Abnormal: Lectures at the College de France, 1974-1975


From 1971 until his death in 1984, Foucault gave public lectures at the world-famous College de France. Attended by thousands, these were seminal events in the world of French letters. Picador is proud to be publishing the lectures in thirteen volumes.
The lectures comprising Abnormal begin by examining the role of psychiatry in modern criminal justice, and its method of categorizing individuals who "resemble their crime before they commit it." Building on the themes of societal...

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Abnormal: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1974-1975

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From 1971 until his death in 1984, Foucault gave public lectures at the world-famous College de France. Attended by thousands, these were seminal events in the world of French letters. Picador is proud to be publishing the lectures in thirteen volumes.
The lectures comprising Abnormal begin by examining the role of psychiatry in modern criminal justice, and its method of categorizing individuals who "resemble their crime before they commit it." Building on the themes of societal self-defense in "Society Must Be Defended," Foucault shows how and why defining "abnormality" and "normality" were preorogatives of power in the nineteenth century.
The College de France lectures add immeasurably to our appreciation of Foucault's work and offer a unique window into his thinking.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"These lectures offer important insights into the evolution of the primary focus of Foucault's later work--the relationship between power and knowledge."
--Library Journal
"The importance of these lectures is that they are directly connected with two of Foucault's greatest books, Discipline and Punish and The History of Sexuality: An Introduction. Because they are clear and to the point, the lectures throw considerable light on the more difficult ideas and passages of their related published works."
--The Stranger

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312424053
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Series: Lectures at the College de France Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 620,452
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

The works of Michel Foucault include Madness and Civilization, The History of Sexuality, and Discipline and Punish. Series editor Arnold I. Davidson teaches at the University of Chicago and is executive editor of the journal Critical Inquiry.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: François Ewald and Alessandro Fontana

Introduction: Arnold I. Davidson

One: 8 January 1975
Expert psychiatric opinion in penal cases. — What kind of discourse is the discourse of expert psychiatric opinion? — Discourses of truth and discourses that make one laugh. — Legal proof in eighteenth-century criminal law. — The reformers. — The principle of profound conviction. — Extenuating circumstances. — The relationship between truth and justice. — The grotesque in the mechanism of power. — The psychological-moral double of the offense. — Expert opinion shows how the individual already resembles his crime before he has committed it. — The emergence of the power of normalization.

Two: 15 January 1975
Madness and crime. — Perversity and puerility. — The dangerous individual. — The psychiatric expert can only have the character of Ubu. — The epistemological level of psychiatry and its regression in expert medico-legal opinion. — End of the antagonistic relationship between medical power and judicial power. — Expert opinion and abnormal individuals (les anormaux). — Criticism of the notion of repression. — Exclusion of lepers and inclusion of plague victims. — Invention of positive technologies of power. — The normal and the pathological.

Three: 22 January 1975
Three figures that constitute the domain of abnormality: the human monster, the individual to be corrected, the masturbating child. — The sexual monster brings together the monstrous individual and the sexual deviant. — Historical review of the three figures. — Reversal of their historical importance. — Sacred embryology and the juridico-biological theory of the monster. — Siamese twins. — Hermaphrodites: minor cases. — The Marie Lemarcis case. — The Anne Grandjean cases.

Four: 29 January 1975
The moral monster. — Crime in classical law. — The spectacle of public torture and execution (la supplice). — Transformation of the mechanisms of power. — Disappearance of the ritual expenditure of punitive power. — The pathological nature of criminality. — The political monster: Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. — The monster in Jacobin literature (the tyrant) and anti-Jacobin literature (the rebellious people). — Incest and cannibalism.

Five: 5 February 1975
In the land of the ogres. — Transition from the monster to the abnormal (l'anormal). — The three great founding monsters of criminal psychiatry. — Medical power and judicial power with regard to the notion of the absence of interest. — The institutionalization of psychiatry as a specialized branch of public hygiene and a particular domain of social protection. — Codification of madness as social danger. — The motiveless crime (crime sans raison) and the tests of the enthronement of psychiatry. — The Henriette Cornier case. — The discovery of the instincts.

Six: 12 February 1975
Instinct as grid of intelligibility of motiveless crime and of crime that cannot be punished. — Extension of psychiatric knowledge and power on the basis of the problematization of instinct. — The 1838 law and the role claimed by psychiatry in public security. — Psychiatry and administration regulation, the demand for psychiatry by the family, and the constitution of a psychiatric-political discrimination between individuals. — The voluntary-involuntary axis, the instinctive and the automatic. — The explosive of the symptomatological field. — Psychiatry becomes science and technique of abnormal individuals. — The abnormal: a huge domain of intervention.

Seven: 19 February 1975
The problem of sexuality runs through the field of abnormality. — The old Christian rituals of confession. — From the confession according to a tariff to the sacrament of penance. Development of the pastoral. — Louis Habert's Pratique du sacrament de pénitence and Charles Borromée's (Carlo Borromeo) Instructions aux confesseurs. — From the confession to spiritual direction. — The double discursive filter of life in the confession. — Confession after the Council of Trent. — The sixth commandment: models of questioning according to Pierre Milhard and Louis Habert. — Appearance of the body of pleasure and desire in penitential and spiritual practices.

Eight: 26 February 1975
A new procedure of examination: the body discredited as flesh and the body blamed through the flesh. — Spiritual direction, the development of Catholic mysticism, and the phenomenon of possession. — Distinction between possession and witchcraft. — The possessions of Loudon. — Convulsion as the plastic and visible form of the struggle in the body of the processed. — The problem of the possessed and their convulsions does not belong to the history of illness. — The anti-convulsives: stylistic modulation of the confession and spiritual direction; appeal to medicine; recourse to disciplinary and educational systems of the seventeenth century. — Convulsion as neurological model of mental illness.

Nine: 5 March 1975
The problem of masturbation between the Christian discourse of the flesh and sexual psychopathology. — Three forms of the somatization of masturbation. — The pathological responsibility childhood. — Prepubescent masturbation and adult seduction; the offense come from outside. — A new organization of family space and control: the elimination of intermediaries and the direct application of the parent's body to the child's body. — Cultural involution of the family. — The medicalization of the new family and the child's confession to the doctor, heir to the Christian techniques of the confession. — The medical persecution of childhood by means of restraint of masturbation. — The constitution of the cellular family that takes responsibility for the body and life of the child. — Natural education and State education.

Ten: 12 March 1975
What makes the psychoanalytic theory of incest acceptable to the bourgeois family (danger comes from the child's desire. — Normalization of the urban proletariat and the optimal distribution of the working-class family (danger comes from fathers and brothers). — Two theories of incest. — The antecedents of the abnormal psychiatric-judicial mesh and psychiatric-familial mesh. — The problematic of sexuality and the analysis of its irregularities. — The twin theory of instinct and sexuality as epistemologico-political task of psychiatry. — The origins of sexual psychopathology (Heinrich Kaan). — Etiology of madness on the basis of the history of t he sexual instinct and imagination. — The case of the soldier Bertrand.

Eleven: 19 March 1975
A mixed figure: the monster, the masturbator, and the individual who cannot be integrated within the normative system of education. — The Charles Jouy case and a family plugged into the new system of control and power. — Childhood as the historical condition of the generalization of psychiatric knowledge and power. — Psychiatrization of infantilism and constitution of a science of normal and abnormal conduct. — The major theoretical constructions of psychiatry in the second half of the nineteenth century. — Psychiatry and racism: psychiatry and social defense.

Course Summary

Course Context

Index of Notions and Concepts

Index of Names

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