Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pauvre petit (Notes on Twee #17)

"In a system of discipline, the child is more individualized than the adult, the patient more than the healthy man, the madman and the delinquent more than the normal and the non-delinquent. In each case, it is towards the first of these pairs that all the individualizing mechanisms are turned in our civilization; and when one wishes to individualize the healthy, normal and law-abiding adult, it is always by asking how much of the child he has in him, what secret madness lies within him, what fundamental crime he has dreamed of committing …

"And if from the early Middle Ages to the present day the 'adventure' is an account of individuality, the passage from the epic to the novel, from the noble deed to the secret singularity, from long exiles to the internal search for childhood, from combats to phantasies, it is also inscribed in the formation of a disciplinary society. The adventure of our childhood no longer finds expression in 'le bon petit Henri,' but in the misfortunes of 'little Hans.'"

— Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish, trans. Alan Sheridan, 193