Madness and Civilization and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
$9.38
Qty:1
  • List Price: $15.95
  • Save: $6.57 (41%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 10 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason Paperback – November 28, 1988


See all 18 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$9.38
$7.00 $3.39


Frequently Bought Together

Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason + Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison + The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1: An Introduction
Price for all three: $29.61

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1 edition (November 28, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067972110X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679721109
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Superb scholarship rendered with artistry" --The Nation

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

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.

Michel Foucault (1926-1984) was a French historian and philosopher associated with the structuralist and poststructuralist movements. He is often considered the most influential social theorist of the second half of the twentieth century, not only in philosophy but in a wide range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Among his most notable books are Madness and Civilization, Discipline and Punish, and The History of Sexuality.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

127 of 137 people found the following review helpful By TheIrrationalMan on August 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
"Madness and Civilisation", which was first published in 1959, was the first major work of the cultural critic and maverick structuralist Foucault, and it eloquently and stylishly establishes the main themes, (namely, power, knowledge, confinement) of his later works. Foucault, in his brilliant and forceful exposition, traces the codes or "epistemes" responsible for the shaping of madness from the Reneissance and up to the late nineteenth century. He charts the history of insanity from it being considered as a virtually harmless "wisdom of folly", to it being considered as a disease in the age of confinement and the psychiatric clinic. Drawing on several imprtant representations of madness in culture, which include the Ship of Fools of Jerome Bosch, and "The Disparates" of Goya, as well as the fates of Van Gogh, Nietzsche, Nerval and Artuad in the modern era, he "deconstructs" the concept of "reason" itself, by placing it in an inverse relation to supposedly "mad" experience. He asks the fundamental, and highly philosophical, question of "what does it mean to be mad, and what is the qualitative distinction between 'sanity' and 'insanity'?" This leads him to make the extraordinary claim that the "pathologisation" of madness, its treatment as a disease, is something approximating a disease of the modern era itself. Madness represents a moment of rupture, whose suppression is an attempt to avoid something mysterious, unseizable and dangerous within our own selves. In his examination of the history of confinement, and the supposed devastation that it has caused, Foucault is not trying (as his critics have alleged) to promote insanity in a bid to transgress social modes and conventional wisdom.Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
62 of 66 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
Certain reviewers of this book seem to confuse the categories of operation Focualt addresses in this book and others. He is not making the simplistic argument that "madness" is socially constructed but rather that certain concepts, including the medicalized model of insanity, only become possible under cetain conditions and operate within a specific, historical and culutral formation of knowledge. Understanding what these conditions are, and how these change is important both to become critical concerning the limitations of current organizations of these concepts, but also so that one does not anachronistically project present concepts into the past, ie, seeing 18th century discourses as premature versions of today's ideas. The problem of madness as an object of knowledge is his task within the history of ideas, not discerning its reality.
Those that fail to recognize this, both the cultural relativists and the reactionaries, reveal their own lack of critical thought and say little about the text's strengths or weaknesses.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Eduardo Navas(nomad@ix.netcom.com) on March 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
Madness and civilization is a powerful survey on the historical development of what we call madness today. What the term means today is radically different from what it meant during the age of reason. This book takes a more or less chronological approach to the development of madness. What is most important is it shows how the term mad was manipulated throughout history in order for society to redefine itself against "the other." This book makes a good case as to why we still live under the shadow of Freud, as Foucault credits him with defining the relationship of the clinically insane, and the physician. A must read to understand the current definition seperating the sane and the insane.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Beverly Frost on April 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read this book for a graduate class in psychotherapy. Given the choice of Foucault's history versus books on various theoretical perspectives on psychology and psychiatry, chosing this book was a no-brainer. Reading it, however, did take some brains, but it was worth the effort.
The first chapter is especially delightful. Its focuses on the time period from the end of the Middle Ages and into the Rennaisannce. Foucault gives many specific and poignant examples of how the changing view of insanity was intertwined with the changing concepts of God and humanity. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the "Ship of Fools" and the extensive and elevative literary treatment of Folly during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.
I would recommend this book to anyone in the mental health professions or to people of reason everywhere.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Steiner VINE VOICE on December 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
Foucault employs an exacting and yet artistic methodology of historical-sociological interpretation of the history of madness in the age of reason. In this impressive work, he discovers that the origin of insanity, of psychological confinement, corresponds with the diminution of leprosy in Europe, and that the sectors of institutional power sought to find another means of normalization and social control through the imprisonment, and public degradation of the mentally ill, the poor, and the homeless. This power dynamic later manifests itself in the form of absolute confinement and normalcy, in which the insane were subjected to physiological experimentation, which marks an apparent disregard for Descartes' mind-body distinction. Foucault skillfully outlines the means of psychological repair through the exploration of the balancing of the four humors, to the revealing of insanity's non-being and non-reason through its release to the ultimate freedom of nature. Foucault then examines the transition of psychology from the real of biological-intellectual non-reason, to the imposition of moral and religious absolutism and the birth of the asylum, and finally to the (perhaps salvation) of Freud and psychoanalysis, in which the patient-doctor relationship is recreated as a mode of observation, not judgment or condescension, "he made it the Mirror in which madness, in an almost motionless movement, clings to and casts off itself" (pg. 278). Foucault's Madness and Civilization represents an important breakthrough in the field of post-modern philosophy; it is truly an excellent work of scholarship and profound insight.Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?