The Foucault Reader: An Introduction to Foucault's ThoughtPaperback
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- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Format: Paperback | 400 pages
- Dimensions: 130mm x 194mm x 22mm | 281g
- Publication date: 28 March 1991
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0140124861
- ISBN 13: 9780140124866
- Sales rank: 21,004
This is an introduction to Foucault's thought, which includes some previously unpublished material.
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One of the leading intellectuals of the twentieth century and the most prominent thinker in post-war France, Foucault's work influenced disciplines as diverse as history, sociology, philosophy, sociology and literary criticism.
Mutterings from the arch-mandarin: interviews, essays, and samples of the many brilliant but torturous books (Madness and Civilization, Discipline and Punish, The History of Sexuality, Power/Knowledge, etc.) by the world's leading meta-historian. As the anthology unfolds, newcomers to Foucault should be dazzled by his erudition and analytical daring in reconstructing the patterns of institutional power (prisons, insane asylums, hospitals, workhouses) and, still more ambitiously, the "genealogy" of the self in western culture. Foucault displays an exceptional grasp of recondite sources (everyting from Isocrates' views on pederasty to obscure 18th-century medical texts) and a gift for opening up dramatic new perspectives (as in his evocation of "the Great Confinement," which he dates from the founding of Paris' Hopital General in 1656). But these highly original "archaeological" studies are vitiated by Foucault's oracular vagueness and abstract neologisms - "empiricities," "adjacencies," "heteropias," "penality." He delights in the impenetrable apothegm ("Nietzsche. . . burned for us. . . the intermingled promises of the dialectic and anthropology"), the outrageous claim ("Marxism exists in 19th century thought like a fish in water: that is, it is unable to breathe anywhere else"), the staggering generalization ("The space of Western knowledge is now about to topple"), and the sniffish pronouncement ("Sex is boring"). A handy collection for Foucaultistes, but the uninitiated will have to take the bafflement along with the enrichment. (Kirkus Reviews)
Back cover copy
Michael Foucault was one of the most influential thinkers in the contemporary world, someone whose work has affected the teaching of half a dozen disciplines ranging from literary criticism to the history of criminology. But of his many books, not one offers a satisfactory introduction to the entire complex body of his work. The Foucault Reader was commissioned precisely to serve that purpose.
Michel Foucault was one of the most influential thinkers in the contemporary world, someone whose work has affected the teaching of half a dozen disciplines ranging from literary criticism to the history of criminology. But of his many books, not one offers a satisfactory introduction to the entire complex body of his work. The Foucault Reader was commissioned precisely to serve that purpose. The Reader contains selections from each area of Foucault's work as well as a wealth of previously unpublished writings, including important material written especially for this volume, the preface to the long-awaited second volume of The History of Sexuality, and interviews with Foucault himself, in the course of which he discussed his philosophy at first hand and with unprecedented candor. This philosophy comprises an astonishing intellectual enterprise: a minute and ongoing investigation of the nature of power in society. Foucault's analyses of this power as it manifests itself in society, schools, hospitals, factories, homes, families, and other forms of organized society are brought together in The Foucault Reader to create an overview of this theme and of the broad social and political vision that underlies it.