See also: Foucault
Paul Michel Foucault , born the October 15th 1926 with Poitiers and dead the June 26th 1984 with Paris, is a Philosophe French. It was, between 1970 and 1984 holder of a pulpit to the Collège de France to which it gave the title of Histoire of the Systems of Thought .
Foucault resisted the biographical, insistent experiment on the fact that its personality could only change, to become different and on the importance of " déprendre of oneself-même." , and that it could consequently exist publicly only via its own writings, this position joining its work on the concept of Aussi author, in his will, written two years before its death, it notes: “No posthumous publication” . One could on the contrary to support that to write “Not posthumous publication” (wish which was not respected since one publishes his courses at the Collège de France) is typically the act of an author (which exerts his authority on its work), which is coherent with its real analyzes on the concept of author, in which it shows how the function-author appeared and imposed itself like appears necessary. As regards the “biography”, he also insisted, with many recoveries, on the fact that all its books were related to its personal experiences, and that one could read them like as many “fragments of autobiography”. It is quite obvious besides (the continuation of this article attests it sufficiently) that its work developed in a close connection with its life, and that it will have been, for a good portion, a deliberation de on oneself and transformation of oneself.
Paul-Michel Foucault was born in 1926 with Poitiers, in a family of notable of province. His/her father, Paul Foucault, are an eminent surgeon who has great hopes to see his son joining it in this profession. Contrary, it is his/her Denys brother, seven years its junior, who married the profession of the father, Michel him, being very quickly attracted by the History. It should be noted here that it gave up later the “Paul” of its name for reasons which remain always unknown. During its youth, its education is a mixture of success and results poor, to its entry at the Company of the Jesuits, the Saint-Stanislas college where soon he excels. After the war and the German occupation, Foucault fails first once the entrance examination to the National university (ENS), street of Ulm to Paris, and enters in khâgne to the Lycée Henri-Iv. He is finally received with the ENS in 1946.
At the National university
The daily life of Foucault at the Teacher training school difficult and is animated; he suffers from serious depression, marked by two attempts at Suicide (1948 and 1950). It is brought to see a psychiatrist, Dr. Gaillot, for one short period. Besides it develops at the same period a fascination for the Psychologie. Thus, in addition to its license in philosophy in the Sorbonne, it obtains a license in psychology in 1947, whose pulpit had just been created. It takes part then very quickly in the clinical branch of this discipline where it is brought to côtoyer various personalities, of which Ludwig Binswanger.
Like many others normaliens of this time, Foucault adheres to the French Communist party, but for one short period only, of 1950 to 1953. It adheres to it according to thus the steps of its mentor of the time, Louis Althusser. When it leaves the party, it is on the basis of information which then started to filter on the real situation and of the Gulag in Soviet Union, under the dictatorship of Stalin. Contrary to the majority of the members of the party, Foucault never took part very actively in his cell.
In 1951, it is received with the aggregation of philosophy, after having wiped a failure the previous year.
Beginning of careerWhile occupying a station of repeater at the Teacher training school, it accepts a station of assistant at the University of Lille, where of 1953 with 1954 it teaches psychology. To note that it is at that time that it binds with the type-setter Jean Barraqué. In 1954 Foucault publishes its first book, Mental disease and personality , a work ordered by Althusser and that he repudiated thereafter. It quickly becomes to him apparent that it is not interested by a career of teacher, and it then undertakes a long exile of France. The same year, it thus accepts a station at the University of Uppsala in Sweden as a cultural adviser (a position who was arranged for him by Georges Dumézil, which became a friend and mentor thereafter). It is fine 1958 which it leaves Sweden for Warsaw. It is there in charge of the reopening of the Center of French civilization. In 1959, it ends up being worried by the police force of Gomulka which is alarmed at its work and frequentations, and which requires its departure.
Foucault turns over in France in 1960 to finish his thesis and to occupy a station of Philosophie at the University of Clermont-Ferrand. It is there that it meets Daniel Defert, which remained his/her companion until the end of his days. In 1961 it obtains its doctorate by supporting two theses (as it was of habit at the time), one known as thesis minor and entitled Kant, Anthropologie , brought back by Jean Hyppolite, the other known as thesis of State entitled Folie and Déraison. History of the madness at the age traditional , and brought back by G. Canguilhem and D. Lagache. Madness and Déraison are very well accommodated and Foucault remains very prolific. Wire of doctor, it is interested in the epistemology of medicine and publishes in 1963 Naissance of the private clinic: an archeology of the medical knowledge , Raymond Roussel , as well as a republication of its book of 1954 (under a new title, Mental disease and psychology ), than it repudiated again thereafter. At the beginning of this year it entered with Roland Barthes and Michel Deguy to the first " The Council of rédaction" critical review near Jean Piel which takes again the direction of the review after the death of Georges Bataille.
