Foucault’s Contribution to Understanding Society and Culture

Subject: Philosophy
Pages: 2
Words: 528
Reading time:
2 min

Michel Foucault is mostly revered for his rather controversial ‘technologies of the self.’ He is an eminent philosopher who most contemporary social scientists and enthusiasts draw on for intellectual stimulation on matters of society and culture. Specifically, his concentration on sexuality appears intricate to an average mind. Foucault is undeniably seen to be paying attention to social organization topics by his concerns in governmentality. To him, social control is the interplay of power in which nations and states engage themselves. His postulations on power are central to an understanding of the present-day social disciplines.

He first studies the correlation between power and knowledge. Secondly, he elaborates more on the origin of the contemporary personality by means of punitive machinery designed by political ideologies and statutes. Finally, he evaluates governmentality by incorporating both of the above aspects to a distinct conjecture authority. In his hypothesis, Foucault is unambiguous in passing judgment on Marxism as well as existentialism. He claims that Marxist perceptions of power as a comprehensive framework are not informed by the actualities of the underlying relations between the state and the different classes.

Foucault asserts that power, as an involvement, is confined to a small area, sparsely distributed, scattered, itinerant, and hidden in the public realm besides running in small scale and open areas via a myriad of functions. In short, he describes power as a complex issue with many parts and processes and some of these aspects override one another. This means that social control and order is a routine arrangement with an insistence on societal and cultural norms. Inequalities in power are never designed but come naturally.

Chief among the cultural perspectives which Foucault describes are language and insights which one becomes accustomed to from inception through social interactions. Similarly, he explains that since there are numerous empirical suppositions and ideological versions on why a certain order subsists in place of others, there is no single rule on why it is so. He recognizes that development in critical and creative thinking fields is no longer profound like it was during the classical ages.

In the same way, his meticulous interest in outlining the advancement of Western evolution still implies upon scholars. On human thinking, he looks at the circumstances which generate new varieties of understanding and communication. He is excited by the way contemporary social pressure dictates one’s awareness and paints an illustration that destiny is well within control. Furthermore, to Foucault, the present-day codes delineate man as a lost being given that the past is a result of intentional compulsions and command systems which in essence shifts attention away from man.

His efforts still have important implications for historical, social, and ideological fields of knowledge. Both published and narrated works span numerous themes and issues varying from language, sexuality to knowledge. While he was given a wide berth at the beginning of his career, his intellectual exploits gradually became recognized. It is noteworthy to say that in as much as his work is multifarious in scope and technique, its complete force is not yet felt.