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Foucault: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 24 Mar 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (24 Mar. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192805576
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192805577
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 0.8 x 11.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

Review from previous edition 'I can think of nobody in the English speaking world better placed to write a VSI on Foucault than Gary Gutting.' (Simon Critchley (Essex University), author of A Very Short Introduction to Continental Philosophy, on the proposal)

'A first-rate introduction to the work of this difficult thinker, which navigates the complexity of his thought with confidence and clarity' (Professor Todd May, Clemson University, South Carolina)

About the Author

Gary Gutting is considered a leading expert on Foucault. Currently Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, Gutting has published several works on Foucault, including French Philosophy in the Twentieth Century (CUP, 2001); Michel Foucault's Archaeology of Scientific Reason (CUP, 1989); and was the editor of he Cambridge Companion to Foucault (CUP, 1994).


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I think the reviewer before me was a little harsh on what is a short introduction to one of France's greatest intellectuals. This text book helped me through out my university years in grasping some of the key elements behind Foucault's text and also offers an insight into his thinking through out the years. I don't think the book is arbitrary (as mentioned by the previous reviewer) in covering what is a very massive body of work. It takes us through his ideas of power, politics, the birth of the institution, sexuality in a very accessible way. Notably, it is obviously not as concise as actually reading Foucault's writing, which can be very rewarding. But this little is a good book is effective in immersing you within Foucault's philosophy. My main criticism is that the last chapter on sexuality is somewhat a little meandering. Although it isn't classed as Foucault's strongest work, I do feel it doesn't capture the essence of 'history of sexuality' well enough. Overall i highly recommend it for those who want to an effective stepping stone into Foucault's work.
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An excellent overview

Of the numerous AVSI2 which I have read this one is by far the best. Professor Gutting takes a very complex and eclectic thinker like M.Foucault and in a very short temporal space sets out the the main influences that not only undergirded the Great Thinker, but which also became apparent later on as he moved through his three great stages: Archaeology, Genealogy, and Problematization.

Although this is not an easy read per se. (how could a book on a giant like M.Foucault be?) it does present a superb academic overview with a wealth of Literature embedded in the text. As a point of departure for a foray into M.Foucault's work, this really cannot be beaten.

I suggest a slow and careful read with a set of highlight pens, extract from the text the key ideas, some of the key influences, the key thinkers in the wings and then go back to those primary sources and follow up what inspires you to research the Great Man further.
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A clear and engaging introduction to one of the less accessible philosophers of the twentieth century by an expert who makes Foucault's most obscure musings as comprehensible as they ever could be in a brief introduction. Brilliant! and yet another highlight in a now classic series.
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Format: Paperback
This book is ideal for an introduction to Foucault. It begins with a mini biography,followed by an ntroduction to his major works, including a clear introduction to both Foucault's Geneology and Archeology. It is concise, well written and would suit a reader at an undergraduate level. The sources and further reading are excellent for giving pointers to other authors related.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Would recommend to anyone looking for an introduction. Bought as reading for my Doctoral studies and has helped me enormously
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I didn't know anything about Foucault before other than he was postmodern! Gutting gave me a really light and interesting read, concise narrative full of gems and lucid argument. A book to be praised. I went on to read some Foucault, and felt completely able.
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This is the first book of its kind that I've felt has taken me into Foucault's mind and work. He's a notoriously difficult author and he's been accused of deliberate obfuscation, so this is a real achievement.
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This is a fairly good introductory text, although it appears to have been written from a predominantly literary theory perspective, meaning there's (what I consider to be) a disproportionate amount of focus directed towards Foucault's 'archaeological' writings. For the novice, I think the middle, genealogical era is significantly easier to grasp, so it seems a shame that Gutting (who also edited the splendid, but similarly archaeologically-inflected Cambridge Companion to Michel Foucault) spends the bulk of his time on Foucault's earlier writing.

As with most introductory texts, this is in no way sufficient to give someone a solid overview of Foucault's work, and I would recommend some other introductory texts (such as the Michel Foucault: Key Concepts book, edited by Dianne Taylor).
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