Many of Foucault’s works such as “Madness and Civilization” and “Discipline and Punish” exhaustively document the rise of “epistemo-scientific” power (often shown in the practical context of psychiatry and medicine) and corresponding replacement of its less efficient predecessor “juridical power”. According to Discipline and Punish, this “shift” took place at the turn of the 19th century.
Of course, Foucault’s “histories” of this shift focus almost exclusively on French history. Therefore, it is quite fascinating to note an almost perfectly parallel account of this shift in which scientific power literally overwhelms juridical power in English history–an account beautifully demonstrated in a less than five minute period of the film “The Madness of King George”
Background: the film depicts the late reign of King George III of England (played by Nigel Hawthorne), around the turn of the 19th century, and shows his historically documented descent into madness and subsequent “recovery” with the aid of a puritanical “mad doctor” (played by Ian Holm).