Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Power/knowledge - untying the knot : an examination of a penological method
Author: Vaughan, Barry
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1997
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis examines an assumption that has recently permeated social theory, that power and knowledge constitute each other and are mutually reinforcing. Knowledge is an instrument to be used to realise the interests of some group, i. e. is subservient to agency. This assumption is oblivious to the rise of realist social theory which has argued that the facilitating frameworks of social life, structure and culture (which would typically include 'knowledge') must be construed as having a causal influence themselves, regardless of what people make of them or do despite them. These do not automatically satisfy groups' wishes and may hinder them. The power/knowledge thesis has taken greatest hold in the study of prisons; it is argued that the penal reforms instituted in the 19th century were designed to control prisoners so that what seemed like a benevolent regime was actually an efficient mode of control. Thus the ideas that were used to direct the treatment of offenders were a means of power over prisoners. This thesis will incorporate historical material on the development of the prisons and show that supporting ideas of reform was not necessarily an exercise in power, so undercutting the principal thesis of the power/knowledge school. I will draw on recent developments in social theory to show how the interplay between power and knowledge might be better conceived. I will argue that only by estimating the logical connection between ideas can we understand their proper role- how they may facilitate or frustrate action. Thus I will query whether reform ever gained the prominence it did and show that it had always to be balanced by its logical counterpart, deterrence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare