Power and discipline in transitions: Michel Foucault

  • Martijn DuineveldEmail author
  • Guus Dix


How wonderful it would be to have the philosopher most cited within the social sciences, Michel Foucault, shed light on the still largely Dutch phenomenon of ‘transition management’. This would undoubtedly provide us with an exquisite example of intellectual fireworks. Sadly, Foucault died of AIDS in 1984. So we have no choice but to do the job ourselves. In order to do so we will link our interpretation of his work with the field of transition management (Kemp et al., 2007; Duineveld et al., 2009). We bypass his early (Foucault, 2001, 1973, 1969) and late work (Foucault, 1985, 1986) and base this chapter primarily on Foucault (2004, 2003, 1998 and 1994a). We also use secondary literature like Flyvbjerg and Richardson (2002), Flyvbjerg (1998a), McHoul and Grace, (1995), Van Assche (2004) and Gutting (1994, 1989). These texts are used pragmatically; that is to say, we do not attempt to make a connection with the schools of thought that were of influence on Foucault’s thinking, such as Marxism, structuralism and analytical philosophy. Neither do we enter into the (philosophical) movements he opposed, such as phenomenology and existentialism. Instead, we use his texts as a toolkit, as an initial impetus for deriving a number of theories, concepts and ideas that can help us to describe, analyse and understand transition practices.


Transition Management Corporal Punishment Normative Hierarchy Penal System Disciplinary Technique 
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Copyright information

© Wageningen Academic Publishers 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Socio-spatial Analysis groupWageningen UniversityWageningenNetherlands
  2. 2.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamNetherlands

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