This discursive analysis of the apprehension of "criminal man" in
nineteenth-century social discourse has foregrounded a web of con-
cepts entangling several discursive practices in the establishment and
maintenance of knowledge and power relations. The concept's infi-
nitely expandable classes (semi-criminals, born criminals, occasional
criminals, latent criminals, criminaloids, animal and vegetable crimi-
nals, master criminals, common criminals) could include any discursive
object (women, children, the "lower orders," the "inferior races") and
legitimate a wide variety of technologies of repression and control (in
police, penitentiary, governmental, and philanthropic organizations).
Discourse on "criminal man" served not only
generate and restrain
a "residuum," but also to produce a consensual community defined
by its difference from, and opposition to, criminality. National edu-
cational systems and the new, mass-produced press would further ar-
the place and voice of "the public," usually defined in terms of
"the nation."
Starting with an analysis of the production and dissemination of
texts on "criminal man," this study thus yields a profile of the
"man," the apprehension of deviance serving to elaborate the other-
wise unsayable grounds of normalcy.l Indeed, the criminal, at first
defined as the sum of his or her lacks (of morality, discipline, health),
finally emerges as the firm figure of knowledge and power, while
"man" appears to have been a fleeting phenomenon: once its con-
trastive function had been served, it could disappear into the un-
knowable background. The constant rumble of criminals in social dis-
course allowed the establishment of the main institutional frameworks
for the production of knowledge and power relations in modern West-
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