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Michel Foucault. Short Biography Born in 1926 to upper middle class parents in Poitiers, France Homosexual; died of aids in 1984 Highly educated -studied/taught.

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Presentation on theme: "Michel Foucault. Short Biography Born in 1926 to upper middle class parents in Poitiers, France Homosexual; died of aids in 1984 Highly educated -studied/taught."— Presentation transcript:

1 Michel Foucault

2 Short Biography Born in 1926 to upper middle class parents in Poitiers, France Homosexual; died of aids in 1984 Highly educated -studied/taught psychology – Later was a radical activist – Was bullied constantly by peers giving him many of his ideas on power/knowledge

3 Major beliefs Identity-no such thing. – Humans have characteristics that relate to one another but are not defined in whole by these characteristics – Eg. Being a woman/gay is not one’s “identity”, it is simply a characteristic about them – Saw identity as a form of exercising power and preventing “labeled groups” from moving forward Us vs. them mentality – Rejected labels and using labels as an argument for equality

4 Power/Knowledge “relation not a thing” Foucault rejected idea that power was held by a particular group to “lord over another group” At every level of humanity; even micro levels – not property of a state or institution – No such thing as power without resistance – All forms of knowledge =ideology Ideology made up of one’s knowledge of the world -Power produces knowledge of inferiority Power is not possible without knowledge of some kind.

5 Discipline Major work: The Birth of the Prison Thesis: discipline is another way to exercise power Modern prisons: focused on discipline by observation rather then physical punishment of the body(related to behaviorism) Prisoners behaved because they knew they could be observed(again POWER)

6 Homosexuality Major Work: History of Sexuality Foucault himself was gay Hated being “labeled” as gay as if this was his sole identity Went further then advocating for equality; did not want homosexuality to be a defining characteristic Individuals made to feel their sexuality was wrong because of the knowledge/power connection Controversial: but agree or disagree? This is a very modern argument for the homosexual rights movement. Thus, it is very relevant.

7 Response to Feminism Rejected it because he rejected traditional ideologies in any form Simone de Beouvior “men had made women to be the other” – Foucault disagreed because of his power and identity arguments Virginia Wolf -slightly on the same page as Wolf in the sense that he advocated equality but, again, disagreed with the women vs. men argument. “freedom is a practice rather then a goal to be achieved”

8 Response to Marxism 'Marxism exists in nineteenth century thought like a fish in water: that is, it is unable to breathe anywhere else' and that it was a mere 'storm... in a children's paddling pool' (The Order of Things, p. 262). Problem was not the rich overruling the poor because power did not rest solely in the state; it rests in knowledge/power Rejected focusing solely on economic injustices Discussion: Do you agree more with Marx or Foucault on the roots of power?

9 Structuralism/post modernism Structuralism: studying systems of the world in manageable parts Postmodernism-rejected most philosophical cornerstones -focus on the history of how these ideas came into place rather then “finding the answers” -rejected enlightenment -rejected romanticism Foucault refused to be labeled but he’s associated with these two movements

10 Discussion(Test Questions) How did Foucault's philosophies relate to and or contradict Marxism and Feminism In what ways are Foucault's beliefs related to structuralism? In what ways are they related to modernism? Does he sway more one way or the other?

11 Works cited/ Suggested Links Michel Foucault. April 24 th broad database with biography, and analysis of major works Michel Foucault. Michel Foucault. Stanford. April l This site has a great summary of Foucault's views in depth Michel Foucault. Welcome to the World of Foucault. CSUN This site contains a genealogy of Foucault's work Welcome to the World of Foucault. Foucault. April Even more information on Foucault! Foucault.

12 Other Consulted works Michel Foucault Resources. htm. April 24th htm. April 24th 2009 Foucault.http://www.protevi.com/john/Fouca ult/. Protevi. April 24 th 2009.


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