Following the assignment of Defert in Tunisia for the duration of his military service, Foucault also settles and takes there to him a station at the University of Tunis in 1965. In January, it is named at the Commission of reform of the universities installation by the Minister for the education of the time, Christian Fouchet, and one speaks then about a possible nomination at the post of sub-manager of higher educations. It seems however that a survey carried out into its private life by certain academics is at the origin of his not-nomination.
In 1966 it publishes the Words and the Things , which is immediately an immense success. At the time, the passion for the Structuralisme is with its paroxysm, and Foucault finds himself very quickly attached to researchers and philosophers such as Jacques Derrida, Claude Lévi-Strauss and Roland Barthes, then perceived like the new wave of thinkers ready to reverse the Existentialisme and the total intellectual incarnated by Jean-Paul Sartre. Number of the debates, exchanges and interviews implying Foucault are then made the echoes of the opposition between the Humanisme, and of its stamping by the study of the systems and their structures. However Foucault well quickly wearied this label of “structuralist”. It should be noted that this year 1966 is that of an effervescence without similar in the social sciences: Lacan, Lévi-Strauss, Benveniste, Genette, Greimas, Doubrovsky, Todorov and Barthes publishes some the their most important works.
Foucault is always with Tunis during the events of May 1968, where it is very deeply moved by the revolt by the Tunisian students, the same year. To the autumn 1968 it returns to France where it publishes the Archeology of the knowledge , an answer to its criticisms, in 1969.
Post-1968: Foucault the activist
As of the end of the events of 1968 the government decides creation of a experimental university with Vincennes. Foucault takes there the direction of the department of philosophy. In December of this same year, it invites there as a majority of the young academics of left. Radicalism of the one of them, the philosopher Judith Miller, results the withdrawal from its accreditation at the department by the Minister of education. Foucault joint then with the students who in reprisals occupy the administrative buildings of the campus, and face the police force.
The position of Foucault with Vincennes made failure when as of 1970 it is elected with the Collège de France, the most prestigious institution of the academic body, as professor of Histoire of the systems of thought , a title chosen by him. the Order of the speech , which appears in 1971, constitutes its inaugural lesson. Its political commitment then increased, Daniel Defert being joined to the proletarian Gauche, movement Maoïste not Leninist, being become clandestine. It is following an hunger strike of some of its militants (to obtain the statute of political prisoners) that Foucault bases the Groupe of Information on the Prisons (GIP) to allow the prisoners to express itself on the conditions of their imprisonment (of the militants inserted of the questionnaires clandestinely in the prisons). In July 1970, after multiple publications and investigations of the GIP, the daily press and the radios are authorized in the prisons. In November 1972, it sets up, with Serge Livrozet which leaves prison and of which it will preface the test prison with the revolt , the Comité of action of the prisoners (CAPE).
The reflection of Foucault attached to this experiment is found then in its book Surveiller and to punish , which appears in 1975. It is a study of the structures of the microphone-capacities which developed in the Western companies at the 18th century, with a glance deepened on the prisons and the Schools.
Its participation in the debate about the the law of decency was another key period of its political activism. In 1977, when a commission of the Parlement French discussed of the reform of the Penal code French, it signed a petition, with Jacques Derrida and Louis Althusser, among so much of others, asking for the abrogation of some of the articles of the law for dépénaliser all the relations authorized between adults and minors in fifteen year old lower part (the age of the assent in France). It estimated that the penal system was replacing the punishment of criminal acts by the creation of a figure of dangerous individual for the company (without being concerned with a real offense) and predicted that a “company of dangers” would occur, when sexuality would become a kind of “wandering danger”, a “illusion”. It stressed that it would be possible thanks to the establishment of a “new medical capacity”, interested by the profits coming from the treatment of this “dangerous individual”.
