Michel Foucault's History of Culture

Patricia O'brien

in The New Cultural History

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 1989 | ISBN: 9780520064287
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520908925 | DOI:
Michel Foucault's History of Culture

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This chapter explores both Michel Foucault's influence and his practices as a historian of culture. It also argues that Foucault studied culture through the prism of the technologies of power, which he located strategically in discourse. Specifically, the chapter is dedicated to three main concerns: Foucault's relation to and reception by members of the historical profession; Foucault's achievements and failures as a historian—whether or not in method, research, and concerns he operated within the discipline; and Foucault's influence on the writing of history and what the prospects are for the survival of such influence. Foucault's methodological challenges embraced one of the most traditional of historical endeavors: his collected works represent a new history of Western civilization. His study of culture is a history with beginnings but no causes. He also has refashioned historical understanding through practice rather than theory.

Keywords: Michel Foucault; culture; historian; Western civilization; history

Chapter.  7931 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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