Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Dent, C. (2011). “‘Gray, meticulous and patently documentary’: Foucaultian historical methods and the patent system”. Journal of sociology , 47 (3), p. 297-312.
doi: 10.1177/1440783311407944

Patents are seen as a key part of the modern economy and operate as a mode of regulation of technology and innovation. The histories of the system, to date, have not explored the role that patents have in the governance of our society. This article suggests that the historical methods of Michel Foucault are broad enough to undertake this task. The article, then, explores both the archaeological and the genealogical methods in order to assess the benefits, and limitations, that arise from the use of each of them in the context of a history of the laws, and practices, as they relate to patents of invention.

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