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2.5 out of 5 stars6
2.5 out of 5 stars
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on 26 February 2011
I feel I have to leap to the defence of this book in the face of the negative reviews it has received. I studied sociology at university and this book was very useful for helping me get a grip on Foucault's key ideas. The illustrations are certainly lively, but I wouldn't say they distracted from anyting - rather, they add humour to the book, which is no bad thing, and would likely have pleased old MF himself.

Ideas like the 'archaology of knowledge' and the 'episteme' are, I think, nicely handled - a picture of MF digging through layers of knowledge, the detritus of past discourses... why not?

One is never going to be an expert on Foucault based on reading one illustrated book, and neither are his ideas going to be 100% crystal clear; professional sociologists find his work and ideas challenging, but this book makes a useful contribution. 'Introducing Foucault' should be read along with other secondary works by authors such as Gutting and Merquior and others - and of course Foucault's own.

My copy was borrowed by a former student of mine and I haven't seen it since - can I have it back please?!

Critical Social Theory and the End of Work (Rethinking Classical Sociology)
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on 15 February 2004
The book has the noble aim of explaining Foucault. Foucault has the reputation of being difficult to understand; yet he is one of the most influencing writers in sociology in recent years. The book covers many aspect of Foucault's live, but it generally fails to introduce Foucault's thinking and ideas. You might gain an insight of Foucault's life, but the attempts to make the theorist easier to understand fail. The illustrations add nothing to the text. At times, the even distract from what is written. The language used is not accessible enough for a book with this title (and part of this series). If you are interested to learn more about Foucault, do not be fooled by this book's title. Get something else.
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on 23 October 2000
I read this book because I knew a little about Foucault and wanted to know more. By the end of it, however, I knew less than when I began. It presupposes you know more than this supposed introduction purports to explain. The explanations are obscure and the language pretentious. This is just the sort of thing that gives cultural studies and sociology a bad name. I wish I could get my money back.
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on 1 February 2002
I've always had a problem with people who mention Foucault because they're never clear when they try to explain his ideas. This book puts it pretty plainly. The illustrations are a bit pornographic but I guess they show a bit more about the man's life than the stuff I've read shows. I think the book could do a bit more with the way Foucault has been used since the 1980s, but I can't argue with the witty and intelligent way this writer and illustrator deals with this difficult subject. My friend has stolen my copy!
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on 16 January 2014
While the idea behind these graphic guides is a little whacky - breaking down complex thinkers into graphic form is perhaps a little difficult to pull off - this particular edition is actually reasonably good. It is set out in roughly chronological order, covering both biographical aspects to Foucault as well as the development of his modes of thought and concepts. I rate it 3 and a half stars because although it isn't overly difficult to understand, I think it would be difficult to come away with a clear idea of Foucault's thinking or his main concepts (i.e. his work on power), and so one would probably need to consult with other introductory texts to have a clearer introduction to this brilliant French thinker.
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on 30 August 2013
It's very biased and not what you want if you need an introduction to Foucault. You can find others that'll give you details of his work, what his followers are doing whilst still quoting criticisms. This book is just very anti-Foucault and not what you'd expect at this level...
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