Michel Foucault: Genealogy as Critique

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Verso, 1995 - Philosophy - 179 pages
The reception of Michel Foucault's work has often been divided between two unsatisfactory alternatives. On the one had there are those who admire the detail of his concrete analysis, but wonder how the political and ethical commitments they seem to rely on can be justified. On the other, there are those who deny the need for normative foundations, but also find it difficult to explain what makes Foucault's archaeologies and genealogies critical. Rudi Visker's book is not only a lucid and elegant survey of Foucault's corpus, from his early work on madness to the History of Sexuality, but also a major intervention in this debate.

Reading Foucault against the Heideggarian backdrop to his work, Visker shows that Foucault's target is not order as such, but rather the production of ordering systems which cannot acknowledge their own conditions of possibility. Exploring along the way such intriguing issues as the ambivalence of Foucault's concepts of truth and power, and his philosophically provocative use of quotation marks, Visker portrays Foucault as neither relativist nor positivist, neither activist nor detached observer. Instead, Foucault emerges as the inventor of a new analysis of our modern mechanisms of control and exclusion: precisely of 'genealogy as critique'.
 

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Very useful book.

Contents

PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION
7
INTRODUCTION
8
From a Realism of Science to a Realism
8
From an Archaeological to a Genealogical
30
Marks
74
The Systematic Character of Foucaults
106
ABBREVIATIONS AND REFERENCES
136
BIBLIOGRAPHY
162
INDEX
171
Copyright

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About the author (1995)

Rudi Visker is a postdoctoral researcher at the Belgium National Fund for Scientific Research, affiliated to the Institute of Philosophy (K.U. Leuven), where he teaches phenomenology and contemporary philosophy. Between 1991 and 1994 he was also a Fellow of Philosophy at the University of Essex.

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