Encyclopedia of the History of Psychological Theories

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert W. Rieber

Foucault, Michel

  • Dennis R. Bryson
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0463-8_132

Michel Foucault (1926–1984) was one of the major thinkers of the twentieth century. He was born, educated, and lived in France. He held a chair at the prestigious Collège de France; he also taught at universities around the world, including the University of California at Berkeley.

Foucault was not a psychologist, but his formulations on such issues as discipline and the care of the self, as well as the emergence of psychology and the human sciences more generally, continue to possess great relevance for psychology. In addressing Foucault’s work, perhaps the best place to start is his Discipline and Punish(1975/1979). The book dealt with the emergence of the “disciplines” in the Western world from the seventeenth century on. The disciplines involved such practices and procedures as fixing in place and confining, observation and surveillance, training and exercise, judging and classifying according to norms (“normalization”), and examination. The disciplines avoided violent methods...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Foucault, M. (1978). The history of sexuality: Vol. 1. An introduction. New York: Vintage Books. (trans: Hurley, R. Original work published 1976).Google Scholar
  2. Foucault, M. (1979). Discipline and punish. New York: Vintage Books. (trans: Sheridan, A. Original work published 1975).Google Scholar
  3. Foucault, M. (2003a). On the genealogy of ethics: An overview of work in progress. In P. Rabinow & N. Rose (Eds.), The essential Foucault (pp. 102–125). New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
  4. Foucault, M. (2003b). Technologies of the self. In P. Rabinow & N. Rose (Eds.), The essential Foucault (pp. 145–169). New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
  5. Rose, N. (1998). Inventing our selves: Psychology, power, and personhood. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bilkent UniversityAnkaraTurkey