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Michael Foucault PowerPoint Presentation
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Michael Foucault

Michael Foucault

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Michael Foucault

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    1. Michael Foucault Effective History differs from traditional History in being without constants.

    2. BIOGRAPHY 15 October 1926 25 June 1984 Foucault was born on 15 October 1926 in Poitiers as Paul-Michel Foucault to a notable provincial family. His father, Paul Foucault, was an eminent surgeon and hoped his son would join him in the profession. His early education was a mix of success and mediocrity until he attended the Jesuit Collge Saint-Stanislas, where he excelled. Foucault's personal life during the cole Normale ( university) was difficulthe suffered from acute depression] As a result, he was taken to see a psychiatrist. During this time, Foucault became fascinated with psychology. He earned a licence (degree equivalent to BA) in psychology, a very new qualification in France at the time, in addition to a degree in philosophy, in 1952. Foucault was a member of the French Communist Party from 1950 to 1953. Foucault earned his doctorate in 1961 with his thesis Madness and Insanity: History of Madness in the Classical Age In 1968 he published his book on methodology entitled The Archaeology of Knowledge followed by the History of Sexuality in 1978 Foucault travelled the Middle East, notably Iran and the United States Between 1977 and his death Foucault was professor of the College of France delivering public lectures Foucault died of an AIDS-related illness in Paris on 25 June, 1984. He was the first high-profile French personality who was reported to have AIDS.

    3. CONTEXT

    4. FOCUS The examination of the situation of people existing on the margins of society is one of the mainstays of Foucault's work. His analysis focuses on the 'negative structures' of society or excluded groups, as opposed to more traditional approaches which focus on the mainstream

    5. MADNESS AND CIVILIZATION 1961 This work examined ideas, practices, institutions, art and literature relating to madness in western history. Foucault identifies 3 views of madness; 17th century Europe where a movement called the Great Confinement saw unreasonable people locked away and institutionalized. 18th century saw madness as opposition to reason 19th century where madness was a mental illness Foucault claims the rise of scientific or humanitarian treatments were no less controlling, with repeated brutality intending to alter the judgement of the patient.

    6. HISTORY OF SEXUALITY 1984 Focusing primarily on the last two centuries, Foucault saw the functioning of sexuality as an analyses of power related to the emergence of a science of sexuality (scientia sexualis) and the emergence of biopower in the West. In particular he examines the discourse which saw sex as normal/deviant.


    8. DISCONTINUITY-A KEY CONCEPT Foucault continually used the principles of discontinuity, break and difference in his analyses, in order to undermine philosophical notions of unchanging essences in history. These essences include the 'Man' and 'human nature' and 'great man' of humanist philosophies. Discontinuity also challenges notions of cause, effect, progress, destiny, tradition and influence in history.


    10. REGIMES OF TRUTH Foucault defines 'regimes of truth' as the historically specific mechanisms which produce discourses which function as true in particular times and places. READ THE ASSOCIATED HANDOUT ON TRUTH AND POWER- MAKE NOTES

    11. Foucaults purpose In the philosopher's later years, interpreters of Foucault's work attempted to engage with the problems presented by the fact that the late Foucault seemed in tension with the philosopher's earlier work. When this issue was raised in a 1982 interview, Foucault remarked "When people say, 'Well, you thought this a few years ago and now you say something else,' my answer is [laughs] 'Well, do you think I have worked hard all those years to say the same thing and not to be changed?'" He refused to identify himself as a philosopher, historian, structuralist, or Marxist, maintaining that "The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning." In a similar vein, he preferred not to claim that he was presenting a coherent and timeless block of knowledge; he rather desired his books "to be a kind of tool-box which others can rummage through to find a tool which they can use however they wish in their own area I don't write for an audience, I write for users, not readers.

    12. UNDERSTANDING FOUCAULT Geoff Danaher Twenty years ago Michel Foucault was probably the most vilified and criticised of all the so-called 'postmodern theorists', today he is widely accepted as being one of, if not the, most influential Baudrillard, the most provocative of the postmodern theorists, authored a book entitled Forget Foucault. Some writers who were associated with the newer fields of feminist studies and postcolonial studies strongly criticised Foucault for not dealing specifically with what they considered to be the most important issues in western history (the exploitation of women and the enslavement of colonial peoples). And yet, despite these criticisms, both fields are highly indebted to Foucault. The first volume of The History of Sexuality, which challenged the notion of a progressive movement in western culture towards "sexual freedom', made many feminists rethink the relationship between sex, sexuality and identity. And Edward Said Orientalism, probably the most influential book to come out of postcolonial studies, used theoretical approaches and language taken directly from Foucault in order to describe and analyse the ways in which the West 'produced' the concepts of the Orient and the oriental for political purposes. In the last two decades Foucault's books and theories have been taken up and used not only by academics and students (for instance in cultural studies, history, literature, gender studies, postcoloniality, sociology and philosophy), but also by professionals in areas such as medicine, public health, social work and welfare; law, economics, business management and government; criminology and prison management; media, education, architecture, art and journalism; and computing, public relations and ecology.

    13. ONE PHILOSOPHER ON ANOTHER As far as I can see, all he has to offer are brilliant redescriptions of the past, supplemented by helpful hints on how to avoid being trapped by old historiographical assumptions. These hints consist largely of saying: do not look for progress or meaning in history; do not see the history of a given activity, of any segment of culture, as the development of rationality or of freedom; do not use any philosophical vocabulary to characterize the essence of such activity or the goal it serves; do not assume that the way this activity is presently conducted gives any clue to the goals it served in the past." Rorty Foucault and Epistemology, 1986,

    14. FOUCAULT LIVE Foucault died of an AIDS-related illness in Paris on 25 June, 1984. He was the first high-profile French personality who was reported to have AIDS.