Ordering For Care And Caring For Order: Medical Power In English Prisons

Sim, Joe (1989). Ordering For Care And Caring For Order: Medical Power In English Prisons. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.000049e2


This thesis is concerned with developing a sociological analysis of the history and consolidation of the medical service in English prisons. It covers the period 1774-1988 and explores a number of dimensions in relation to the Prison Medical Service (PWS) during this period. It challenges the notion of historical progression and benevolence which is often linked to an evolutionary view of medical development. An alternative theoretical perspective is proposed based on a critical reading of the work of Michel Foucault. This critical reading allows for the exploration of the relationship between medical discourse, discipline and regulation; the differential impact of medical power on women. prisoners; the relationship between "less-eligibility" and the medical care of the confined; the resistance of prisoners to medical power; the inter-relationship between professional power and the English state. From this dialectical analysis, it is proposed that wider concerns around the regulation of the body and the normalisation of the mind were crucial determining factors in the consolidation of medical and psychiatric power in English prisons.

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