Michel Foucault: Power, subjectivity and education

Michel Foucault

Michel Foucault [PITR] by Inge Knoff | flickr ccbync2 licence

Michel Foucault: Power, subjectivity and education. Michel Foucault is one of the most referenced social theorists of the late twentieth century. In this piece Mark K Smith outlines his life, and contribution, and focuses on the significance of his explorations of power and subjectivity. He examines how they inform education systems and processes of reproduction.

Contents: introductionlife and workspower [power-knowledge, disciplinary power, biopower, governmentability] • subjectivitypower, subjectivity and educationconclusionfurther reading and referencesacknowledgementshow to cite this piece

I want my books to be a sort of toolbox that people can rummage through to find a tool they can use however they want in their own domain … I want the little book that I plan to write on disciplinary systems to be of use for teachers, wardens, magistrates, conscientious objectors. I don’t write for an audience, I write for users, not readers. (‘Prisons et asiles dans le mécanisme du pouvoir’, DE II, 523–4, in Gutting 2019 notes on Chapter 1)

Michel Foucault (Paul-Michel Foucault) (1926-1984) was not, in his own words, a theorist but rather an ‘experimenter’  – ‘I write in order to change myself and in order not to think the same thing as before’ (2000: 240). Nor was he a particularly systematic thinker (Taylor 2011a). He was, as Didier Eribon put it, ‘a complex, many-sided character’.

“He wore masks, and he was always changing them,” said Georges Dumezil, who knew him better than almost anyone else… Under one mask there is always another, and I do not think there is any truth of personality that it would be possible to discover beneath these successive disguises. No doubt there are several Foucaults—a thousand Foucaults, as Dumezil said. (Eribon 1991 xi)

He had, and continues to have, a profound effect on social theorizing – especially within cultural studies, anthropology, sociology, literary theory and critical theory. Foucault’s work challenged many established lines of thinking. This was born, in part, out of his historical orientation and methodology (based in archaeology and, later, genealogy as well). From this perspective he was able to question and critique ideas that had been presented within philosophy, for example, as absolute and universal (Taylor 2011a).

It has also been argued that Michel Foucault may have ‘wanted to write books in order to escape from any fixed identity, to continually become someone else, thereby never really being anyone’ (Gutting 2019: 27). True or not, what we can see is a readiness to change the position from which he looked at the world, and this also enabled him to ask fresh questions and introduce new insights.

Life and works

‘Writing a biography of Michel Foucault’, wrote Didier Eribon, ‘may seem paradoxical. Did he not, on numerous occasions, challenge the notion of the author, thereby dismissing the very possibility of a biographical study?’ (1991: ix). While Foucault did question the notion of the author, he seems to have acted as one. ‘He produced an oeuvre, which has been subject to commentary’ (op.cit.). He also provided information in several interviews about his life – and like many other public figures he steered away from areas that he wanted to keep to himself.

We can quickly assemble some basic facts.

Paul-Michel Foucault was born in Poitiers, France. He was the second of three children. His father was a local surgeon, his mother a daughter of a surgeon. We know a little of his childhood. Paul-Michel did go to a local Lycée, then to Collège Saint-Stanislaus – a Catholic college also in Poitiers, and then back to the Lycée. While his father wanted him to follow in his footsteps, Paul-Michel Foucault’s ‘passion was for history and literature; he could not stand the idea of studying medicine’ (Eribon 1991). Neither did he like the name Paul-Michel.  Paul was his father’s name – and he seems to have hated him as an adolescent (Eribon 1991: 5). He also found Poitiers ‘stifling’. Foucault had been a: ‘solitary, unsociable boy, whose relationships with others were very complex and often conflict-ridden. He was never at ease with himself and was somewhat unhealthy’ (op. cit.: 25).

In 1945 Michel Foucault began what could have been a classic trajectory: he joined the Lycée Henri-IVV Paris to study for khâgne (preparation for entry into the Ècole Normale Supérieure, Paris – [ENS]. One of his teachers was the philosopher Jean Hyppolite (a contemporary and friend of Jean-Paul Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty), ‘the man to whom I owe everything’ Foucault was later to write (op. cit.: 18).

