Foucault, critical realist?

I would have my doubts about this on first blush, but I suppose you never know. If these “pitfalls” have been assigned to Foucault’s work, perhaps they are just off the mark on the face of it? But perhaps anything that helps repel them is worth checking out. (Whole article not yet read.)

Redrawing Foucault’s Social Ontology
Ismael Al-Amoudi University of Reading, Reading, UK

I propose that Foucault’s works, since he wrote Discipline and Punish rely on an implicit meta-theory that is compatible with the fundamentals of critical realism. To this end I examine the status of truth, methodology and social ontology used by Foucault. If this thesis is correct, then a critical realist reading of Michel Foucault would avoid some of the pitfalls that have been attributed to his works—such as constructivism, determinism, localism, and reductionism. Moreover, this understanding of Foucault’s works would also offer novel and challenging perspectives for researchers adopting a Foucauldian and/or critical realist study of organizations.

Key Words: Bhaskar • critical realism • epistemology • Foucault • knowledge • methodology • ontology • post-structuralism • power • social reality


One Response

  1. Frank Pearce at Queen’s has been pushing a similar line. See the papers in the forthcoming edited volume (with Jon Frauley) Heterodox Realism and the Social Sciences (U. Toronto), which derive from a critical realism themed conference Pearce was involved in organizing. His former student, R. Paul Datta, also has a similar take, but Datta hasn’t published on the topic yet.

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