Introducing Foucault
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Introducing Foucault (Introducing Series)

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3.27 of 5 stars 3.27  ·  rating details  ·  263 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Michel Foucault's work was described at his death as "the most important event of thought in our century." As a philosopher, historian, and political activist he most certainly left behind an enduring and influential body of work, but is this acclaim justified? Introducing Foucault places Foucault's work in its turbulent philosophical and political context, and critically...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published July 20th 1993 by Totem Books (first published 1993)
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Lit Bug
New Review after re-read

This is a preliminary, superficial guide to Foucault, intended for those who are new to him and may not have the patience to drag through his dense theories. Covering his biography in brief with emphasis on turning points in his life, its effects on his formulation of theories and his spats with other theorists, the book provides a short overlook of his life.

The illustrations are often funny, eye-catching - but mostly , the entire book fails for me - the purpose of a grap...more
Mon
Adequate material for bullshitting in theory discussion for a passing grade, just make sure you're not arguing against a Marxist and or feminist. The book is also surprisingly dismissive of Foucault in comparison to the rest of the Introduction series (*cough* Nietzsche). To be fair, as an architect, Foucault at least brought the concept of discourse in the realm of art and architecture after it got screwed up by Le Corbusier and the bunch of Modernists. Your choice of philosophers to quote (as...more
Jasmine
I am rating myself 2 stars not this book. Hear me: I FAILED THIS BOOK THIS BOOK DID NOT FAIL ME.


in reality a long long time ago: I FAILED FOUCAULT HE DID NOT FAIL ME

and back in those days when I was failing foucault I assume I bought this to cease my failure, and well it didn't work I read this and I still have no idea what the fuck he's on about.

back in college I read a lot of philosophers, that is how you go about getting a philosophy degree, and some things (e.g the economic and philosophic...more
Aidan
What do you get when you distill a thinker and his life into a short illustrated volume? An "introduction" to that thinker that is sometimes a bumpy ride. That is the case with this book on Foucault. While the author does a fairly good job explaining Foucault in his philosophical, political, and even personal contexts, the attempts to explain his theory leaves something to be desired.

As is likely in such a short book, the author is only able to give a glimpse of the complex theoretical work tha...more
Jonathan
For me, did what it needed to do - gave me an idea of what Foucault was trying to say. I started working on one of his books and realized that I needed some sort of explanation ahead of time about where he was coming from. I agree strongly with a previous reviewer that the contempt the author shows towards Foucault, however, makes this a less-than-ideal introduction - as would one by someone showering him with praise. This thing is practically slanderous towards him personally with the implicati...more
Joseph Stieb
I don't think I understood anything but the very basics of this stuff. The problem is that I'm not sure it really makes sense or that it's useful in any way. The vocabulary of this discipline (I'm not even sure what discipline Foucault belongs to) is so obscure and esoteric that I can barely understand the basic terms. For instance, Foucault uses "Minimum Quantity" to mean that the punishment must outweigh the advantages of a crime and "sufficient ideality" to mean that the possibility of punish...more
arafat
This was my toilet reading for about a month: I read it only when I was in the toilet. Like most of the "Introducing..." series, the book leaves you with more questions than answers. Which isn't so bad, really, coz then you have more of an incentive to pick up the primary texts themselves. And it's sometimes helpful to get a more casual intro before taking up a difficult author. I learned a few facts about Foucault that I did't know about before. Also, I enjoyed the humor in a few of the drawing...more
Danger Kallisti
Feb 12, 2008 Danger Kallisti rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who think philosophy is too boring or too obtuse to be fun -OR- hardcore philosophy dorks.
An odd little punk rock collage-comic of a philosophy book:

This was an accidental find for me. I was looking up some "serious" philosophy for a discussion with a friend, and the bright colors and goofy cover struck me as... unusual, to say the least.
In the long run, it was definitely worth my time; in the way of truly intelligent things, it managed to be a lot more informative and complex than I initially expected. Not only did it give a clear and concise overview of Foucault, but it referred t...more
Ali
Surprisingly good -- at the end.