A year later he entered the Ècole where his tutor was Louis Althusser – one of the most influential Marxist philosophers of the Twentieth Century. (Althusser was also later to become a friend) (Macey 1993: 23-26). In 1950 he flunked his oral examination for his degree in philosophy (Agrégation de Philosophie) – but gained it at his second attempt (in 1951) along with a Diploma in Psychopathology from the Paris Institute of Psychology. Whilst at the Ècole he seemed to argue with everybody:

He got angry. He exuded in every direction a formidable level of aggression and, in addi­tion, a pronounced tendency toward megalomania. Foucault liked to make a production of the genius he knew he had. He was soon almost universally detested… And when he attempted suicide in 1948, for most of his schoolmates the gesture simply confirmed their belief that his psychological balance was, to say the least, fragile. In the opinion of someone who knew him very well during this period, “all his life he verged on madness.” (Eribon 1991: 26)

Unsurprisingly, Michel Foucault ended up at the Hôpital Sainte-Anne – and under psychiatric treatment for significant periods of the time spent at the Ècole.

Mental illness and personality

A conventional way of explaining his involvement in psychiatric treatment has been through reference to his homosexuality and difficulties in accepting and experiencing it. There is probably truth in this – especially given the attitudes to homosexuality at the time. Many were driven into clandestine activities and experienced feelings of shame. It also seems likely that the focus in his research and work around sexuality, psychiatry and psychoanalysis was linked to his experiences, particularly at this time. In 1981 Foucault commented: ‘In a sense, I have always wanted my books to be fragments from an autobiography. My books have always been my personal problems with madness, with prisons, with sexuality’ (quoted by Macey 1995: xii). However, as Didier Eribon (1991: 28) has written:

… it is possible to see how an intellectual project is born in an experience that should per­haps be described as primary; how an intellectual adventure is created in the struggles of individual and social life—not to remain stuck in them, but to think them through, to go beyond them, to problematize them by ironically turning the question back on those who level it. Do you really know who you are? Are you so sure of your reason? of your scientific concepts? of your categories of perception? Foucault read the psychiatrists. He worked with psychologists. He could have become one of them.

It may be that these experiences also pointed Michel Foucault to a less ‘classical’ career route. He became a part-time instructor at the Ècole – but also taught psychology at the Université de Lille. In 1955 he became Cultural Delegate to the University of Uppsala, then in 1958 became Director of Centre for French Civilization, Warsaw. He also spent a year at the French Cultural Institute in Hamburg (Eribon 1991; Macey 1993). He continued to research in the fields of psychoanalysis and psychology and his first book – Maladie mentale et personalité (Mental Illness and Personality) appeared in 1954. Part of a series of introductory texts aimed at students, Foucault used it to argue a particular position: ‘I would like to show that the root of mental pathology must not be sought in speculations about some meta-pathology,  but simply in man’s reflection upon man.’ (Foucault 1954: 2).

Foucault had also become interested in French avant-garde literature – in particular, the work of Georges Bataille and Maurice Blanchot.  He was enthralled by writers who dealt with ‘transgression’ – ‘the limit experience (expérience limite) of excess and expenditure’ (Eribon 1991: 28). This fascination led him to Raymond Rousell (1877-1933) – a writer who suffered from serious neurotic illness, was gay and who had the money to travel the world – but rarely leave his room or cabin (Macey 1994: 125). Gilles Deleuze (1988) has suggested Foucault’s interest and subsequent work on Roussel probably relates to his own sense of identity or non-identity. The resulting book (published in 1963) is Foucault’s only literary study – and has received relatively little attention. As Macey (1994: 125) put it, its ‘ neglect was a strange source of satisfaction to Foucault’. He told his American translator Charles Ruas: ‘No one has paid much attention to this book, and I’m glad; it’s my secret affair.’

