Michel Foucault's work is one of the most influential sources of ideas in the humanities and social sciences today. Clare O'Farrell offers a comprehensive and accessible introduction to Foucault's enormous, diverse and challenging output. Her book provides a range of practical tools and a reference work for readers who wish to understand and apply his ideas at both introductory and advanced levels. This volume includes: a discussion of Foucault's situation in the contemporary context exploring his role as an iconic thinker, with clear explanations as to why his work is so difficult to come to grips with, and also importantly, why it is of interest to so many people; the location of Foucault's work within its own historical, social and political setting; brief summaries in chronological order of all of Foucault's major works, including the more recently published volumes of lectures; the organization of Foucault's work around five distinct but interrelated series of assumptions which underpin his world view: namely order, history, truth, power and ethics. Ideas for which he is well-known, such as archaeology, genealogy, discourse, discipline, governmentality, the subject and others are defined and discussed within the framework of these five assumptions. - a chronology of Foucault's life, work and times; a very extensive list of key concepts in Foucault's work with detailed references pointing to where the relevant material can be found in his writings; a wide-ranging list of resources and a bibliography of Foucault's work for easy consultation.
One a Cultural Icon
Two Cultural Contexts
Foucault's Life and Death
Foucault's work is itself, of course, the product of his own life in a particular culture, intellectual context and time. Foucault's personal biography and the general social and intellectual backdrop to his work have been dealt with extensively in a number of books, notably in the three biographies of Foucault, in the excellent chronology in volume I of Dits et écrits (1994) and also in my own earlier work Foucault: Historian or Philosopher? (O'Farrell, 1989). But any introduction to Foucault's work needs to provide at least some account of his historical context in order to assist in providing some understanding of why he addressed particular sorts of problems in particular ways.
The question of Foucault's personal biography and ...