The Cambridge Companion to Foucault (Cambridge Companions to by Gary Gutting

By Gary Gutting

For Michel Foucault, philosophy used to be a manner of wondering the allegedly worthwhile truths that underpin the practices and associations of contemporary society. The essays during this quantity offer a accomplished evaluate of Foucault's significant topics and texts, from his early paintings on insanity via his heritage of sexuality. certain consciousness is additionally paid to thinkers and activities, from Kant via present feminist idea, which are quite vital for figuring out his paintings and its effect. This revised version comprises 5 new essays and revisions of many others, and the huge bibliography has been up to date. First version Hb (1994) 0-521-40332-4 First version PB (1994) 0-521-40887-3

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Foucault’s theories Foucault is an impressive theoretician who builds complex analytic structures with rare facility and acuity. His theorizing is typically not for its own sake but in response to the demands of a specific historical or critical project. Moreover, the theories devised are not intended as permanent structures, enduring in virtue of their universal truth. They are temporary scaffoldings, erected for a specific purpose, that Foucault is happy to abandon to whomever might find them useful, once he has finished his job.

Xml 34 CB909/Gutting 0 521 84082 1 May 16, 2005 thomas flynn statement of the thesis he intends to unveil: the Narrenschiff with its cargo of madmen; Pomme treating a hysteric with baths, ten or twelve hours a day for ten months; Velasquez attempting to depict representation. One could call this the “phenomenological” or descriptive moment in his method. This is followed by a bold claim that counters the received opinion. Then begins the rearrangement of the evidence into a new configuration. The result is an alternative reading that yields new insights: Enlightenment reason, far from liberating madness, confines it; Classical medicine is blind to the individual cases it studies; nineteenth-century political economy is shown to have more in common epistemically with biology and philology of the same period than with eighteenth-century analyses of wealth.

There is an archaeological dimension to his genealogy of the modern penal system. It consists in uncovering those discursive and nondiscursive practices that make it possible, indeed natural, to speak of surveillance, re-education, and training – words from the military and scholastic vocabulary – in the context of judicial punishment. The descriptive aspect of his enterprise reveals a rapid and widespread change in the penal practices of the European and North American communities between 1791 and 1810.

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