Book Chapter

Foucault: Politics, History and Discourse


Foucault’s changing formulations of approaches to the history of discourses and forms of power are outlined from Madness and Civilisation to his late lectures on governmentality. Foucault is shown to be a radical who deconstructs agential authorial views of meaning to point up the role of discourses and regimes of power in framing the ways in which social life is experienced. His archaeological and genealogical approaches to history are examined. He provides a challenging reading of politics and the history of political ideas. He broadens the scope of the operations of power and the nature of the political. He challenges conventional readings of liberalism and the Enlightenment by observing how power operates in ways that are not tracked in standard liberal accounts, even if he does not provide a critical justification of either his own perspectivalism or that of his predecessor, Nietzsche.

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Browning, Gary

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


Year of publication: 2016
Date of RADAR deposit: 2020-11-27

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Related resources

This RADAR resource is the Accepted Manuscript of Foucault: Politics, history, and discourse
This RADAR resource is Part of A history of modern political thought: The question of interpretation [ISBN: 9780199682294] / by Gary Browning.


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