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Michel Foucault (1926–1984) is among the most widely cited 20th-century theorists in educational research. His most important contribution to this field has been in providing the resources for a sustained critique of the educational endeavor. Due to the scope of his work—which extends well beyond educational matters—and the radical consequences of his critical perspective, Foucault’s ideas are typically difficult to apply. To fully appreciate the insights Foucault has to offer, it is important to situate this work within his wider critique of the present.

Tone and Scope

Discipline and Punish, one of Foucault’s most famous books, contains a statement that indicates the tone and scope of his critical venture: With the rise of modernity, according to Foucault, the soul became the prison of the body. This modern ...

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