Foucault and the Critique of Institutions

Overview

The issue of the institution is not addressed systematically anywhere in the literature on Foucault, although it is everywhere to be found in Foucault's writings. Foucault and the Critique of Institutions not only interprets the work of Foucault but also applies it to the question of the institution. Foucault is a master at analyzing the web of social relations ("power") that effectively shape ("normalize") the modern individual. While these social relations are smaller and finer than institutions, institutions ...

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Overview

The issue of the institution is not addressed systematically anywhere in the literature on Foucault, although it is everywhere to be found in Foucault's writings. Foucault and the Critique of Institutions not only interprets the work of Foucault but also applies it to the question of the institution. Foucault is a master at analyzing the web of social relations ("power") that effectively shape ("normalize") the modern individual. While these social relations are smaller and finer than institutions, institutions are, by Foucault's account, saturated with such relations. This study is the first sustained account to follow up the implications of Foucault's provocative theses about power for the analysis of institutions.

Foucault and the Critique of Institutions offers a set of preliminary essays that raise basic questions about the theoretical character of Foucault's thought and then several groups of other essays that go on to take up the practical issues raised by his work. Joseph Margolis and Jitendra Mohanty address one of the most complex problems posed by Foucault's texts: his status as a philosopher. Mark Poster explores the problem of the "self" in Foucault, while Judith Butler focuses her searching investigation of the self on its gendered nature. Joseph Rouse examines the functioning of the natural sciences within the institutional setting of the university and the academic profession, while Chuck Dyke and Mary Schmelzer present vigorous critiques of the normalizing power of the university. Robert Moore and Mark Yount offer original studies of the implications of Foucault's work for the workplace, labor law, and affirmative action. Finally, John Caputo studies Foucault's famous history of madness and raises the question of the possibility of exercising a "healing" and not merely a "normalizing" power in the mental hospital and the church.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

John Caputo is David R. Cook Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University and author of four books, including Radical Hermeneutics (1987).

Mark Yount is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at St. Joseph's University.

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Table of Contents

I Introduction
Institutions, Normalization, and Power 3
II Foucault and Critique
Foucault as a Philosopher 27
Redeeming Foucault 41
III The Self and Its Sex
Foucault and the Problem of Self-Constitution 63
Sexual Inversions 81
IV The University and Its Disciplines
Extralogical Excavation: Philosophy in the Age of Shovelry 101
Panopticism and Postmodern Pedagogy 127
Foucault and the Natural Sciences 137
V The Workplace
Law, Normativity, and the Level Playing Field: The Production of Rights in American Labor Law 165
The Normalizing Powers of Affirmative Action 191
VI Healing Institutions
On Not Knowing Who We Are: Madness, Hermeneutics, and the Night of Truth in FoucauIt 233
Notes on Contributors 263
Index of Names 265
Index of Subjects 269
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