Study Guide

Michel Foucault Biography

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Basic Information


Paul-Michel Foucault. Rhymes with "you know." Kind of.


Intellectual Love Child of Nietzsche
The Mad Hatter
The Mentalist
The Reluctant Author
Transdiscursive Man (only used by my closest friends)
Big Lover
Mean kids at school nick-named Polichnello (which means punch), so I ditched Paul-Michel and just went with Michel
Fuchs (meaning "fox"), because I have such a sharp tongue and razor-like intellect


Male. But BEWARE of all constructs—"male" is just a compilation of oppressive ideas society enforces about what is male and manliness. Then they take those idea and use them to control your sexuality and sexual pleasure. Just sayin'.

Home town

Born in small town of Poitiers in west-central France, but bailed for Paris at the earliest possible opportunity (peace!) and became a student at the Lycée Henry-IV, a school for smarty pants, where I studied history and philosophy.

Work & Education


As if this kind of big-league thinking and writing isn't a job! Well, I had "real" jobs, too. In fact I had many: I was a psychiatric intern, a cultural diplomat, and a lecturer (at universities in West Germany, Clermont-Ferrand, Tunisia, Vincennes, and Paris).

When I wasn't teaching, I was one of those types who spent long days at the library, researching, writing, and revolutionizing the entire direction of human thought. Ka-chow!


My motto? "Can't stop, won't stop."

Not to brag, but I attended Lycée Henry-IV while most children were still in pull-ups. I kicked bootie in French, Greek, Latin, and history, but, man, I just couldn't deal with the whole math thing, often asking myself the eternal question, "When am I going to use this?" I then went to a long inventory of schools, where I aced philosophy, history, and literature. (To think—my dad thought I should be a surgeon!)

Naturally, I found myself at the elite École Normale Supérieure, where only the shining stars of academia go. My doctoral thesis was an intense read titled Madness and Insanity: History of Madness in the Classical Age. (It was approximately a gagillion pages long.) Oh—I then hammered out a second thesis dedicated to the German philosopher Immanuel Kant's 1798 work, Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View.


Political views

I joined the French Communist Party, but could never get motivated to take to the streets over the issues it was concerned with. Honestly, I didn't really give a hoot about the class struggle. There, I said it.

Besides, those communists can really hate on homosexuals and Jews, and I'm not down with that at all. I ended up bailing on those crazy communists a mere three years after I got mixed up with them.

Religious views

Just because I was an altar boy doesn't mean I took all that Roman Catholic stuff seriously. I had plenty of other things to revolt against; and, besides, no one in my family cared that much about religion so it was no biggie there.

Activities & Interests


Writing dissertations and books—just writing! writing! writing!
Working like a dog
Classical music
Pleasures of the flesh
My radical American admirers
Samuel Beckett 
Changing my mind
Keeping my readers on their toes
Avoiding interviewers' questions and abusing my critics
Looking dapper
Visiting American prisons and get worked up about their nasty food, violence, poor treatment of prisoners… you get the picture
Brooding on death, torture, and pain
Questing authority
Sadomasochistic sex


Anything too science-y
Abuse of human rights (especially in Eastern Europe)
Tyrannical regimes
The idea of "normal"


California drug culture
Anarchist politics
Popular justice (the working class should revenge itself on class enemies vigilante style)
Iranian Revolution
Gay rights


Poststructuralists Anonymous
Postmodernists Anonymous
Nietzsche or Bust
Lovers of Violence for Peace
The Suicidalists
Gay Students for Hegel
Heavy Drugs, Big Time Hugs
Are you Mad? A Mental Illness Advocacy Group
Muslims for Political Spirituality

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