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Michel Foucault

 

Explanations > Critical Theory > Michel Foucault

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Michel Foucault (1926 – 1984) was a radical postmodernist, post-structuralist French philosopher who criticized many institutions. He was a homosexual hedonist, and sought to redefine sexuality, as well as challenging many other paradigms of his day.

Articles about Foucault here include:

Discussion

Perhaps the defining aspect of Foucault was that he was an explorer. Rather than build up a coherent body of fixed knowledge, he loved to challenge and leave things open rather than rebuild that which he had taken apart. Fixedness and certainty for Foucault were as red rags to a bull.

He was critical of social sciences that purported to state scientific facts about human nature that were often full of bias.

His method moved from archaeology (digging) to genealogy (understanding evolution).

Foucault went beyond linguistic structuralism of Saussure and Lacan in considering the subject as produced in more dynamic discursive practices rather than signification.

He viewed the subconscious as a product of the psychoanalytical discursive regime, much as any concept is a result of the relevant discursive practice. This, however, denies unconscious forces such as irrational anxiety and psychological investment.

See also

Post-structuralism

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