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"Society Must Be Defended": Lectures at the Collège de France, 1975-1976 Paperback – December 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0312422660 ISBN-10: 0312422660 Edition: Reprint

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"Society Must Be Defended": Lectures at the Collège de France, 1975-1976 + Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège de France 1977--1978 + The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978--1979 (Lectures at the College de France)
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Product Details

  • Series: Lectures at the Collège de France (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprint edition (December 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312422660
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312422660
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[Foucault] must be reckoned with by humanists, social scientists, and political activists." --The New York Times Book Review

"Foucault is quite central to our sense of where we are. . . [He] is carrying out, in the noblest way, the promiscuous aim of true culture." --The Nation

"[Foucault] has an alert and sensitive mind which can ignore the familiar surfaces of established intellectual codes and ask new questions. . ..[He] gives dramatic quality to the movement of culture." --The New York Review of Books

About the Author

Michel Foucault, acknowledged as the preeminent philosopher of France in the ’70s and ’80s, had enormous impact throughout the world in many disciplines.

David Macey has translated twenty books from the French and is the author of The Lives of Michel Foucault and Frantz Fanon (Picador). He lives in Leeds, England.

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

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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Lam on February 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
Foucault never wrote a monograph on power per se, the arguably most influential notion put forth by him. Yet this posthumous publication of his College de France lectures 1975-76 approximates one. Here one can find the most elaborate discussion of the distinction between power-as-law and power as a bunch of local techniques and force relations, and more important, the idiosyncratic conceptualization of political power based on the model of war. It is also in these lectures that Foucault gives a sustantial analysis of racism. Although these topics are already touched upon in The History of Sexuality vol. 1, unfortunately they have not been given extended space to develop thanks to Foucault's drastic modification of his writing plan. Two decades after his premature death, we are finally allowed to have a better understanding of Foucault's profound reflection upon these issues. The continual unveiling of Foucault's other lectures in print in years to come makes life worthy to live even in this depressive political atmosphere.
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61 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on February 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Capably and collaboratively edited by Mauro Bertani and Allesandro Fontana, "Society Must Be Defended" is a collection of French philosopher and historian Michel Foucault's eleven lectures given at the College de France from 1975 to 1976, and which are ably translated into English for an American readership by David Macey. Offering an unusually insightful perspective and wisdom on a wide variety of educational topics ranging from the origin of feudalism, to the functions and domains of racism, to Hobbes' ideas on war and sovereignty, and a great deal more, "Society Must Be Defended" is a very thought-provoking and instructive collection from a uniquely informed and informative point of view. As Michel Foucault writes about this compilation of his views: "The role of history will, then, be to show that laws deceive, that kings wear masks, that power creates illusions, and that historians tell lies. This will not, then, be a history of continuity, but a history of deciphering, the detection of the secret, the outwitting of the ruse, and the reappropriation of a knowledge that has been distorted or buried. It will decipher a truth that has been sealed".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DW on December 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here, Foucault looks at war's historical relation to the identity of the people of nation states. To be sure, you'll get a unique history of Western Europe. The perspective shifts discussed are, of course, examined through discursive practices and the themes of power, history, and the State. I thought this particular volume got bogged down in some details and also a little confusing, but this (and the rest of the lecture series), though difficult, is of high value for people especially interested in this subject or for fans of Foucault.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Real Talk on April 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
This collection of lectures is a great introduction to the kind of thinking, or the thinking behind the thinking, that characterizes Foucault's work. His take on power, politics, race and class, as well as the mechanisms behind nearly all our cultural institutions comes from a critical perspective that always attempts to challenge mainstream assumptions and push theoretical frameworks to their furthest conclusions. As a Hispanic from what you might call a "lower class" socioeconomic background, I was very interested to read his history of racism and the way it has been used to justify war and power politics. Though his ideas are inevitably influenced by the cultural milieu of the 60s and 70s, with the advent of zero tolerance and the school-as-prison educational policies of 21st century America, they are even more true today than when he first wrote them.

Beginning with his overturning of Clausewitz's famous aphorism, and culminating with a definition of racism along the lines of biopower, "Society Must Be Defended" is an awesome, and I must also say relatively accessible read from one of the most influential thinkers of our time.
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