Foucault Power

Better Essays
The Subject and Power Author(s): Michel Foucault Source: Critical Inquiry, Vol. 8, No. 4 (Summer, 1982), pp. 777-795 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 26/09/2011 07:49
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But this analytical work cannot proceed without an ongoing conceptualization. And this conceptualization implies critical thought-a constant checking. The first thing to check is what I shall call the "conceptual needs." I mean that the conceptualization should not be founded on a theory of the object-the conceptualized object is not the single criterion of a good conceptualization. We have to know the historical conditions which motivate our conceptualization. We need a historical awareness of our present circumstance. The second thing to check is the type of reality with which we are dealing. A writer in a well-known French newspaper once expressed his surprise: "Why is the notion of power raised by so many people today? Is

Michel Foucault has been teaching at the College de France since 1970. His works include Madness and Civilization (1961), The Birth of the Clinic (1966), Discipline and Punish (1975), and History of Sexuality (1976), the first volume of a projected five-volume study.

Critical Inquiry



it such an important subject? Is it so independent that it can be discussed without taking into account other problems?" This writer's surprise amazes me. I feel skeptical about the assumption that this question has been raised for the first time in the twentieth century. Anyway, for us it is not only a theoretical question but a part of our experience. I'd like to mention only two "pathological
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