Foucault: last years of its life
At the end of the years 1970 the political militancy is in retreat, in particular with the disillusionment of number of the militants of left, some of them taking an ideological turn with 180°, forming the New philosophers, and very often quoting Foucault like having been one their major sources of influence, a statute that Foucault him even did not recognize himself completely.
It is during this period that Foucault puts himself at the writing of a project of Histoire of the sexuality whose it will publish three volumes, instead of the six initially envisaged. The first volume of this study, the Will to know , appears in 1976. The second and the third volumes, the Use of the pleasures and the Concern of oneself appeared only eight years later, and surprise the readers by their relatively traditional style, their subject (traditional texts Latin and Greeks) and their approach, in particular the attention that Foucault carries on the subject, concept which he had hitherto neglected.
Foucault spends more and more time then to the the United States, SUNY Buffalo (where it had given a conference at the time of its first visit to the United States in 1970), and more precisely to the university of Berkeley where the students attend in very great number its conferences.
End 1978 it goes to Teheran precipitately, after the massacre of the place Jaleh. On its return it wrote several enthusiastic articles as for the Iranian Révolution; a polemical heat followed. Earlier in the year he travelled to Japan for the second time, expressing an interest for “the limits of Western rationality” (it should be noted that he adds “Question that it is inevitable to pose because Japan is not in opposition to Western rationality”).
Of 1970 at April 1984 it continues its courses at the Collège de France, studying there the principles of gouvernementality, and the biopolitique one (course 1978 and 1979), then starting from 1983 on the government of oneself and others , on the parrhésia.
He is hospitalized with Paris at the beginning of June 1984, and dies the 25, of an opportunist disease related to the virus HIV. They are besides the lies and the misunderstandings around its death which pushed Daniel Defert to create the first French association of fight against the AIDS, ASSISTANCES. In its book With the friend who did not save me the life , Herve Guibert, one of the friends of Michel Foucault (called " Muzil" in the work), will evoke there its illness, its death and its refusal of posthumous publications.
TopicsFoucault is generally known for his criticisms of the social institutions, mainly the Psychiatrie, the Médecine, the prison system, and for his ideas and developments on the history of sexuality, his general theories concerning the complex to be able and relations between being able and knowledge, as well as for his studies of the expression of the Discours in relation to the history of the Western thought, and which were very largely discussed, with the image of “the death of the man” announced in Words and the Things , or of the idea of subjectivation, reactivated in the Concern of oneself in an always problematic way for traditional philosophy of the prone . Its work of philosopher is indissociable of his standpoint de on the topicality, and a permanent problematization of the collective identities and dynamic policies of movement - in particular starting from the gay movement. It seems whereas, more than with a " identité" by static and objectified definition, Foucault is interested in the " modes of vie" and with the processes of subjectivation.
Philosophical affiliationIf its work is often described as post-modernistic or post-structuralist by the commentators and critical contemporary, it itself was more often associated with the movement Structuraliste, especially in the years which followed the publication of the Mots and the Things : although it initially accepted this affiliation, it marked thereafter its distance with respect to the structuralist approach, explaining why contrary to this one, it had not adopted a formal approach. It did not agree either to see the post-modernistic label applied to its work, informant whom it rather preferred to discuss of the manner of defining “modernity” itself. Its intellectual affiliation can be attached to the manner that it had itself to define the functions of the intellectual: not guarantor of certain values, but worried with to see and say , according to an intuitive model of reaction to “the intolerable one”.
The idea of a microphysics of the capacity based on the analysis historian
Michel Foucault is known to have clarified some practical and techniques of the company by his institutions with regard to the individuals. He notes the great similarity in the modes of treatments granted or inflicted with great groups of individuals who constitute the borders of the social group: the insane ones, condemned, certain groups from abroad, soldiers and children. He considers that finally, they have jointly to be looked with mistrust and excluded, by one enfermement in rule in structures closed , specialized, built and organized on similar models (asylums, prisons, barracks, schools) inspired of the model monacal, which he called “disciplinary institution”.
See also: disciplinary Institution
Refusing the abstraction and the general information, Michel Foucault made an effort, in the large majority of his work, to limit itself:
- with concrete problems (the madness, imprisonment, the private clinic…) ;
- within a very given geographical framework (France, Europe, even Occident);
- with precise historical executives (the traditional age, end of the 18th century, Greek Antiquity, etc).