Madness, civilization and the birth of the clinic

At the age of 34, Michel Foucault took up his first full academic appointment in France. He became a member of the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences, University of Clermont-Ferrand in 1960 – and a professor there in 1962. A year earlier he had presented the manuscript of Folie et déraison. Histoire de la folie à l’âge Classique (Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason) alongside his translation of Kant’s  (1798) Anthropologie in pragmatischer Hinsicht (Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View) to the Sorbonne (University of Paris) for acceptance as a doctorate (Macey 1993: 88-90, 103-113). The report on his defence of the thesis noted some reservations, but finished as follows:

The fact remains, however, that we are in the presence of a truly original thesis, of a man whose personality, intellectual dynamism and talent for exposition qualify him to teach in higher education. This is why, reservations notwithstanding, the distinction was awarded unanimously. (quoted by Macey 1993: 113)

The first edition of Histoire de la folie opens with a quotation from Pascal: ‘Men are so inevitably mad that not to be mad would be to give a mad twist to madness’ (quoted by Macey 1993: 94). It was the history of that further ‘mad twist’ interested Foucault. In an interview with Le Monde he summarized his argument as follows:

Madness cannot be found in a wild state. Madness exists only within a society, it does not exist outside the forms of sensibility which isolate it and the forms of repulsion which exclude it or capture it. We can therefore say that in the Middle Ages, and then in the Renaissance, madness is present within the social horizon as an aesthetic or day-to-day fact; then, in the eighteenth century – as a result of confinement – madness goes through a period of silence, of exclusion. It has lost the function of manifestation, of revelation, that it had in the epoch of Shakespeare and Cervantes (Lady Macbeth, for instance, begins to speak the truth when she goes mad), and becomes mendacious, derisory. Finally, the twentieth century collars madness, and reduces it to a natural phenomenon bound up with the truth of the world. This positivist appropriation gave rise to, on the one hand, the scornful philanthropy which all psychiatry displays towards the madman and, on the other, the great lyrical protest we find in poetry from Nerval to Artaud, an effort to restore to the experience of madness a depth and a power of revelation which had been destroyed by confinement. (op. cit.114-15).

The book, as can be seen, studies the emergence of the ‘modern’ concept of ‘mental illness’. It ‘is formed from both Foucault’s extensive archival work and his intense anger at what he saw as the moral hypocrisy of modern psychiatry’ (Gutting and Okslala 2018). Michel Foucault questioned the whether the medicalization of madness was such a great advance on previous notions. While the language used may have seemed neutral and based in science, it was primed by bourgeois morality and a concern to protect powerful interests. Here Foucault picked up on a theme articulated by Horkheimer and Adorno (1947 | 1992) – ‘the reason that was supposed to liberate us has itself become the primary instrument of our domination’ (Gutting 2019: 147).

Histoire de la folie was followed in 1963 by Naissance de la Clinique: Une archéology du regard medical [The Birth of the Clinic: An archaeology of medical perception]. This relatively short book was a critique of modern clinical medicine (and more particularly ideas and practices that appeared towards the end of the eighteenth, and around the beginning of the nineteenth, century. It begins: ‘This book is about space, about language, and about death; it is about the act of seeing, the gaze.’ Foucault relates:

… different registers—economic, social, political, ideological, cultural—to one an­other to illumine the transformations that affected ways of speaking and seeing as a whole and, more profoundly, affected what it is possible to say and to see at any given period, the seeable and the sayable. (Macey 1993: 153)

It was a theme that flowed through much of his subsequent work. However, Foucault was able to add a crucial ‘anchoring device’ – the notion of ‘power’ and the dyad ‘knowledge-power’ (Eribon 1992: 127).

Archaeology and The Order of Things

The book that was to bring Michel Foucault fame – Les Mots et les choses. Une achéologie des sciences humaines (The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences) appeared in 1966. It became a publishing phenomenon (at least in terms of philosophy books). According to newspapers at the time, ‘people were reading Foucault’s book on the beaches, or at least they took it with them, left it lying around on the table at cafés to show they were not ignorant of such a major event (Eribon 1992: 156).

In the book Foucault explores what knowledge means, or rather how this meaning changed in Western thought from the Renaissance on. It is Michel Foucault’s ‘most direct engagement with traditional philosophical questions’ (Gutting and Okslala 2018).

