Foucault News

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

Foucault’s Theory of Power & Knowledge: An Introduction, Perlego, online subscription library of e-books

What is Foucault’s Theory of Power and Knowledge?

Michel Foucault (1926-89) was a French philosopher and sociologist notable for his works Madness and Civilization (1961), Discipline and Punish (1975) and The History of Sexuality (1976). A persistent theme in Foucault’s work is the relationship between power and knowledge, culminating in his neologism ‘power/knowledge’. The term power/knowledge demonstrates how, for Foucault, power and knowledge are inextricably linked. Foucault writes that ‘the exercise of power itself creates and causes to emerge new objects of knowledge and accumulates new bodies of information…[t]he exercise of power perpetually creates knowledge and, conversely, knowledge constantly induces effects of power’ (1975, 52). Power and knowledge are not separate nor are they synonymous; instead, power both makes use of and shapes knowledge.

Written by: Sophie Raine
Sophie Raine is a final-year PhD student at Lancaster University studying Victorian penny dreadfuls. Her work focuses on working-class popular culture and urban spaces. Her previous publications have been featured in VPFA (2019) and the Palgrave Handbook for Steam Age Gothic (2021) and her co-edited collection Penny Dreadfuls and the Gothic is due for release in 2022 with University of Wales Press.

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