© 1996

Michel Foucault: Personal Autonomy and Education


Part of the Philosophy and Education book series (PHED, volume 7)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-2
  2. James D. Marshall
    Pages 3-20
  3. James D. Marshall
    Pages 21-53
  4. James D. Marshall
    Pages 55-81
  5. James D. Marshall
    Pages 83-109
  6. James D. Marshall
    Pages 111-136
  7. James D. Marshall
    Pages 137-164
  8. James D. Marshall
    Pages 165-193
  9. James D. Marshall
    Pages 195-211
  10. James D. Marshall
    Pages 213-219
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 221-247

About this book


This book is designed to serve two purposes. First it provides an introduction to the ideas and works of Michel Foucault. It should be particularly appropriate for education students for whom, in general, Foucault is a shadowy presence. Second, it provides a Foucault based critique of a central plank of Western liberal education, the notion of the autonomous individual or personal autonomy. There are several introductions to Foucault but they tend to be written from a particular theoretical position, or with a particular interest in Foucault's ideas and works. For example Smart (1986) and Poster (1984) exemplify the former, and Dreyfus and Rabinow (1983) the latter. There is no substantial work in education on Foucault, apart from Ball (1990), which is an edited collection of papers by educationalists. The writer started reading Foucault from a position in education which was in the liberal framework, somewhere between Dewey, Freire and Habermas, but with an interest in punishment, authority and power. The book is the outcome of several years of trying to introduce students in education to his ideas and works in an educationally relevant manner. But an introduction, on its own, cannot show this relevance to education. Unless his ideas are put to work, unless they are used as opposed to mentioned in some sphere or area of education, then they may be of little relevance.


Michel Foucault autonomy education philosophy philosophy of education

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.The University of AucklandNew Zealand

Bibliographic information