Foucault News

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

Federico Soldani, ‘Psyspeak’ on PsyPolitics and ‘therapy-speak’ on The New Yorker (2021) – 30th Mar 2021

Among others, Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs, in a volume written by 37 contributors titled “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” (2nd Edition, 2019), asserted explicitly: “Those who pretend that we are in the realm of politics when we are really in the realm of psychopathology make the situation even more dangerous, because they will not be prepared while the future of the planet and the human race are at stake.”

Former DSM-IV chief Allen Frances, in his essay “Twilight of American Sanity: A Psychiatrist Analyzes the Age of Trump” (2017) argued: “Trump isn’t crazy. We are.”

Michel Foucault, in his 1973-74 lecture series on “Psychiatric Power” at the Collège de France, pointed to the madness of King George III of England, monarch of a global British empire, as reported by Philippe Pinel in the seminal “Traité médico-philosophique sur l’aliénation mentale; ou la manie,” published in 1800 in Paris. According to Foucault, such emblematic scene of madness marked the birth of psychiatry as well as the passage from sovereign to disciplinary power in the modern world.

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