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

  3. 4

    Williams College, USA

Author Information

  1. Grinnell College Center for the Humanities, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 FEB 2013
  2. Published Print: 12 MAR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444334067

Online ISBN: 9781118324905



  • Discipline and Punish;
  • Foucault;
  • Groupe d'Information sur les Prisons (GIP);
  • philosophy;
  • prison reform;
  • queer theory;
  • social activist


Michel Foucault's Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la prison or Discipline and Punish was his first work since his election to the Chair in the History of Systems of Thought at the Collège de France. Soon after his inaugural address, he announced the formation of the organization Groupe d'Information sur les Prisons (GIP). Due to Foucault's visibility as a social activist for prison reform, Discipline and Punish was received not just as a socio-historical or philosophical analysis but as a work of radical social criticism. This chapter reviews (1) the context in which Foucault wrote this work; (2) its structure and central themes; (3) its initial reception; and (4) its general place in Foucault's oeuvre and its influence. The English publication of Discipline and Punish and the first History of Sexuality gave rise to an entirely new field of inquiry – queer theory.