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LAW AND SOCIAL THEORY 2000 SESSION ONE TAKE-HOME EXAMINATION NO 2 QUESTION 4 The process by which the bourgeoisie became in the course of the eighteenth century he politically dominant class was masked by the establishment of an explicit coded and formally egalitarian juridical framework made possible by the organization of a parliamentary representative regime But the development and generalization of disciplinary mechanisms constituted the other the dark side of these processesThe real corporeal mechanisms constituted the foundation of the formal juridical liberties What is the thrust of Foucaults thesis set out in this quotation What light do you think it throws on the nature and function of the rule of law and legal rights in contemporary western societies Foucaults thesis attempts to explore the ground-level operations in society that are a counterpart to the higher and widely accepted notions of the rule of law and representative liberal democracy The thrust of his argument is that these notions which we take for granted work because each individual by his or her interactions with others is conditioned to make what they consider free choices but within a framework of discipline coercion and power imbalances The real source of our legal rights and the source of legitimacy for the rule of law are not substantively derived from the top tiers of society parliaments courts etc though they may be formally and legally derived from these but are supported by transparent interactions between the people who claim to be represented at the ground level that region of irregular bodies with their details their multiple movements their heterogenous forces and their spatial relations These are the people who in exercising their free choices are actually perpetuating the system which they live in ultimately they become the tools by which they themselves are governed Foucault uses various metaphors to express this system of government that of the panoptic tower and the prison As I will
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