Foucault approached this historical task as an ‘archaeology’ of thought (later he was to use genealogy as an organizing idea). He begins with the fact that:

… at any given period in a given domain, there are substantial constraints on how people are able to think. Of course, there are always the formal constraints of grammar and logic, which exclude certain formulations as gibberish (meaningless) or illogical (self-contradictory). … But Foucault’s idea is that every mode of thinking involves implicit rules (maybe not even formulable by those following them) that materially restrict the range of thought. If we can uncover these rules, we will be able to see how an apparently arbitrary constraint actually makes total sense in the framework defined by those rules. Moreover, he suggests that our own thinking too is governed by such rules, so that from the vantage point of the future it will look quite as arbitrary as the past does to us. (Gutting 2019: 78)

He argued that it is the underlying structures that form the context for thinking that is important, rather than what is consciously going on in the minds of scientists, philosophers, et al. (op. cit.). He did this by using the notion of representations. ‘From Descartes on, modern philosophy has been preoccupied with the question of whether our representations (experiences, ideas) accurately represent the world outside our minds’ (Gutting 2019: 127). In es­sence, Michel Foucault argued that ‘every period is characterized by an underground configuration that delineates its culture, a grid of knowledge making possible every scientific discourse, every produc­tion of statements’ (Eribon 1991: 158).

Michel Foucault: from the preface to The Order of Things

cover - the order of thingsThis book first arose out of a passage in Borges, out of the laughter that shattered, as I read the passage, all the familiar landmarks of my thought – our thought, the thought that bears the stamp of our age and our geography – breaking up all the ordered surfaces and all the planes with which we are accustomed to tame the wild profusion of existing things, and continuing long afterwards to disturb and threaten with collapse our age-old distinction between the Same and the Other. This passage quotes a ‘certain Chinese encyclopedia’ in which it is written that ‘animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies’. In the wonderment of this taxonomy, the thing we apprehend in one great leap, the thing that, by means of the fable, is demonstrated as the exotic charm of another system of thought, is the limitation of our own, the stark impossibility of thinking that. (Foucault 1966 | 1970: xv)

In Les Mots et les choses, Foucault contends that during the Renaissance, knowledge was understood as a matter of ‘resemblance between things’ and in what he describes as the following Classical Age ‘to think just was to employ ideas to represent the object of thought’ (Gutting and Okslala 2018). In other words, mental representation was central.

Matters ‘turned’ with Kant’s critique of ‘classical representation’ as the font of knowledge. Indeed, he questioned whether representation was possible. He asked:

… not just whether our representations are true to the world but how it is possible that we can represent anything at all (accurately or not).  (Gutting 2019: 128)

Thoughts and ideas (representations), Kant argued, were the product of the mind.

According to Foucault there was another step change. The problem of man. For Foucault:

… man is the central problem, the difficulty being to understand how a single unified being can be simultaneously the transcendental source of the possibility of knowledge and just another object of knowledge. (op. cit.)

The question is how do we move beyond this? Michel Foucault does not provide an answer. It wouldn’t really be possible in an archaeological exploration. He leaves us with questions.

Is everything significant, and, if not, what is, and for whom, and in accordance with what rules? What relation is there between language and being, and is it really to being that language is always addressed – at least, language that speaks truly? What, then, is this language that says nothing, is never silent, and is called ‘literature’? (Foucault 1970: 306)

In the years following publication of The Order of Things, Michel Foucault became a Tenured Professor of Philosophy at, University of Paris VIII, Vincennes (1968-9) and was then elected to the Collège de France in 1969 where he was Professor of the History of Systems of Thought until his death. He had also been working on a new book L’Archéologie du savoir | The Archaeology of Knowledge and the Discourse on Language (also published in 1969). Basically, this was an exploration of the ‘archaeological method’ he had employed in The Order of Things, History of Madness and The Birth of the Clinic.

