The Enlightenment and Modernity

  • Mark Cowling


This brief chapter discusses an excellent edited collection put together by Geras on the Enlightenment. There is a simplistic view of the Enlightenment based on the ideas of Foucault, which sees it as the locus of a new form of discipline, linked to particular reorientations of knowledge. It tends to emphasize the darker side of Enlightenment values, found in the panopticon, colonialism and patriarchy. The collection is an excellent critique of this popular set of views, emphasizing the oversimplifications of Foucault and the diversity of Enlightenment thinking.


  1. Beccaria, C. (1764). An Essay on Crimes and Punishments. Available in Numerous Editions and Several Internet Locations, Including
  2. Foucault, M. (1991). Discipline and Punish. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  3. Geras, N., & Wokler, R. (2000). The Enlightenment and Modernity. Houndmills: Macmillan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Cowling
    • 1
  1. 1.Teesside University [retired]MiddlesboroughUK

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