This article expresses some ideas on the application of the methodological and epistemological principles, drawn from the concept of Michel Foucault, to legal sociology. In fact, Michel Foucault urged that his work be considered a tool-box where useful working instruments could be found. Among these, we find three types of instruments, conceptual, methodological and epistemological. This article discusses four epistemological principles taken from the work of Michel Foucault, namely (I) the break with anthro-pologism and with the cult of Man ; (2) rejection of the universals of thought; (3) the description of the paradigms for truth, understood as the conditions for true discourse, as defined in specific social formations ; (4) critical materialism. We also take into account a double principle of objectivication in the work of Foucault. The first of these principles acts at a more global level whereas the second operates analytically. We discuss how these epistemological principles and these objectivication forms guided us in our related sociological studies on the law. We also show how these studies were inspired by the work of Foucault, who, like De la gouvernementalité, were published after his death.
With Discipline and Punish, Michel Foucault offered the social sciences a theory of power, and conceptual tools that radically transformed law reform studies. In criminology, for example, the social constructionist tradition, by drawing on Foucault's notion of power, increasingly inscribed law reform studies in a narrative of the dispersal of social control. Attempts to reform the criminal justice system are understood in terms of the increased penetration and expansion of social control into the whole of the social body ; thus, "nothing works !" In this article, I intend to challenge this conventional wisdom on law reform and the dispersion of social control, by demonstrating that it is founded on an essential-ist notion of power that we cannot attribute to Foucault. In light of his work on sexuality, and governmentality, I will examine how Foucault's productive notion of power is better understood in terms of "mechanisms for life", strategies that both constrain — through objectifying techniques — and enable — through subjectifying techniques — agency. The implications of Foucault's productive notion of power for law reform are examined in terms of methodological considerations.
This article is an attempt to investigate the various meanings of the words "postmodernity", "postmodernism" and "postmodern". ft also assesses the significance of these words and of the concepts that they express for criminology. The paper is divided in three parts. The first part tries to dispell important misunderstandings that have sprung in relation to postmodernism. The most significant of these is the belief that there is such a thing as a postmodernist "method" in the social sciences. The second part identifies the origin of the term "postmodern" and discusses various themes which are perceived to be characteristic of postmodern thought. These themes are: the present legitimation crisis, the internal reflexivity of scientific theory, discourse analysis and meta-language, social and cultural fragmentation and historical pessimism. The last part draws the consequences of the preceding analyses for the development of criminology.
This article presents the results of a descriptive and comparative study of 37 adolescents guilty of sexual agression. These youths had been admitted to a medium security psychiatric hospital for an evaluation of their sexual problem by specialists. None of them received a psychiatric diagnosis. The results are presented for the entire group but the latter was divided into two, based on the criterion of the age of the victim (agressors against children, agressors against adults). There were numerous significant differences observed between the two groups whereas many similarities were noted with groups of adult agressors (agressors against children and agressors against women).
Like most areas of health that interested medicine in the 19th century, it was almost without opposition that insanity was to become a new medical specialty during the past century. The aim of this article is to shed some light on the dynamics that have allowed doctors since the I7tl% and 18th century to share their point of view with the general public for whom the existential causes of madness seem to have been taken for granted.