This page aims to make learning about the philosophy of Foucault as easy as possible by bringing together the best articles, podcasts, and videos from across the internet onto one page. To get started, simply choose one of the resources listed below, or browse a selection of key quotes by Foucault at the bottom of the page.
This section features articles from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The SEP is probably the most comprehensive online philosophy resource. It features in-depth articles on a huge number of philosophical topics, however, it is aimed at an academic audience and may be too detailed and technical for beginners. The IEP is generally more beginner-friendly but is also considered to be less reliable. Wikipedia is also an option, but it is much less reliable than either of these.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Michel Foucault
- Michel Foucault: Political Thought
- Michel Foucault: Ethics
- Michel Foucault: Feminism
This section features short articles written by professional philosophers and aimed at a general audience. These articles are ideal for anyone looking for a shorter or more beginner-friendly introduction to Foucault than the encyclopedia articles listed above.
The Times Literary Supplement
This section features episodes from leading philosophy podcasts. These are also aimed at a general audience and are a good option for beginners who prefer audio content.
The Philosopher’s Zone
New Books in Philosophy
Short Videos (<30 mins)
This section features short videos aimed at beginners.
Then & Now
Lectures/Longer Videos (>30 mins)
This section features longer videos and lectures.
- Introduction to Foucault
- Rick Roderick on Foucault – The Disappearance of the Human
- A Critical Intro to Foucault
This section features a selection of university course syllabi. Browsing course syllabi can be a useful way to find reading recommendations.
- Michel Foucault – New York University
- Foucault Bibliography – Louisiana State University
- Critical Methods: Reading Foucault – Occidental College
This section features requests for book recommendations on philosophy forums. These can also be useful to browse when trying to find reading recommendations.
- How do I start reading Foucault’s work?
- What’s the best place to start with Foucault?
- Where to begin with Foucault?
- Foucault Reading Order
There is only so much that you can learn using free online resources. This section features books that may be useful if you’re looking to learn more about Foucault. This list was created using the books featured in the course syllabi and forum recommendations above.
- Foucault: A Very Short Introduction – Gary Gutting
- How to Read Foucault – Johanna Oksala
- The Lives of Michel Foucault – David Macey
- The Cambridge Companion to Foucault – Gary Gutting
- The Foucault Reader – Michel Foucault
- Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison – Michel Foucault
- The History of Sexuality – Michel Foucault
This section features a selection of key quotes by Foucault.
If power were never anything but repressive, if it never did anything but to say no, do you really think one would be brought to obey it? What makes power hold good, what makes it accepted, is simply the fact that it doesn’t only weigh on us as a force that says no, but that it traverses and produces things, it induces pleasure, forms knowledge, produces discourse. It needs to be considered as a productive network which runs through the whole social body, much more than as a negative instance whose function is repression.
Power is not something that is acquired, seized, or shared, something that one holds on to or allows to slip away; power is exercised from innumerable points, in the interplay of nonegalitarian and mobile relations. … Power comes from below; that is, there is no binary and all encompassing opposition between rulers and ruled at the root of power relations, and serving as a general matrix — no such duality extending from the top down and reacting on more and more limited groups to the very depths of the social body.
– The History of Sexuality, Vol. I
If you are not like everyone else then you are abnormal, if you are abnormal then you are sick. These three categories, not being like everybody else, not being normal and being sick are in fact very different but have been reduced to the same thing.
– Interview, 1975
Psychiatric internment, the mental normalisation of individuals, and penal institutions have no doubt a fairly limited importance if one is only looking for their economic significance. On the other hand, they are undoubtedly essential to the general functioning of the wheels of power.
Truth is not by nature free—nor error servile—its production is thoroughly imbued with relations of power.
– History of Sexuality, Vol. 1
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