“Let those who have an experience of prison speak”: The Critique & Praxis of the Prisons Information Group (1970-1980)

  • Bernard E. Harcourt Columbia University

Author Biography

Bernard E. Harcourt, Columbia University

Bernard E. Harcourt is the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science at Columbia University and a chaired professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. An editor of Michel Foucault’s work in French and English, Harcourt is the author of Critique & Praxis: A Critical Philosophy of Illusions, Values, and Action (2020), The Counterrevolution: How Our Government Went to War Against Its Own Citizens (2018), Exposed: Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age (2015), and The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order (2011), among other books. He is also a litigator and advocate, and the recipient of the 2019 Norman Redlich Capital Defense Distinguished Service Award from the New York City Bar Association for his longtime representation of persons incarcerated on death row.


Artières, Philippe, Laurent Quéro, and Michelle Zancarini-Fournel, ed., Le Groupe d’information sur les prisons: Archives d’une lutte 1970-1972. Paris: IMEC, 2004.

Artières, Philippes, “Les mutins, la psychiatre et l’aumônier. Archéologie d’un silence foucauldien,” Le Portique 13-14 (2004). https://doi.org/10.4000/leportique.617 .

Bromwich, Jonah E., and Jan Ransom, “An Absolute Emergency at Rikers Island as Violence Increases,” New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/24/nyregion/rikers-island-emergency-chaos.html (accessed September 7, 2021).

Burkhalter, Eddie, et al. “Incarcerated and Infected: How the Virus Tore Through the U.S. Prison System,” New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/04/10/us/covid-prison-outbreak.html?smid=url-share (accessed October 17, 2021).

Courtois, Kalinka. “The ‘Groupe d’information sur les prisons’: French Intellectuals and Activism Post May ’68”, PhD diss., Columbia University, 2019.

Editorial Board, “The Endless Catastrophe of Rikers Island,” New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/15/opinion/rikers-island-de-blasio-close.html (accessed September 15, 2021).

Gortler, Shai. “Carceral Subjectivity and the Exercise of Freedom in Israel-Palestine”, PhD diss., University of Minnesota, 2020.

Michel Foucault, “On Prisons” [1971], in Intolerable, ed. Kevin Thompson and Perry Zurn, trans Perry Zurn and Erik Bernanek. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2021.

Harcourt, Bernard E., Critique & Praxis. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020.

Harcourt, Bernard E., and Fabienne Brion, “The Louvain Lectures in Context,” in Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling, ed. Bernard E. Harcourt and Fabienne Brion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014.

Jeyifo, Biodun, “Inside and Outside the Whale: ‘Bandung’, ‘Rwanda’, Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies,” 2002 Annual Invitational Lecture. Society for the Humanities, Cornell University (2002).

Joseph, George, and Reuven Blau, “Self-Harm is Exploding in New York City Jails, Internal Numbers Show,” Gothamist.com, https://gothamist.com/news/self-harm-exploding-new-york-city-jails-internal-numbers-show-rikers (accessed September 7, 2021).

Kiéfer, Audrey, “Michel Foucault: Le GIP, l’histoire et l’action”, PhD diss, Université de Picardie Jules Verne d’Amiens, 2006.

Liptak, Adam, “1 in 100 U.S. Adults Behind Bars, New Study Says,” New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/28/us/28cnd-prison.html#:~:text=For%20the%20first%20time%20in,according%20to%20a%20new%20report.&text=The%20number%20of%20American%20adults,99.1%20adults%20is%20behind%20bars (accessed October 17, 2021).

McLemore, Brie. “Procedural Justice, Legal Estrangement, and the Black People’s Grand Jury,” Virginia Law Review 105:2 (2019), 371-395.

The Covid Prison Project, https://covidprisonproject.com/ (accessed September 14, 2021).

The Marshall Project, “A State-by-State Look at 15 Months of Coronavirus in Prisons,” https://www.themarshallproject.org/2020/05/01/a-state-by-state-look-at-coronavirus-in-prisons (accessed October 17, 2021).

UCLA Law COVID Behind Bars Data Project, https://uclacovidbehindbars.org/about (accessed September 14, 2021).

Zitouni, Benedikte, “Michel Foucault et le groupe d’information sur les prisons. Comment faire exister et circuler le savoir des prisonniers,” Les Temps Modernes 645-646 (2007), 268-307.

Zurn, Perry, “The GIP and the Question of Failure,” Carceral Notebooks 12 (2017), 36-46.

How to Cite
Harcourt, B. E. (2021). “Let those who have an experience of prison speak”: The Critique & Praxis of the Prisons Information Group (1970-1980). Foucault Studies, (31), 65-70. https://doi.org/10.22439/fs.vi31.6458
Symposium: Intolerable