• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

In Social Life, the authors highlight, explain, and scrutinize socio-theoretical analyses of contemporary social relations and conditions - put forward by eight modern social theorists - and analyse how these have informed sociological inquiries into people’s lives in today’s social world. The book discusses the works of the following social theorists: • Anthony Giddens • Pierre Bourdieu • Bruno Latour • Donna Haraway • Zygmunt Bauman • Jean-Francois Lyotard • Michel Foucault • Jean Baudrillard In each chapter, the authors identify the key components of each theorist’s conception of society and apply the theories outlined to specific, modern phenomena. This connection with modern-day phenomena allows for a critical interrogation of issues in contemporary society, including: Inequality and Capital, Power, Fear and Terrorism, Immune System Discourse, Suffering, and Climate Change.

Michel Foucault: Power over Life
Michel Foucault: Power over Life
Part 1: Power

Around the turn of the nineteenth century, remarks Michel Foucault, it was becoming customary ‘for kings to lose their heads’ (PP 20). George III of the United Kingdom, however, had not been ‘decapitated’ by the guillotine, but by the insanity that had ‘seized hold of the king’s head’ (PP 21). In 1800, Pinel described to French readers how their neighbours’ mad monarch had been treated (PP 19–20). In what Foucault, drawing on Pinel, calls a ‘ceremony’ of ‘dethronement’ (PP 20–1), the king was stripped of ‘“all trappings of royalty”’ and told plainly that he was not ‘“sovereign”’ anymore (Pinel in PP 20). Locked in ‘“a room … covered with matting”’ (PP 20), he ...

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