• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

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.

Six Discontinuity and Discourse
Six discontinuity and discourse
Discontinuity and the Event

The principle of discontinuity is one of the essential characteristics of Foucault's approach to history and while his most detailed discussions of this idea occur for the most part in his historiographical works of the late 1960s and early 1970s, it is a principle that he never abandons. Why is Foucault so insistent in his rejection of continuity as a tool for historical explanation? The problem is, he says, that it in fact implies a whole host of ‘metaphysical’ and unprovable assumptions about history and experience, assumptions which ultimately entrench existing systems of power and injustice. Thus he embarks on a quest to find every possible discontinuity, break and difference. Also crucial to Foucault's practice ...

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