The book was a little hard to follow in terms of all the theories it reviewed (it might be better to read the source documents to understand those), but it definitely gave a good sense of who Foucault was as a person. The "graphics" didn't add to much to the text (how do you illustrate complex philosophical ideas in pictures?), but made the subject much less dry. Plus, there were even a few textbook-y jokes in here! (I like those.)

The final chapter of this book is...more
Anna
I read ‘Introducing Foucault’ for two reasons, one wholly superficial. Firstly, because I enjoyed ‘Society Must Be Defended’ and wanted to get an overview of Foucault’s life and other work. Secondly, because I liked the book's cover. I found it a very quick read, as it’s quite short and the text is broken up with lots of illustrative cartoons. I’m not sure how much the cartoons added to the philosophical explanations, although I was amused that Foucault looked uncannily like Spider Jerusalem. I...more
Corbin
I am normally quite a fan of the Introducing... series, but this is the worst one I have read. It relied on previous familiarity with some of the thinker's work, vocabulary, and sometimes even biography. Too often it referred to Foucault's context without actually explaining it. And usually the illustrations are helpful, but I found only about half of the pages' drawings to add to the presentation. You will learn some things about Foucault and his work, but this better serves as a refresher than...more
Mike
I'm not exactly sure why I keep picking up Foucault stuff, but for some reason I think I should try to understand him better. I'm not a big graphic novel guy, but I enjoyed this weird little book, which apparently is part of a series of graphic novels about big thinkers/philosophers. It combines snippets about Foucault's life, books, and philosophy, and the drawings are actually pretty helpful in shining a light on some pretty complicated ideas and theories.
Vikas Datta
Another lucid exposition to a original thinker ceaselessly seeking to understand man's place in relation to his society and works, could double up as an admirably succinct biography
Sean Chick
Horrocks is not off in his analysis, criticisms, and synopsis of Foucault's work, but he fails to connect the dots and goes for too many asides. That might be inevitable when dealing with such a mercurial thinker as Foucault. I certainly came away thinking the man did more harm than good to the left by attacking the basis of the left: the Enlightenment.
Matt
Meh.

Interesting approach with the cartoons and graphic-novel storytelling style, but I feel like a lot of the real ideas were watered-down and glossed over, rather than using the medium to its advantage. Maybe it's just the abstract and near-impenetrable material itself that's the problem, rather than the book and its methods of conveying the material.
Andrea
This does offer a kind of biography and explanation of Foucault's ideas over his life, but the scorn shown by the authors for the subject, or I guess I should say object, make it a less than ideal introduction. It did, however, give me more context some of Foucault's ideas that I'm encountering in my Gender Studies course.
John
I have no idea whether I learnt from this book what Foucault was trying to say, but I don't care either, I like the observation that knowledge evolves through discourse rather than as a reflection of objective reality. That explains why politics, medicine, economics, education and the justice system are such crap.
Chris Hearn
This was good when I read it before reading any Foucault, and just as good to read after reading most of his important works to brush up and put them into chronological order in my mind. Most of this series is pretty great like that. Going to hang onto them all for my son to read one day.
Christine
the tongue-in cheek illustrations with the dense foucauldian ideas were like sugar with bitter medicine.

a good introduction. the ideas were the perfect balance of information and contextualization.
Mrityunjay Mrityunjay
It's a very very compact 'NUT'SHELL case. You are going to need lots of detailed accompanied reading to decipher every page of this book. Great 'Quick-ref' sorts of thing.
gdg
While some of the things which give context for Foucault's thinking, I found this book to be frustrating and not useful in elucidating his ideas.
E
"Foucault fucked a young man who was working for the police to pay for his university education."
Joseph Harriott
Feb 26, 2010 Joseph Harriott is currently reading it
well he sure is clever
David
Not quite as unreadable as Horrock's Introducing Baudrillard, but by no means is this the sort of accessible and introductory book that something with a title of "Introducing...." should be. Like the author's book on Baudrillard, the only worthwhile parts were those on the subject himself; Horrock failed to "introduce" Foucault's ideas in a way that makes any sense to someone who hasn't read Foucault. (With Baudrillard, I actually had read that author, and still found Horrock's book to be incomp...more
Salma
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A. Marques
A. Marques marked it as to-read
Jul 22, 2014
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