Discipline and Punish

From the 1970s on, Foucault was active politically. He was a founder of the Groupe d’information sur les prisons (GIP) in 1971 and often protested on behalf of marginalized groups. An introduction signed by Michel Foucault (and Pierre Vidal-Naquet and Jean-Marie Domenach) sets the scene:

There is no one among us who is certain of escaping prison. Today less than ever. Police control is tightening on our everyday life, in city streets, and on the roads; expressing an opinion is once again an offense for foreigners and young people, and antidrug measures arc increasingly arbitrary. We live in a state of “custody.” They tell us that the system of justice is overwhelmed. That is easy to see. But what if the police are the ones who have overwhelmed it? They tell us that the prisons are overcrowded. But what if the population is over-­imprisoned? There is very little information published about pris­ons; it is one of the hidden regions of our social system, one of the dark compartments of our existence. It is our right to know. We want to know. That is why, with magistrates, lawyers, journalists, doctors, and psychologists, we have created an association for information about prisons. (quoted in Eribon 1991: 224)

Prisons became a major focus for exploration and action – and as Didier Eribon (1991: 225) comments, it not difficult to see why.

Just as in the case of madness, the di­viding line separating “normal” men from incarcerated men is not as certain as one would think, and that line was where he had to establish his observation post to detect how mechanisms of power are deployed.

One result of this activity was Surveiller et punir. Naissance de la prison (Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison) published in 1975. His objective was to provide:

a correlative history of the modern soul and of a new power to judge; a genealogy of the present-day scientific-judicial complex in which the power to punish finds its supports, receives its justifications and rules, extends its effects and masks its exorbitant singularity. (Foucault 1975 | 1979: 23)

As David Macey (1994: 330) reports, Foucault sets out four preliminary rules for methodology.

Punitive mechanisms are not to be studied merely as repressive measures; they may have positive effects too, and punish­ment should be regarded as a complex social function. Methods of punishment are not simply an expression of legal rules; they are techniques which find their specificity in a broader field of mechanisms of power. They are therefore to be viewed as tactics of power. The history of penal law and that of the human sciences are not separate series but may well derive from an ‘epistemologico-juridical’ forma­tion: the technique of power may govern both the humanisation of the penal system and our knowledge of man. Finally, the entry of the soul on to the legal stage and the insertion of scientific knowledge into juridical practice may be the effect of a transformation in the mode of the body’s investment by relations of power.

One of the most significant things about the approach taken is that while it remains in significant ways archaeological, it is complemented by genealogy. As Gutting (2019: 102) argues, for Foucault genealogy ‘is a historical causal explanation that is material, multiple, and corporeal’. The last of these requires explanation. It is human bodies that need to concern us. ‘The forces that drive our history do not so much operate on our thoughts, our social institutions, or even our environment as on our individual bodies’ (op. cit.).

Perhaps the most striking thesis of Discipline and Punish is that:

…the disciplinary techniques introduced for criminals become the model for other modern sites of control (schools, hospitals, factories, etc.), so that prison discipline pervades all of modern society. We live, Foucault says, in a ‘carceral archipelago’. (Gutting 2019)

The History of Sexuality

As a follow on from Discipline and Punish Michel Foucault went on to write La Volonté de Savoir: Volume I of Histoire de la sexualité (The Will to Know. Volume I of The History of Sexuality). The book explores the emergence of modern sexuality in the nineteenth century. He had planned a multi-volume work dealing with different themes. Foucault had seen that ‘modern control of sexuality parallels modern control of criminality by making sex (like crime) an object of allegedly scientific disciplines, which simultaneously offer knowledge and domination of their objects’ (Gutting and Okslala 2018). A year and a half after this masterwork on the “birth of the prison,” Eribon (1991: 269) comments:

…he published the first volume of Histoire de la sexualité. There is a clear relation between the two works, stated from the outset by Foucault: both are about “power” and the ways in which it is exercised. In Surveiller et punir he had demonstrated that power traverses society as a whole by means of “disciplinary” pro­cedures that constrain bodies; now he was investigating the “devices” linking sexuality with mechanisms and networks of power.

Published in 1976, this book was an introductory work He went on the write a further volume at this time (Les aveux de la chair) but he never published it. (It was eventually published in 2018.) The central theme of volume 1 of Histoire de la sexualité (which carried the subtitle of The Will to Knowledge in the UK) can characterised as follows:

Contrary to popular perceptions that we are sexually repressed, the entire notion of sexual repression is part and parcel of a general imperative for us to talk about sex like never before: the production of behaviour is represented simply as the liberation of innate tendencies. (Kelly undated)

The problem as Foucault saw it was that many had a limited appreciation of power, which led to a failure to problematize our ideas about, and experiences of, sexuality.

