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

Second, you can see that there is a sort of perfect social microcosm, a sort of little Utopia of general social functioning. The asylum is the reserve army of the farm proletariat; it is all those who, potentially,could work, and who, if they cannot work, wait for the moment when they can, and, if they do not have the ability to work, remain in the asylum vegetating. Then there is the place of productive work, which isrepresented by the farm. Then you have the institution in which those who benefit from the work and the profit are found. And to each of these levels corresponds a specific architecture: that of the asylum; thatof the farm, which in reality is a model practically bordering on slavery and colonization; and then the petit chateau with the management quarters.You also have two types of power, the first of which is split. You have the traditional disciplinary power of the asylum, which is negative in away, since its function is to keep people calm without getting anythingpositive from them. Then you have a second disciplinary type of power, but slightly modified, which is, roughly, the power of colonization: putting people to work, with the insane divided into squads andbrigades, etcetera, under the authority and supervision of those whoregularly put them to work. And then there is power on the familymodel for residents ol the petit chateau. (p.127)


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


Psychiatric Power, Foucault Citations



How to contribute.