However its observations make it possible to release from the concepts exceeding these limits in time and space. They preserve a great topicality thus, this is why much of intellectuals - in a great diversity of fields - can claim itself of Foucault today. It is for example by studying the change of the penal techniques at the end of the 18th century that it can analyze the emergence of a new form of Subjectivité consisted the capacity: what one observes in the margins builds in the center .
See also: To supervise and punish
In the same way, it is by studying the changes of the scientific disciplines at the end of the 18th century that it releases the constitution of the concept of “man”.
See also: words and the things
In this, though he asserted primarily historian, for the rigor and the scientificity of this discipline, he is unquestionably philosophical insofar as the investigations whom he carries out is the occasion to release from the concepts whose range exceeds the very precise circumstances that he studied, as it is the case for the approach of the madness.
The assumption of the Biopouvoir
This historical glance should not mistake. The ontology foucaldienne is an experiment, a prudence, a exercise on the thrusts of our present, the experimentation of our limits, the patient form of “our impatience to the freedom”, which explains the interest that it carried to the topic of the report/ratio of to be able between the institutional one and the individual - as well as with a certain idea of the subjectivation. This capacity founds the constitution of knowledge and is in its turn founded by them: it is the concept of “knowledge-capacity”.
- “It does not have there relations to be able without correlative constitution of a field of knowing, nor of knowing which does not suppose and does not constitute at the same time relations of being able… These reports/ratios of " capacity-savoir" are not thus to analyze starting from a subject of knowledge which would be free or not compared to the system of being able; but it should be considered on the contrary that the subject which knows, the objects, are as many effects of these fundamental implications of the capacity-knowledge…” (“ It is necessary to defend the company ”)
In this at the same time genealogical ontology all, critical and archaeological, the work devoted to very concrete problems are indissociable of those which relate to the “discursive trainings” ( Words and the Things , the Archeology of the knowledge and the Order of the speech ), just like the direction of the Racisme, beyond its particularized significances, is indissociable of the advent of the Social sciences, - what teaches us “the company should be defended” (1975-1976).
The proverb of the Order of the speech - “To call in question our will of Truth; to restore with the speech its character of event; to raise finally the sovereignty of meaning” - is worth thus like a warning against the shelves psychologisants of the double-side problematization of the report/ratio to oneself and the report/ratio at the present. Problematization which is not with the continuation of the gasolines or the origins, but “of the hearths of unification, the nodes of totalization, the processes of subjectivation, always relative”, according to the formula of Gilles Deleuze whose Foucault was, intellectually as well as personally, near.
In second half of the Années 1970, it was thus interested in what seemed to him a new form of exercise of the capacity (on the life), that it invited to biopouvoir (concept begun again and developed since by François Ewald, Giorgio Agamben, Judith Revel and Antonio Negri, in particular), indicating the moment when, around the 18th century, life - not only biological but heard like the very whole existence: that of the individuals and like that of the populations, sexuality like the affects, the food like health, the leisures like the economic productivity - between like such in the mechanisms of the capacity and becomes thus an essential stake for the political :
- “the man, during millenia, remained what it was for Aristote: an live animal, and of more capable of a political existence; the modern man is an animal in the policy of which its life of living being is in question. ” ( will to know )
The concern of oneself
At the beginning of the Years 1980, the fundamental conceptual quadrilateral of Foucault articulates the truth, the capacity, the subject and the life. It is perhaps in its homage to Georges Canguilhem (“the life: the experiment and science”, the last text to which it gave its imprimatur) that one perceives best his philosophy of the life (a concept certainly well ambiguity), and his report/ratio with the truth: it there problématise indeed our human capacity (concrete cases! would still say Nietzsche) to form Concept S, whatever the wanderings and deviations of the life, which are its vocation.
Its work, from the point of view of the unit, is presented in the form of an immense history of the limits traced inside the company, and which define the thresholds from which one is insane, sick, criminal, deviating. Internal cleavages of the company have a history, made slow formation, unceasingly called into question, of these limits. On both sides of these fields of exclusion and inclusion are constituted forms of different subjectivity , and the subject is thus a political and historical concretion, and not typically a free substance like would like it the tradition and the common direction: I am perceived myself only according to the criteria formed by the history. The capacity is not an authority being exerted on subjects of right, but before a a whole power immanente at the company, which is expressed in the production of Norme S and values.
