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Assess Foucault’s Contribution to the Anthropological Study of Power and Governmentality
The problems and concerns that he raises are genuine and serious, and the ideas that he has put forth deserve popular attention. There can be a number of stances taken when analyzing Foucault’s work, but many theorists choose to see the contradictions in his work as “theoretical stepping stones, ways of moving Foucault’s work further” (Mills 2003: 122).
Towards the end of his life, Foucault insisted that all of his work was actually a part of one single project which’s goal was to historically investigate the production of truth – he was concerned with producing historical accounts of the formation of ideas and continually sought for a way of understanding the ideas that shape our present. (Foucault 1982: 208)
He coined multiple new approaches to age-old concepts; he “demolished” the “fictions” of traditional philosophy and introduced a new way of thinking “about politics in the absence of its defining.” (Hindess 1996: 158; Clegg 2000: 144) His work is fundamentally a critique of the ideals of Enlightenment, of modern society with an appeal for social change and to challenge our ideas of what is normal. His pervasiveness, as Dominic Boyer notes, is “largely unparalleled in anthropology.” Nowadays, it is a constant and, one might say, common point of reference in the “everyday discursive networks of anthropological knowledge-making.” (Boyer 2003: 58) Alan Sheridan is right in saying that Foucault is resistant to conclusions – one might find a large amount of reasons as to why he is still so current and popular nowadays. (Sheridan 1980: 194) But it may be attributed to his success in challenging the basic assumptions about the world. His concepts of have inspired a lot of recent research in anthropology, and have opened up a rich path of investigation.
- Assess Foucault’s Contribution to the Anthropological Study of Power and Governmentality
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