Michael Maidan, Review of Michel Foucault: Penal Theories and Institutions (2020)

A detailed discussion of the last of Foucault’s Collège de France courses to be published and translated (open access). As the review kindly notes, I discuss the course in detail in Foucault: The Birth of Power, but I’ve agreed to write something more on the course at some point later this year. I also wrote a review of the French edition of the course for Berfrois in 2015 (open access).

Foucault News

Michel Foucault: Penal Theories and Institutions: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1971-1972
Review by Michael Maidan, Phenomenological Reviews, Sunday June 7th, 2020

Penal Theories and Institutions contains the lectures delivered by Foucault in his second-year tenure at the College de France (1971-2). It is also the last volume of this series, concluding a publication cycle of close to twenty years. The publication of Foucault’s lectures started mid-way with the 1976 course and then proceeded sideways, preventing us from grasping the development of his thought during the last fifteen years of his life.

Foucault did not prepare his lectures for publication, and their initial publication in 1997 was initially considered a transgression to Foucault’s last wishes for his posthumous writings not to be published. However, the proliferation of unauthorized versions of the lectures, based on transcriptions from audio recordings of unequal quality, decided the family and friends to…

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