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Foucault: WTF? An Introduction to Foucault, Power and Knowledge - Tom Nicholas
Foucault's theories primarily address the relationship between power and knowledge , and how they are used as a form of social control through societal institutions. Though often cited as a post-structuralist and postmodernist , Foucault rejected these labels. After several years as a cultural diplomat abroad, he returned to France and published his first major book, The History of Madness After obtaining work between and at the University of Clermont-Ferrand , he produced The Birth of the Clinic and The Order of Things , publications which displayed his increasing involvement with structuralism , from which he later distanced himself. These first three histories exemplified a historiographical technique Foucault was developing called "archaeology".
The relationship between power and knowledge has been always a central theme in the social sciences. According to Foucault's understanding of power, power is based on knowledge and makes use of knowledge; on the other hand, power reproduces knowledge by shaping it in accordance with its anonymous intentions. Foucault incorporates this inevitable mutuality into his neologism power-knowledge, the most important part of which is the hyphen that links the two aspects of the integrated concept together and alludes to their inherent inextricability. It is helpful noting that Foucault has a textual understanding of both power and knowledge. Both power and knowledge are to be seen as de-centralised, relativistic, ubiquitous, and unstable dynamic systemic phenomena. Thus Foucault's concept of power draws on micro-relations without falling into reductionism because it does not neglect, but emphasizes, the systemic or structural aspect of the phenomenon. However, he does not actually define knowledge.
The problematic of 'pouvoir-savoir', power and knowledge, which has given this book its title, is a fundamental theme of. Foucault's historical studies of the.
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Understanding Why Knowledge is Power - Michel Foucault
Michel Foucault — was born in Poiters, France. There, Foucault earned degrees in both psychology and philosophy, but his academic success was not easily gained. Later, in , while serving as a French delegate in Sweden, Foucault submitted his doctoral thesis at the University of Uppsala and had it rejected. Foucault was also well known in France for his political activism. Foucault died in from an AIDS-related illness. Today he remains one of the most influential and widely read social theorists in recent history.