The decisive problem political is not thus any more sovereignty, but these micropouvoirs which invests the body, and which, silently, invents the forms of the domination, but can just as easily give the opportunity of new possibilities of life (“ It does not have a relation there to be able which of the free subjects enters” was liked it to say). Thus the utility at Foucault, in his reciprocal report/ratio with docility, opens a very broad field of considerations, beyond the Utilitarisme, on the side of industry, work, the productivity, the creativity, autonomy, the government of oneself.
“ the problem at the same time political, ethical, social and philosophical which arises for us today is not to try to release the individual of the State and its institutions, but to release us, us, of the State and the type of individualization which is attached to it. We should promote new forms of subjectivity. ” (“the Subject and Capacity”)
Challenging in the will to know the repressive assumption to explain the variations of the behaviors and the conduits in the field of sexuality, skeptic as for the real range of the sexual Libération, but however attracted by the United States (stays in Berkeley) and discovering new relational forms over there, it, in its last talks, in relation with its Histoire of sexuality , discussed the Homosexualité (more rarely of his) and more generally the emotional relations, establishing for example and for its account, a distinction between love and passion which it will not have had time to clarify front. The problem of the Desire and the topic of the control are in the middle of the question of the Subjectivité developed then by what some are authorized to name “second” Foucault, that of the “ concern of oneself ” (1984), émancipé of the disciplinary mode.
The vocabulary of Foucault
- stated S
- disciplinary Hétérotopie
IdeasMichel Foucault successively was interested in the knowledge, then with the capacity, finally on the subject.
Emergence of the concept of population during 18th and 19th centuries. The population becomes an object of studies and political management.
Passage of the law to the standard . From a company (of Old mode) centered on the law one passed to a company manager centered on the standard. It is one of the consequences of the vast liberal revolution.
Concept of microphone-capacities producing speeches allowing to control which is or not in the standard.
Concept to biopouvoir : for the capacity which gives death and lets live is substituted to biopouvoir it which makes live and lets die (État-providence: social security, insurances, etc).
Figure of the Panoptical (architectural project of prison invented by Bentham and conceived so that the prisoners all can be seen since a central tower) as paradigm of it towards what our company tends, or what it is not already completely any more (see the concept deleuzien of “Holding company”, under discussion with work of Foucault).
the relations of being able cross the whole of the company. A certain speech affirms that the paradigm of the company is the civil war, that all the social interactions are derived versions from the civil war. One can thus reverse the proposal of Clausewitz and say that the political is the continuation of the war by other means.
Greek Concept of concern of oneself like base of ethics.
In addition to philosophy foucaldienne influenced (just like it was influenced by) many protest movements in France and in the Anglo-Saxon world since the years 1970 (of the Antipsychiatrie to the movements of the Prison niers while passing by the feminist movements until the Mouvements of patients - in particular in the fight against AIDS - and of the Contract workers), the fruitfulness of many its essential proposals is always tested in the academic world and beyond disciplinary specializations.
This vast field of application covers Gender Studies (Judith Butler) and analysis of the “minority subjectivation” (Didier Eribon) to the history of the Right and other “archeologies” of the État-providence (François Ewald, Paolo Napoli) and/or theories social (on their ethical slope: Bruno Karsenti, Mariapaola Fimiani) or of social (on its political slope: Paul Rabinow, Eric Fassin) while passing by the criticism of the political economy (Giorgio Agamben, Toni Negri, Judith Revel, Maurizio Lazzarato).
And this, in spite of some désamour of Sociology, whereas the method allows the sociologist who tries the step of Foucault, fundamentally constructivist, to conceive that the direction, just like the individual, are created in the “social one”.
The design that Foucault defended of the intellectuals vis-a-vis the capacities, advancing the figure of “the specific intellectual”, and his report/ratio with the Marxisme, continue to nourish controversies.
- “ the heroism of the political identity made its time. What one is, one requires it, progressively, with the problems with which one struggles: how there to take share and party without letting itself there trap. Experiment with… rather than engagement with… The identities are defined by trajectories… thirty years of experiments lead us " to trust no Revolution " , even if " can; to include/understand each révolte" … the renunciation of the empty form of a universal revolution must, under penalty of total immobilization, to be accompanied by a wrenching to the Conservatisme. And that with all the more urgently as this company is threatened in its existence even by this conservatism, i.e. by inertia inherent in its development. ” (“For a morals of discomfort”)
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