Foucault's book Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, to which the meme primarily alludes, offers an analysis of the historical development of the modern penal system and its transition from execution to incarceration and total control of criminals.
Foucault shows how strict discipline and morality transformed the effect of punishment from the corporeal to the spiritual. The inmates thus become " disciples" who are to be enabled to rejoin society. However, this is also accompanied by the fact that there are other sociocultural institutions besides the prison, but their structures, hierarchies and processes are very similar to those of a prison.
The joke of the meme now arises from the fact that Foucault himself looks through the prison bars and thus experiences the social world as a prison cell. The reaction of the adults in the meme is one of incomprehension, since they experience the world as organized according to the status quo and do not see the similarities of schools, universities, the military, practical vocational training, or psychiatry to the penal system.
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