For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Psychiatric power: Lectures at the college de france, 1973--1974

by Foucault, Michel (2008)

Key Passage

I do not think that anything in the asylum brings to mind the organization of the familysystem; we think rather of the workshop, school, and barracks. Moreover, itis explicitly the military deployment of individuals that we see appearing[inj the work in the workshop, in agricultural work, and in work at school.For example, in his book of 1840 on Traitement moral, Leuret said that"whenever the weather permits, patients who are in a condition tomarch, and who cannot or do not wish to work, are brought together inthe hospital courtyard and drilled like soldiers. Imitation is such a powerful lever, even on the laziest and most obstinate men, that I have seenseveral of the latter, who, resisting everything to start with, nonethelessagree to march. This is a start of methodical, regular, reasonable action,and this action leads to others."28 With regard to one patient he says:"If I succeed in getting him to accept promotion, putting him in theplace of commander, and if he acquits himself well, from that moment Iwould consider his cure almost certain. I never employ a supervisor tocommand the marching and maneuvers, only patients." (p.107)


Foucault, Postmodernism, Psychiatric Power, Power, Resistance, Labour, Wages, Medicine, Clinic, Psychiatrization


Psychiatric Power, Foucault Citations



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