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Genealogy, a concept given sociological currency by Frederick Nietzsche and revived by Michel Foucault, refers to the most important methodological innovation of the so-called poststructuralist tradition of French social theory of the late twentieth century. In Genealogy of Morals ([1887] 1927), Nietzsche executed his famous sociological investigation of the origins of European “moral prejudices.” At some risk, one might even call Nietzsche's essays on good and evil the first deconstruction of the classical vocabulary of modern culture. In effect, as he says at the opening of Genealogy of Morals, the concept of the Good owes, not to an essential goodness, but “to the good themselves, that is, the aristocratic, the powerful, the high-stationed, the high-minded, who have felt that they themselves were good.” By thus ...

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