The doubts I would like to oppose to the repressive hy­pothesis are aimed less at showing it to be mistaken than at putting it back within a general economy of discourses on sex in modern societies since the seventeenth century. Why has sexuality been so widely discussed, and what has been said about it? What were the effects of power generated by what was said? What are the links between these discourses, these effects of power, and the pleasures that were invested by them? What knowledge (savoir) was formed as a result of this linkage? The object, in short, is to define the regime of power- knowledge-pleasure that sustains the discourse on human sexuality in our part of the world. (Foucault 1978: 11)

In short, the ways in which we approach sexuality are ‘always the result of specific cultural conventions and mechanisms of power and could not exist independently of them. (Gutting and Okslala 2018). [We look at this in more detail later]

‘Foucault after Foucault’

Foucault continued his work around sexuality in the Ancient world – and two further volumes of Histoire de la sexualité appeared in 1984 on Greek and Roman sexuality: L’usage des plaisirs (The Use of Pleasure) and Le souci de soi (The Care of the Self). However, in both personal and professional terms, ‘he was, despite his fame, surprisingly isolated as the 1970s gave way to the 1980s’ (Macey 1994: 422-3). He had fallen out with a number of other academics and had major differences with his publisher. He was also beginning to lose key friends and colleagues – Maurice Clavel, Roland Barthes and Jean-Paul Sartre all died within a couple of years of each other. Foucault had also  ‘suspected that he might have contracted AIDS, probably in California in 1982, but no positive diagnosis was ever made’ (Macey 1994: 475). For the next 18 months or so he was certainly weakened by his illness but continued to work.

On June 2, 1984, Michel Foucault collapsed at home and was taken to hospital. He died in the Hôpital Salpêtrière, Paris, Foucault on June 25, 1984.

Michel Foucault left a large body of work unpublished. He had, however, instructed his heirs not to publish anything posthumously. They ‘held the line for almost thirteen years. But in 1997 they made an exception for the Collège de France lectures, which Foucault had allowed attendees to tape, inevitably leading to the circulation of transcriptions’ (Gutting 2019: 205). These lectures were of great significance – in part because they gave considerable insight into the way his thinking was developing, but also as they contained a large amount of relevant additional material that underpinned and extended the arguments in his last four books (for an overview of this see Gutting 2019, Chapter 11 – which has the same title as this sub-section). One example of the latter is his notion of governmentality – which we explore in the next section.

To be continued …

Further reading and references


Deleuze, Gilles (1988). Foucault. Trans. Seán Hand. London: Athlone.

Dreyfus, Hubert and Paul Rabinow. (1983). Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics. 2e. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Eribon, Didier (1989 | 1992). Michel Foucault. Paris: Flammarion | Trans. Betsy Wing. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Eribon, Didier (2009 | 2018). Retour à Reims. (Return to Reims). Paris: Fayard. et Champs-Flammarion, 2010. | London: Allen Lane.

Feder, Ellen K. (2014). Power/knowledge in Dianna Taylor (ed.) Michel Foucault. Key concepts. Abingdon: Routledge. [Page numbering uses Adobe epub numbering].

Foucault, Michel (1954). Maladie mentale et personnalite. Paris: PUF.

Foucault, Michel (1961 | 1973). Folie et déraison. Histoire de la folie à l’âge Classique | Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. Paris: Plon| New York: Pantheon.

Foucault, Michel. (1963 | 1975). Naissance de la Clinique: Une archéology du regard medical | The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception, A. M. Sheridan Smith (trans.). Paris: PUF | New York: Vintage.

Foucault, Michel. (1963 | 1986). Raymond Roussel | Death and the Labyrinth: The World of Raymond Roussel, Charles Ruas (trans.). Paris: Gallimard. | Garden City, NY: Doubleday.

Foucault, Michel (1966 | 1970). Les Mots et les choses: Une achéologie des sciences humaines   | The Order of Things. Paris: Gallimard | New York: Pantheon/Random House.

