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

At the time when, in the nineteenth century, the European proletariat was being formed, conditions of workand housing, movements of the labor force, and the use of child labor, all made family relationships increasingly fragile and disabled the family structure. In lact, at the beginning ol the nineteenth century, entirebands of children, young people, and transhumant workers were living in dormitories and forming communities, which then immediately disintegrated. There was an increasing number of natural children,foundlings, and infanticides, etcetera. Faced with this immediate consequenceof the constitution of the proletariat, very early on, around1820-1825, there was a major effort to reconstitute the family; employers,philanthropists, and public authorities used every possible means toreconstitute the family, to force workers to live in couples, to marry, havechildren and to recognize their children. The employers even madefinancial sacrifices in order to achieve this refamilialization of workingclass life. Around 1830-1835, the first workers' cities were constructedat Mulhouse.52 People were given houses in which to reconstitute a family, and crusades were organized against those who lived as man andwife without really being married. In short, there were a series ofarrangements that were disciplinary. (p.83)


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


Psychiatric Power, Foucault Citations



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