Foucault and the Groupe Information Santé – a bibliography

Foucault’s involvement with the Groupe d’Information sur les prisons is fairly well-known, with important collections of documentary material published in French, a forthcoming English translation of material, and a growing secondary literature in French and English. His involvement with the Groupe Information Santé (GIS) – while much less extensive – is much less examined.

MLCThese are, to my knowledge, the key sources:


Michel Foucault et le membres du G.I.S., “Médecine et luttes des classes”, Vers une antimédecine? Le médecine, la malade et la société, special issue of La Nef, No 49, 1972, pp. 67-73 – not reprinted in Dits et écrits.


Groupe Information Santé, Oui, nous avortons! Paris: Éditions Gît-le-Cœur, 1973.


Groupe Information Santé, La médecine désordonnée: D’une pratique de l’avortement à la lutte pour la santé, Paris: GIS, 1974.

Groupe Information Santé (with the CGT and CFGT), Le contrôle patronal sur les ouvriers malades, Paris: Liaisons directes, 1975.

Fédération unifiée des PTT et des telecommunications, Travailler dans les égouts en 1976, Paris: Les imprimeurs libres, 1976 – there was some GIS involvement in this report.

ONA.jpgAbortion rights

Pre-GIS, the key document was “Un appel de 343 femmes”, Le nouvel observateur, No 334, 5 avril 1971, p. 5; available at This was probably written by Simone de Beauvoir, and was signed by 343 women who said that they had had abortions.

It was followed by an appeal by doctors calling for the right to abortion – “252 médicins: «L’avortement doit être libre!»”, Le nouvel observateur, 3 mai 1971, pp. 48-9.

The GIS then coordinated a letter by doctors who admitted to conducting abortions: “Des médicins «s’accusent»: Manifeste des 331”, Le nouvel observateur, No 430, 5 février 1973, pp. 4-5, 55.

The Oui, nous avortons! pamphlet (see above) came out around this time. Foucault and two doctors were given a court summons as the presumed authors. They replied in Le nouvel observateur – ‘Convoqués à la P.J.’, 29 Oct 1973 (reprinted as Dits et écrits text 128 and translated in Essential Works III), taking responsibility. While Foucault’s involvement in the pamphlet itself seems minimal, he certainly wrote the reply.

Tankonalsante.jpg“L’avortement” in Tankonalsanté, Paris: François Maspero, 1975, pp. 85-101. This volume collects materials from multiple issues of the journal Tankonalsanté. All issues of that journal can be found online: there is a lot of material on abortion in number 3.

There is a fairly extensive literature on this struggle, with some mention of the GIS’s role. Other groups were also involved, of course. See, in particular, Gisèle Halimi, La cause des femmes, Paris: Bernard Grasset, 1973; The Right to Choose, translated by Rosemary Morgan, St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1977.

AFAThe Jean Carpentier case

Dr Carpentier was suspended for professional misconduct for circulating a sex-education pamphlet outside a school. Foucault spoke at a press conference in his defence (Dits et écrits text 110).

“Apprenons à faire l’amour”, in Jean Carpentier, Textes Libres, Paris: L’impense radical, 1972, pp. 81-4 – the original text.

Apprenons à faire l’amour, Paris: François Maspero, 1973 – an expanded version. Extracts online.

La faute du docteur Carpentier: Faute professionnelle ou délit d’opinion, special issue of Psychiatrie aujourd’hui, No 10, 1972 (contains Foucault’s piece mentioned above).

See also Carpentier’s obituary in Le Monde.

Other Materials

“Fiche practique du G.I.S.”, Tankonalasanté, No 4, 1973, p. 11.

Charles Dayant with Arnaud Still, J ‘étais médecin à La Santé, Paris: Presses de la Cité, 1972.

Charles Dayant with Arnaud Still, Plaidoyer pour une anti-médicine: L’art et la manière d’être malade, Paris: Presses de la Cité, 1974.

Serge Karsenty, “La médecine en question”, Le Magazine Littéraire, No 112-13, May 1976, pp. 38-41.

Lucy Halliday, “Fonds GIS (Groupe Information Santé); Fonds Sylvie Rosenberg-Reiner”, – inventory of the group’s archives.


2015-11-27 (1)Note: there is some overlap of work with the Groupe Information Asiles (GIA), a much-longer lasting group with which Foucault had minimal direct involvement. Tankonalsanté was one of their major publications; and they also produced a newsletter Psychiatrisés en lutte.  The GIA has a website which contains a lot of information.

I briefly discuss the GIA in Chapter Four of Foucault: The Birth of Power, and the GIP and GIS in more detail in Chapters Five and Six. An excerpt from Chapter Six of the manuscript has recently been published by Viewpoint: The Biopolitics of Birth: Michel Foucault, the Groupe Information Santé and the Abortion Rights Struggle” (open access).

For Foucault’s academic collaborative projects, see the bibliography here.

More resources on Foucault – further lists/bibliographies, links, tools and some short translations – are here.