Dan's Reviews > The Foucault Reader

The Foucault Reader by Michel Foucault
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Jan 06, 09

bookshelves: philosophy
Read in January, 2009, read count: 1

This book is a good overview on Foucault's theories with regard to how we relate to power, how we relate to one another, and how we relate to ourselves. The earliest part of the book is about madness, and the later essays are about sex. The middle of the book, which excerpts a lot of material from Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, is about institutions of penality.

In contrast to thinkers like Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Paul Sartre, Gilles Deleuze / Felix Guatari, Foucault is fairly straightforward in his argument and style--reading this book there was rarely a moment when I was unsure what Foucault was discussing.

This is all right as an introduction to Foucault's thought mostly because of the length of the pieces--some of which are interviews, others of which are excerpted from longer works. However, as the the editor (Rabinow) points out, there is little in here from Foucault's work in the 1970s. Thus, there is no mention anywhere of the Foucauldian concept of the "episteme." On the other hand, with the inclusion of some of Foucault's earliest writings and his latest writings, the reader can see how the questions Foucault asked and the methods he employed to investigate them remained a constant through his career.
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