Quotations From MICHEL FOUCAULT


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  • The strategic adversary is fascism ... the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us.
    Michel Foucault (1926-1984), French philosopher. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, preface (1972).

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  • The practice of S/M is the creation of pleasure.... And that's why S/M is really a subculture. It's a process of invention. S/M is the use of a strategic relationship as a source of pleasure.
    Michel Foucault (1926-1984), French philosopher. repr. In Michel Foucault, by Didier Eribon (1989, trans. 1991). interview, Oct. 1982, "Sex, Power and the Politics of Identity," published in Advocate (Aug. 7, 1984).
  • Chance does not speak essentially through words nor can it be seen in their convolution. It is the eruption of language, its sudden appearance.... It's not a night atwinkle with stars, an illuminated sleep, nor a drowsy vigil. It is the very edge of consciousness.
    Michel Foucault (1926-1984), French essayist, philosopher. Death and the Labyrinth: The World of Raymond Roussel, ch. 3 (1963, trans. 1986).

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  • Madness is the absolute break with the work of art; it forms the constitutive moment of abolition, which dissolves in time the truth of the work of art.
    Michel Foucault (1926-1984), French essayist, philosopher. Conclusion, Madness and Civilization (1961, trans. 1965).

    Read more quotations about / on: work, truth, time
  • The judges of normality are present everywhere. We are in the society of the teacher-judge, the doctor-judge, the educator- judge, the "social worker"-judge.
    Michel Foucault (1926-1984), French philosopher. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, pt. 4, ch. 3 (1975).

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  • In its function, the power to punish is not essentially different from that of curing or educating.
    Michel Foucault (1926-1984), French philosopher. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, pt. 4, ch. 3 (1975).

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  • Justice must always question itself, just as society can exist only by means of the work it does on itself and on its institutions.
    Michel Foucault (1926-1984), French philosopher. repr. In Didier Eribon, Michel Foucault (1989, trans. 1991). "Vous Etes Dangereux," Libération (Paris, June 30, 1983).

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  • One thing in any case is certain: man is neither the oldest nor the most constant problem that has been posed for human knowledge.
    Michel Foucault (1926-1984), French philosopher. The Order of Things, ch. 10, sct. 6 (1966, trans. 1970).
  • As the archeology of our thought easily shows, man is an invention of recent date. And one perhaps nearing its end.
    Michel Foucault (1926-1984), French essayist, philosopher. The Order of Things, ch. 10 (1966, trans. 1970).
  • Power is not an institution, and not a structure; neither is it a certain strength we are endowed with; it is the name that one attributes to a complex strategical situation in a particular society.
    Michel Foucault (1926-1984), French philosopher. The History of Sexuality, vol. 1, pt. 4, ch. 2 (1976).

    Read more quotations about / on: strength, power
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