Accumulating populations: bodies, institutions and space

Philo, C. (2001) Accumulating populations: bodies, institutions and space. International Journal of Population Geography, 7(6), pp. 473-490. (doi: 10.1002/ijpg.243)

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This paper makes a contribution to the conceptual basis of population geography by introducing ideas from the French thinker, Michel Foucault, concerning the spatial strategies integral to how populations are managed at the micro-scale of institutions such as prisons. These ideas derive from Foucault's writing in Discipline and Punish (1977), and they are the antecedents of his later ideas about ‘biopolitics’, ‘biopower’ and ‘governmentality’ which are already beginning to interest a few population geographers. The relevant passages from Discipline and Punish are explored, and attention is also paid to what Foucault argued here about broader demographic and economic trends framing the late-eighteenth century origins of both modern prisons and, seen here as their close relation, the factories of industrial capitalism. A route into Foucault's ideas is piloted through a review of a book by the sociologist Nathan Kantrowitz, Close Control, which, while never referencing Foucault, clearly demonstrates how one particular Illinois prison entailed a definite exercise in ‘applied micro-population geography’ through which discipline was imposed on its institutionalised population. By moving between Close Control and Discipline and Punish, the paper sketches out materials which complement the long-standing concern of population geographers for the techniques whereby states and other authorities (e.g. churches) seek to manage the dynamics of national, regional and local human populations.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Philo, Professor Christopher
Authors: Philo, C.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:International Journal of Population Geography
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
ISSN (Online):1099-1220
Published Online:28 January 2002

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