Based on Michel Foucault's 1978 and 1979 lectures at the Collège de France on governmental rationalities and his 1977 interview regarding his work on imprisonment, this volume is the long-awaited sequel to Power/Knowledge.
"The Philosophical Imaginary teaches us how to read philosophy afresh. Focusing on central, but often undiscussed, images, Le Doeuff's patient, perspicacious, and always brilliant readings show us how to uncover the political unconscious at work in great philosophy. Le Doeuff's contribution to philosophy and feminism is unequalled. This book is a classic.".
Like all previously published volumes of his lectures, the content of The Government of the Living defies brief summary. It shows us Foucault in 1980 mapping out a major new phase in his work in terms that complicate our existing understanding of his unfinished project. My review looks in turn at the two parts of the course: an unusually lengthy discussion of method and heuristics, followed by a tightly focused study of early Christian regimes of truth. I suggest that the (...) complex opening theoretical reflections in these lectures go well beyond mapping the course of the immediately following historical analysis. They need to be seen in coordination with other conceptual innovations introduced over the following years, putting a task that Foucault calls here a “history of the power of truth” on his agenda alongside, and in integral connection with the previously defined tasks of a history of governmentality and a history of the subject. A newly published discussion in Berkeley later in 1980 adds crucial context to these Paris lectures, spelling out the linkage of structures of subjectivation to governability and of penitential ascetics to pastoral power. Taken together, the later books and lectures can now be seen to establish a framework of what I suggest we can call “alethic” or “aletheological” analysis, analysing and mapping across the span of Western history the modes of engagement of life and truth, with a view to enabling a renewed analysis of the political present. (shrink)
The History of Madness (HM) is Michel Foucault's first major work, his longest single work, and the work that established his reputation in France. Foucault distinguishes four distinct components or forms of consciousness of madness: (1) the critical: the normative judgment which distinguishes and sanctions madness in its difference from reason or sanity; (2) the practical: an attitude of collective demarcation and exclusion of the deviant from a group; (3) the enunciative: the act of recognizing individuals as mad and identifying (...) them as such; (4) the analytic: reflection on the nature and forms of manifestation of madness. Foucault thinks that the experience of madness in the Classical Age is characterized by a dissociation between the first two elements, on the one hand, and the latter two on the other. (shrink)