33 Top Michel Foucault Quotes (The Author Of The Order of Things).

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Paul-Michel Foucault (15 October 1926 – 25 June 1984) was a French philosopher, historian of ideas, writer, political activist, and literary critic. Foucault’s theories primarily address the relationship between power and knowledge, and how they are used as a form of social control through societal institutions. Though often cited as a structuralist and postmodernist, Foucault rejected these labels. His thought has influenced academics, especially those working in communication studies, anthropology, psychology, sociology, criminology, cultural studies, literary theory, feminism, Marxism and critical theory.


Michel Foucault’s ‘The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences’ proposes that every historical period has underlying epistemic assumptions, ways of thinking, which determined what is truth and what is acceptable discourse .

Source – WIkipedia..

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33 Top Michel Foucault Quotes (The Author Of The Order of Things).

  1. Where there is power, there is resistance.

2. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning.

3. The ‘Enlightenment’, which discovered the liberties, also invented the disciplines.

4. I’m no prophet. My job is making windows where there were once walls.

5. Every educational system is a political means of maintaining or of modifying the appropriation of discourse, with the knowledge and the powers it carries with it.

6. People know what they do; frequently they know why they do what they do; but what they don’t know is what what they do does.

7. I don’t write a book so that it will be the final word; I write a book so that other books are possible, not necessarily written by me.

8. Truth is linked in a circular relation with systems of power which produce and sustain it.

9. Power is also exerted over the body, not so much as physical punishment, but as ideological orders.

10. It’s my hypothesis that the individual is not a pre-given entity which is seized on by the exercise of power. The individual, with his identity and characteristics, is the product of a relation of power exercised over bodies, multiplicities, movements, desires, forces.

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11. I don’t feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am.

12. Schools serve the same social functions as prisons and mental institutions.

13. What I seek is a permanent opening of possibilities

14. Visibility is a trap.

5. What strikes me is the fact that in our society, art has become something which is related only to objects and not to individuals, or to life. That art is something which is specialized or which is done by experts who are artists. But couldn’t everyone’s life become a work of art? Why should the lamp or the house be an art object, but not our life?

16. The language of psychiatry, which is a monologue by reason… could only have come into existence in such a silence.

17. The intellectual was rejected and persecuted at the precise moment when the facts became incontrovertible, when it was forbidden to say that the emperor had no clothes.

18. Do not ask who I am and do not ask me to remain the same

19. Knowledge is not for knowing: knowledge is for cutting.

20. There is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time power relations.

21. Are the prisons overpopulated, or is the population over-imprisoned ?

22. Truth is not by nature free – nor error servile – but that its production is thoroughly imbued with relations of power.

23. We are freer than we think.

24. Maybe the target nowadays is not to discover what we are but to refuse what we are.

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25. A critique does not consist in saying that things aren’t good the way they are. It consists in seeing on just what type of assumptions, of familiar notions, of established and unexamined ways of thinking the accepted practices are based… To do criticism is to make harder those acts which are now too easy.

26. One must confront what one is thinking and saying with what one is doing, what one is.

27. One cannot attend to oneself, take care of oneself, without a relationship to another person.

28. What desire can be contrary to nature since it was given to man by nature itself?

29. From the idea that the self is not given to us, I think there is only one practical consequence: we have to create ourselves as a work of art.

30. If you knew when you began a book what you would say at the end, do you think that you would have the courage to write it?”

31. The work of an intellectual is not to mould the political will of others; it is, through the analyses that he does in his own field, to re-examine evidence and assumptions, to shake up habitual ways of working and thinking, to dissipate conventional familiarities, to re-evaluate rules and institutions and to participate in the formation of a political will (where he has his role as citizen to play).

32. We have to be there at the birth of ideas, the bursting outward of their force: not in books expressing them, but in events manifesting this force, in struggles carried on around ideas, for or against them.

33. What is true for writing and for a love relationship is true also for life. The game is worthwhile insofar as we don’t know what will be the end

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