Does Foucault’s “power-knowledge” contradict the scientific method?

Foucaults notion has nothing per se to do about the scientific method but is really about how tyranny in a modern age can exert itself – a perennial topic in politics. Facebook has a lot of knowledge, which gives it power, which it in turn use in an unethical way, polarizing and hurting the society.

What does Foucault say about knowledge and power?

According to Foucault’s understanding, power is based on knowledge and makes use of knowledge; on the other hand, power reproduces knowledge by shaping it in accordance with its anonymous intentions. Power (re-) creates its own fields of exercise through knowledge.

What does Foucault mean by knowledge?

According to Foucault, all knowledge is possible and takes place only within a vast network or system of power relationships that allow that knowledge to come to be, in order for statements accepted as “true” in any context to be uttered, and in order for what counts as knowledge to be generated in the first place.

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What are the two main types of power according to Foucault?

As modes of power in democracies, Foucault explicitly identified:

  • Sovereign power.
  • Disciplinary power.
  • Pastoral power.
  • Bio-power.

What is Foucault’s theory?

In his 1975 book Discipline and Punish, Foucault argued that French society had reconfigured punishment through the new “humane” practices of “discipline” and “surveillance”, used in new institutions such as prisons, the mental asylums, schools, workhouses and factories.

What is the link that Foucault draws between knowledge and power?

Foucault’s theory states that knowledge is power: Knowledge linked to power, not only assumes the authority of ‘the truth’ but has the power to make itself true. All knowledge, once applied in the real world, has effects, and in that sense at least, ‘becomes true.

What is Michel Foucault’s contribution to theory?

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.

What were Foucault’s main ideas?

Foucault’s entire philosophy is based on the assumption that human knowledge and existence are profoundly historical. He argues that what is most human about man is his history. He discusses the notions of history, change and historical method at some length at various points in his career.

What is the relationship between knowledge and power?

Knowledge is not independent of the individuals who hold it ; it is a product of power relationships. According to Lubit (2001), knowledge is the base of power and respect ; what often lead people to hesitate to share knowledge because they fear a decrease of their power.

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How is power productive Foucault?

For Foucault, power is productive as well as repressive. Power does not just come from those in authority: it manifests itself in many different ways and from many different points at once. Power directs the transmission of knowledge and discourses and shapes our concepts and self-image.

What is Michel Foucault’s best known for?

Michel Foucault began to attract wide notice as one of the most original and controversial thinkers of his day with the appearance of The Order of Things in 1966. His best-known works included Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1975) and The History of Sexuality, a multivolume history of Western sexuality.

What did Michel Foucault contribution to postmodernism?

Foucault’s ideas gave rise in the 1970s and ’80s to philosophical postmodernism, a movement characterized by broad epistemological skepticism and ethical subjectivism, a general suspicion of reason, and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power.

How did Foucault define postmodernism?

Foucault defines postmodernity in terms of discourse and discourse is interpreted through power. He actually started with the truism: knowledge is power. He was particularly interested in knowledge of human beings, and power that acts on human beings.

What do the postmodernists Foucault have to say about deviance?


According to postmodernists such as Foucault, the intertwining nature of power, knowledge, and social control is the nexus at which deviance and crime are defined.

Was Foucault a liberalist?

Foucault was highly attracted to economic liberalism: he saw in it the possibility of a form of governmentality that was much less normative and authoritarian than the socialist and communist left, which he saw as totally obsolete.

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How does Foucault’s idea of power differ from the orthodox Marxist conception of power?

While Marx refers to economic processes in capitalism as the sole technology of power, Foucault identifies at least two political technologies of power, which he refers to as disciplinary power and bio-power.

What is Foucault’s theory of Governmentality?

Foucault defines governmentality in brief as “the conduct of conduct” or “the art of government” where “government” includes a wide range of control techniques that makes subjects governable.