Foucault, Michel (1969 | 1972). L’Archéologie du savoir | The Archaeology of Knowledge and the Discourse on Language, A. M. Sheridan Smith (trans.). Paris: Gallimard, 1969 | New York: Pantheon.

Foucault, Michel (1975 | 1979). Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la prison  | Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, Alan Sheridan (trans.). Paris: Gallimard | New York: Vintage. References are from the second edition published in 1995.

Foucault, Michel. (1976 | 1990). Histoire de la sexualité vol. 1: La volonté de savoir |The History of Sexuality, Volume I: An Introduction, R. Hurley (trans.). Paris: Gallimard | New York: Vintage.

Foucault, Michel (1977). “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History”. In Language, Counter-Memory, and Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews, D. F. Bouchard (ed.), 139–64. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Foucault, Michel (1980). Power/Knowledge. Selected interviews and other writings 1972-1977. New York: Pantheon Books.

Foucault, Michel (1984a | 1990). Histoire de la sexualité, vol. II: L’Usage des plaisirs. | The History of Sexuality, Volume II: The Use of Pleasure, R. Hurley (trans.). Paris: Gallimard | New York: Vintage.

Foucault, Michel (1984b). Histoire de la sexualité, vol. III: Le Souci de soi. | The History of Sexuality, Volume III: The Care of the Self, R. Hurley (trans.). Paris: Gallimard | New York: Pantheon.

Foucault, Michel (1988). Truth, Power, Self: An Interview with Michel Foucault in Technologies of the Self: A Seminar with Michel Foucault, L. Martin, H. Gutman & P. Hutton (eds). Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press.

Foucault, M. (2000). Interview with Michel Foucault in J.D. Faubion (ed.) Power: Essential Works Of Foucault, 1954-1984. New York: The New Press

Foucault, Michel (2008). The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978–79, G. Burchell (trans.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Foucault, Michel (2018). Les aveux de la chair (Histoire de la sexualité IV), ed. Frédéric Gros. Paris: Gallimard.

Gutting, Gary (2019). Foucault. A very short introduction. 2e. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Page numbers refer to the epub version of the text]

Gutting, Gary and Oksala, Johanna, “Michel Foucault”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). [https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2019/entries/foucault/. Retrieved December 19, 2019].

Gutting, Gary (ed.). (1994). Cambridge Companion to Foucault. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hoffman, Marcelo (2014). Disciplinary power in Dianna Taylor (ed.) Michel Foucault. Key concepts. Abingdon: Routledge.

Horkheimer, M., & Adorno, T. W. (1947 | 1997). Dialektik der Aufklärung | Dialectic of enlightenment. London: Verso.

Kelly, Mark G. E. (undated). Michel Foucault (1926–1984), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. [https://www.iep.utm.edu/foucault/. Retrieved December 19, 2019].

Kelly, Mark G. E. (2009). The Political Philosophy of Michel Foucault. Abingdon: Routledge.

Kelly, Mark G. E. (2014). Foucault and Politics. A Critical Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Lynch, Richard A. (2014). Foucault’s theory of power in Dianna Taylor (ed.) Michel Foucault. Key concepts. Abingdon: Routledge.

Macey, David (1993). The Lives of Michel Foucault. London: Hutchison.

Taylor, Chloë (2014). Biopower in Dianna Taylor (ed.) Michel Foucault. Key concepts. Abingdon: Routledge.

Taylor, Dianna (ed.) (2014). Michel Foucault. Key concepts. Abingdon: Routledge.

Taylor, Dianna (2014a). Introduction: Power, freedom and subjectivity in Dianna Taylor (ed.) Michel Foucault. Key concepts. Abingdon: Routledge.

Acknowledgements: I am indebted to the Internet Archive for making available key texts on Michel Foucault. [https://archive.org/search.php?query=foucault]

How to cite this piece: Smith, M. K. (2020). Michel Foucault: Power, subjectivity and education, The encyclopedia of pedagogy and informal education. [https://infed.org/mobi/michel-foucault-power-subjectivity-and-education/. Retrieved: insert date]

Last Updated on March 27, 2020 by infed.org