“The Foucaultian herd”

Surely the post of the day!

In the interest of making an honest effort to understand why a writer I loathe and have less than no respect for is considered an academic celebrity, and also because I want to have a stronger critique of Foucault to offer my (fingers crossed) future PhD advisors than “Histoire de Sexualitie! Shit! Fuck!”, I am reading – well, more likely, skimming through – Madness and Civilization and Discipline and Punish. Twenty pages in and I’m already shouting, “Define your terms, you bald fuck! Don’t make me come over there and define them for you!”

Later, in comments:

I’m already trying to figure out how he has gotten away with completely dismissing “traditional” history as not “effective history” and then, ten pages later, use historical evidence and empirical and quantitative arguments in a “traditional” manner to provide the entire basis to his philosophical-historical arguments.

From what I gather from the defenses raised by the Foucaultian herd, because he’s a “theorist” all his inconsistencies, contradictions, and hypocrisies magically become “shifts in emphasis” and “radical new approaches.”

God help me. I’m not even 1/4 of the way through.

Ah, the joys of academia! Reading books you want to hurl across the room not because you have to but because you want to.

3 Responses

  1. “Honest efforts” never involve “skimming through.” The extracts you post most certainly derive from “skimming” rather than “reading.”

  2. Passionate if nothing else.

  3. Foucault without doube provides the clearest modern day treatise concerning modern-day power systems in our society. Having reviewed a good number of philosophers on the subject of power I heartily encourage anybody interested in power and who wants any kind of near-accurate view through which to interpret Machiavelli-through-Obama to read Foucault’s History of Sexuality chapter 1 and “Governmentality.” Outstanding!

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