Saturday, June 19, 2010


The Utah State Prison firing squad execution chamber  Photo: Trent Nelson/Salt Lake Tribune

'[Eventalization] means making visible a singularity at places where there is a temptation to invoke a historical constant, an immediate anthropological trait or an obviousness that imposes itself uniformly on all. To show that things weren’t ‘necessary as all that’; it wasn’t as a matter of course that mad people came to be regarded as mentally ill; it wasn’t self-evident that the only thing to be done with a criminal was to lock them up; it wasn’t self-evident that the causes of illness were to be sought through individual examination of bodies; and so on. A breach of self-evidence, of those self-evidences on which our knowledges, acquiescences and practices rest: this is the first theoretico-political function of eventalization.'

M. Foucault, ‘Impossible Prison’ [1980] in Foucault Live, 1996, p. 277

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