Special Guest Speaker Professor Claire Kramsch delivered an illuminating lecture at the 2015 German Studies Conference Barriers entitled: “Discipline and Punish in the Language Classroom. Does Foucault Still Hold Today?”:
“In Discipline & Punish, Foucault compares the modes of punishment in pre-modern and modern times for the transgression of political/religious rule in the 16th century, the infringement of juridical laws in the 17th and the violation of societal norms in the 18th. Rule, law and norm were so many barriers that both facilitated and impeded the proper functioning of society and the construction of the good citizen. While the punishment in the 16th century was meant to undo the crime and restore the monarchical Law, in the 17th it was meant to punish the offenders for what they had done by recoding the crime and reeducating the person, and from the 18th century on it was meant to punish the delinquents by monitoring their every move and restraining and retraining their bodies. The three forms of punishment, he says, are still with us today but they have given way to a disciplining society that manifests itself in particular through academic practices such as tests and exams, classification and hierarchizing of students, and in general through a homogenization of behaviors, goals and values.
I would like to explore to what extent a Foucauldian analysis can illuminate the practice of learning and teaching foreign languages…” (see full text of lecture here)