Foucault, Michel


Foucault, Michel
(1926-1984)
   philosopher
   As a philosopher, Michel Foucault attempted to show that the basic ideas usually taken to be permanent truths about human nature and society change in the course of history. His studies challenged the influence of Marx and Freud and offered new concepts that challenged previously held assumptions about criminology, gay rights, welfare, insurance, and care of the emotionally ill. Born in Poitiers, Foucault studied at the École normale supérieure in Paris. He served as chair of philosophy at various universities and, in 1970, was elected to one of the highest French academic posts, as professor of the history of systems of thought at the collège de France. He subsequently gained an international reputation. Among the many influences on Foucault's thought were the German philosophers Nietzsche and Heidegger. Foucault's thought explored the shifting pattern of power within a society and the ways in which power relates to the self. His ideas developed through three stages. In Histoire de la folie à l'âge classique (1961), he traced the evolution of the perception of madness in the Western world. In the second phase of his thinking, Foucault wrote Naissance de la clinique, une archéologie du regard médical (1963), and Les Mots et les Choses (1966), one of his most important works, in which he explores the relationship of semantics to the nature of things. Foucault argued that each way of understanding things has its advantages and its dangers. His last period was inaugurated by the publication of his monumental and unfinished Histoire de la sexualité, which finally comprised three volumes. (Foucault had planned six.) The three complete tomes include La Volonté de savoir, 1976; L'Usage des plaisirs, and Le Souci de soi, 1984. In these books, Foucault traces the stages by which people in western societies have come to understand themselves as sexual beings, and relates the sexual self-concept to the moral and ethical life of the individual. In all the works of his last period. Foucault seeks to show that western society has developed what he terms "bio-power"—which is a new system of control that traditional authority is unable to understand and criticize. Foucault describes it as a new power that enhances life by developing individual ethics which allow one to turn one's life into something that can be respected and admired.

France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Foucault Michel — Michel Foucault Pour les articles homonymes, voir Foucault. Michel Foucault Philosophe occidental Philosophie contemporaine Naissance : 15 octobre&# …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Foucault,Michel — Foucault, Michel. 1926 1984. French philosopher and historian who explored the role played by power in shaping knowledge. His works include Madness and Civilization (1961) and the multi volume History of Sexuality (1976 1986). * * * …   Universalium

  • Foucault, Michel — ▪ French philosopher and historian Introduction in full  Paul Michel Foucault  born October 15, 1926, Poitiers, France died June 25, 1984, Paris  French philosopher and historian, one of the most influential and controversial scholars of the post …   Universalium

  • Foucault, Michel — (1926 84)    by John Marks   Michel Foucault and Deleuze enjoyed an intense philosophical friendship, and much of Deleuze s writing on Foucault might be located within the tradition of the laudatory essay that characterised a certain strand of… …   The Deleuze dictionary

  • Foucault, Michel — (1926 84)    by John Marks   Michel Foucault and Deleuze enjoyed an intense philosophical friendship, and much of Deleuze s writing on Foucault might be located within the tradition of the laudatory essay that characterised a certain strand of… …   The Deleuze dictionary

  • Foucault, Michel — (1926 84) A controversial French post structuralist philosopher, professor of ‘the history of systems of thought’, who had a pronounced (some say unfortunate) impact on sociology from the mid 1970s onwards. His work defies easy description and… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Foucault, Michel — (1926–1984) French historian and philosopher. Born in Poitiers, Foucault was educated at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, taught in Germany, Sweden, and Algiers, and held chairs at Clermont Ferrand and Vincennes, before being appointed… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Foucault, Michel — See Structuralism (french) and after …   History of philosophy

  • Foucault, Michel — ► (1926 84) Filósofo francés. Su proyecto teórico constituye un esfuerzo por repensar la tradición cultural posrenacentista desde una perspectiva que podría denominarse etnológica. Obras: Histoire de la folie à l´âge classique (1961), Les mots et …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • FOUCAULT, Michel — (1926 1988)    very influential French philosopher who promoted a highly RELATIVISTIC conception of the prevailing assumptions about what is to count as knowledge and as acceptable discourse. His views are expounded in The Order of Things (1970) …   Concise dictionary of Religion


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