Foucault across the disciplines: introductory notes on contingency in critical inquiry

History of the Human Sciences 24 (4):1-12 (2011)
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Abstract

Foucault is one of the most widely cited thinkers across social sciences and humanities disciplines today. Foucault’s appeal, and ongoing value, across the disciplines has much to do with the power of his thought and his method to help us see the contingency of practices we take to be inevitable. It is argued in this introductory article that Foucault’s emphasis on contingency is as misunderstood as it is influential. I distinguish two senses of contingency in Foucault. A first sense, widely acknowledged, concerns Foucault’s facility at showing that a taken-for-natural practice is in fact contingently produced. A second sense, widely neglected, concerns the facility of Foucauldian methods for grasping how a given practice was contingently produced. The second sense of contingency opens up possibilities for practical transformation that the former sense of contingency largely leaves to the side

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Colin Koopman
University of Oregon

References found in this work

The taming of chance.Ian Hacking - 1990 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
The Post-Modern Condition: A Report on Knowledge.J. F. Lyotard - 1985 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 63:520.
The History of Sexuality: The Care of the Self.Michel Foucault - 1978 - Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

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