Power-knowledge - WikipediaLook Inside. Nov 12, ISBN Michel Foucault has become famous for a series of books that have permanently altered our understanding of many institutions of Western society. He analyzed mental institutions in the remarkable Madness and Civilization; hospitals in The Birth of the Clinic; prisons in Discipline and Punish; and schools and families in The History of Sexuality. But the general reader as well as the specialist is apt to miss the consistent purposes that lay behind these difficult individual studies, thus losing sight of the broad social vision and political aims that unified them.
PHILOSOPHY - Michel Foucault
Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977
The relationship between power and knowledge has been always a central theme in the social sciences. According to Foucault's understanding of power, 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. Foucault incorporates this inevitable mutuality into his neologism power-knowledge, the most important part of which is the hyphen that links the two aspects of the integrated concept together and alludes to their inherent inextricability. It is helpful noting that Foucault has a textual understanding of both power and knowledge. Both power and knowledge are to be seen as de-centralised, relativistic, ubiquitous, and unstable dynamic systemic phenomena. Thus Foucault's concept of power draws on micro-relations without falling into reductionism because it does not neglect, but emphasizes, the systemic or structural aspect of the phenomenon. However, he does not actually define knowledge.