Foucault sees madness as a social construction—rather than an objective truth—that exists to uphold the construction of rationality. Through madness Foucault aimed to characterise the blind spots of reason, given the assumption that negativity causes consciousness. Foucault responded in 1972 in two texts which have recently been included in the first complete English As the accepted world version of the state apparatus, rationality requires the designation of the mad as non-rational. Foucault’s genealogical and archeological analyses of discourses involves a non-linear, conflictual and contradictory historical account of those discourses or institutions that have formed our ideas of sexuality, sickness, criminality, madness, morality etc. Madness and Civilization, a reworking of Foucault’s doctoral dissertation, undertakes an “archaeology” of our system of psychiatric nosology and treatment. His theories about power and social change continue to resonate. This essay explores various ways in which madness is represented in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, first published in 1847, and Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, first published in 1966. The Madness of Foucault The Madness of Foucault Ljungdalh, Anders Kruse 2008-05-01 00:00:00 This article offers a reading of Michel Foucaultâ s literary activities up until the mid-70s, with regard to the concept of madness. Madness’ (Derrida 1978, pp. In the early years of Foucault’s analysis, the mad were kept in “mad houses” or sent away on ships so that society would not be exposed or threatened by these individuals. 1 Foucault is a relativist concerning mental illnesses; our medicalized understanding of them is a social invention, … This essay gives reference to Michel Foucault and his work with madness and confinement in Madness and Civilisation. Madness was seen as a plague that had to be concealed from society. 31-63), which also includes a reference to the above-mentioned passage from Kierkegaard, he provides a detailed reading of Foucault’s History of Madness, published in 1961 (Foucault 2006). Michel Foucault was one of the most famous thinkers of the late 20th century, achieving celebrity-like status before his death. While Foucault leaves off his history with the nineteenth century, with only a nod toward Freud and company, one suspects that he would likely wish us to consider the history of this concept of “madness” and suspect that we, too, are bewitched by our own language, seduced by our metaphors, and will be subject to the scrutiny and dismay of our descendents. revealing how dominant power structures maintain their superiority over the margins through the creation of particular discourses.
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