28 February 1973

Part of the Michel Foucault book series (MFL)


I HAVE TRIED TO answer the question of the transfer of the penitentiary element into the penal apparatus by showing that the notion of “seditious mobs” was not sufficient to resolve the problems. In its place I have introduced the more operational notion of lower-class illegalism (illégalisme populaire). Now, it seems to me that under the Ancien Régime this illegalism formed a system with the illegalisms of the other social classes and that, coupled more precisely and closely with bourgeois illegalism, it contributed to the development of capitalist society. Finally, at a certain point, this illegalism was no longer tolerable to the class that had just taken power, because wealth, in its materiality, is spatialized in new forms1 and runs the risk of being attacked frontally by a lower-class illegalism that, henceforth, would not clash with the system of the laws and regulations of power, but with its goods themselves in their material existence.


Eighteenth Century Rural Space Social Pact Supervise Property Operational Notion 
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    See H. Wallon, La Révolution du 31 mai et le fédéralisme en 1793 (Paris: Hachette & Companie, 1886) 2 volumes;Google Scholar
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    provoked by Jacques Derrida’s work, De la grammatologie (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1967), p. 227;Google Scholar
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© Graham Burchell 2015

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