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

Then, at the end of the seventeenth century, and during the eighteenth century, disciplinary apparatuses appear and are established which no longer have a religious basis, which are the transformation of this, but out in the open as it were, without any regular support From the religious side. You see the appearance of disciplinary systems. There is, of course, the army, with quartering to start with, which dates from the second hall of the eighteenth century, the struggle against deserters, that is to say, the use of files and all the techniques of individual identification to prevent people from leaving the army as they entered it, and, finally, in the second half of the eighteenth century, physical exercises and the full use of time. After the army, it was quite simply the working class that began to receive disciplinary apparatuses. With the appearance of the big work shops in the eighteenth century, of the mining towns or big centers of metallurgy, to which a rural population had to be transported and was employed for the first time using completely new techniques, with the metallurgy of the Loire basin and the coalmines of the Massif Central and northern France, you see the appearance of disciplinary forms imposed on workers, with the first workers' cities, like that of Creusot.Then, in the same period, the great instrument of worker discipline, the employment document, the livret, is imposed on every worker. No worker can or has the right to move without a livret recording the name of his previous employer and the conditions under which and reasons why he left him; when he wants a new job or wants to live in a new town, he has to present his livret to his new boss and the municipality, the local  authorities; it is the token, as it were, of all the disciplinary systems that bear down on him. (p.70)


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


Psychiatric Power, Foucault Citations



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