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Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977 Paperback – November 12, 1980
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Now, in this superb set of essays and interviews, Foucault has provided a much-needed guide to Foucault. These pieces, ranging over the entire spectrum of his concerns, enabled Foucault, in his most intimate and accessible voice, to interpret the conclusions of his research in each area and to demonstrate the contribution of each to the magnificent -- and terrifying -- portrait of society that he was patiently compiling.
For, as Foucault shows, what he was always describing was the nature of power in society; not the conventional treatment of power that concentrates on powerful individuals and repressive institutions, but the much more pervasive and insidious mechanisms by which power "reaches into the very grain of individuals, touches their bodies and inserts itself into their actions and attitudes, their discourses, learning processes and everyday lives"
Foucault's investigations of prisons, schools, barracks, hospitals, factories, cities, lodgings, families, and other organized forms of social life are each a segment of one of the most astonishing intellectual enterprises of all time -- and, as this book proves, one which possesses profound implications for understanding the social control of our bodies and our minds.
Top Customer Reviews
The problem with this book is in the presentation. I don't agree with other reviewers who state that this is a good summary or compendium of Foucault's works, because of its very fragmentary nature. Each of the chapters here can be considered distillations of Foucault's thoughts on key subjects. Most of the chapters are structured as interviews or dialogues but with no surrounding context. We have no explanation of who the interviewers are or from which angle they have approached Foucault's works. The chapters begin abruptly, often with the feel of an interview in progress, with no introductory explanations of the context for that portion of Foucault's efforts. Similarly, the chapters end abruptly with no wrapping up or conclusive explanations of the matter at hand. One chapter consists of two "lectures" given at different times, with zero explanation of the purpose of Foucault's visit to wherever the lecture was delivered, who the audience was, or the environment in which Foucault's presence was utilized.Read more ›
For Foucault, (as it exists in modern societies) power is not an entity to be acquired, it is an instrument that is continually exercised. Power operates as knowledge through discourse, confession, observation, surveillance, etc. "Power for Foucault is not an omnipotent causal principle, or shaping spirit but a perspective concept" (245). Power is used and applied, not obtained.
This volume serves as a useful compendium to the ideas outlined in Foucault's major works, (i.e. Madness and Civilization, Discipline and Punish, the Order of Things, Archeology of Knowledge, Birth of the Clinic, etc.). It is mostly a gathering of lectures and interviews with various scholars in the field of the history of systems of thought. The first essay (On Popular Justice) is a discussion with a Maoist organization about the applicability of people's courts and the use and relativity of the concept of justice. One gets the impression that Foucault is not entirely at home with this material. The second essay (Prison Talk) is an explication of the major ideas posited in Discipline and Punish, particularly the development of Bentham's Panopticon and the transmission of power as surveillance. A fascinating read, and one of Foucault's great breakthroughs in the social sciences. The third essay (Body/Power) provides further information about Discipline and Punish.Read more ›
Likewise, schools are forced to teach to what curriculum the state structures for their students. And state testing ensures that teachers only teach what material the state intends. For if the scores students receive on such tests start to slip, the school itself can be closed. Even textbooks are presented from the perspectives or people in power (see Howard Zinn's People's History). Students must speak standard or "proper" English in such establishments (they must conform to the dominant mode of discourse) even though it has since been established that language is what comes from, and is re-created by, culture. As such, any time we attempt to suppress a person's speech, or limit the use of their language, we are, in a sense, covertly killing off a part of their culture (we are covertly using our power for culturally oppressive purposes).
Psychologists, too, we see, invent sicknesses for those who do not assimilate to the norms of society (a "deviant" who does not adhere to the dominant social ideals). Children, especially, are now more medicated than ever. Money, of course, is then made from the manufacturing of such medicines, which are then given to society's citizens as a means to "correct" their "sicknesses", which, often times, are nothing more than socially constructed psychological sicknesses (not actual physical ailments).
Many people, who often commit non-violent "crimes" (primarily drug possession), are then packed into the prisons, redefining the concept of what it is to be a "criminal".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My fiancé loves this book. Foucalt is one of his favorite authors of philosophy.Published 3 months ago by Jenna Peters
Finally, I found one book that sums up Foucault's philosophy, particularly his concept of "power/knowledge", in his own words. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Craig
Didn't understand half the stuff he's talking about - and multiple times Foucault concedes the same, saying he never really expects people to understand what he's saying, that his... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Consumer
Got here very quickly, and very good quality. Very pleased.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
The book came in great condition! I would absolutely come back if I ever need more booksPublished 16 months ago by David Perez
Michel Foucault (1926-1984) was a French philosopher, historian of ideas, and social theorist and activist; he wrote many books, such as Madness and Civilization: A History of... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Steven H Propp
This was not the same book as the cover suggests even has a different ISBN number.Published 18 months ago by VCF99