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Homo Sexualis

Michael Ignatieff, 4 March 1982

Sex, Politics and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality since 1800 
by Jeffrey Weeks.
Longman, 306 pp., £11, October 1981, 0 582 48333 6
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Sexual Preference: Its Development in Men and Women 
by Alan Bell, Martin Weinberg and Sue Kiefer Hammersmith.
Indiana, 242 pp., £9, October 1981, 9780253166739
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Pornography and Silence 
by Susan Griffin.
Women’s Press, 277 pp., £4.75, October 1981, 0 7043 3877 7
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The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1 
by Michel Foucault, translated by Robert Hurley.
Penguin, 176 pp., £2.25, May 1981, 0 14 022299 5
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... site in which the truth of ourselves is to be found’? These are questions which Michel Foucault placed on the agenda; and Weeks is one of the first social historians to attempt something more substantial and empirical than adulatory paraphrase of the master. There is a firm critique of the latent functionalism in ...

‘Damn right,’ I said

Eliot Weinberger: Bush Meets Foucault, 6 January 2011

Decision Points 
by George W. Bush.
Virgin, 497 pp., £25, November 2010, 978 0 7535 3966 8
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... Yale, branding the asses of pledges to the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity with a hot coathanger. Michel Foucault was at the Societé française de philosophie, considering the question, ‘What is an author?’ The two, needless to say, never met. Foucault may have visited Texas on one of his lecture tours, but ...

Episteme, My Arse

Christopher Tayler: Laurent Binet, 15 June 2017

The Seventh Function of Language 
by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor.
Harvill Secker, 390 pp., £16.99, May 2017, 978 1 910701 58 4
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... at a lunch hosted by Edgar Faure, the president of the National Assembly, at the Hôtel de Lassay. Michel Foucault had turned down Faure’s invitation as a protest against Giscard’s failure to put an end to the death penalty, and the left-wing figures who went anyway were later subjected, Barthes’s biographer Louis-Jean Calvet reports, to sarcastic ...
Structuralism and Since: From Lévi-Strauss to Derrida 
edited by John Sturrock.
Oxford, 190 pp., £5.50, January 1980, 0 19 215839 2
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... in the early Sixties, through its development and extensions in the work of Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan and Jacques Derrida, to its present position, which is known either as ‘post-structuralism’ or simply as ‘deconstruction’. It is significant that it should bear the date 1979, though, for it is very much a book which ...

A loaf here, a fish there

Roy Porter, 15 November 1984

Science and Medicine in France: The Emergence of Experimental Physiology 1790-1855 
by John Lesch.
Harvard, 276 pp., £20, September 1984, 0 674 79400 1
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Georges Cuvier: Vocation, Science and Authority in Post-Revolutionary France 
by Dorinda Outram.
Manchester, 299 pp., £25, October 1984, 0 7190 1077 2
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... Not the least of the debts we owe to the late Michel Foucault is that he directed our attention to the revolutions which transformed the life sciences around the dawn of the 19th century. On the one hand, traditional discourse about animals and plants, centred on such criteria as visible character and structure and geared to classification within the Great Chain of Being, was replaced by a science of form and organisation, concentrating on function and the internal subordination of parts, and directed to the problem of life itself ...

Something to Steer by

Richard Rorty, 20 June 1996

John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism 
by Alan Ryan.
Norton, 414 pp., $30, May 1995, 0 393 03773 8
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... of themselves as modern, prided themselves on lacking a sense of Sin. Nowadays people who read Michel Foucault, and who use the term ‘Post Modern’ with a straight face, pride themselves on not believing in Truth. Strachey and Foucault, the Moderns and the Post-Moderns, share a distaste for romance, for utopian ...

I blame Foucault

Jenny Diski: Bush’s Women, 22 September 2005

Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species 
by Laura Flanders.
Verso, 342 pp., £10, July 2005, 1 84467 530 0
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... and reality’, and against ‘Truth’ itself, by something Flanders describes as I, Pierre by Michel Foucault (this must be I, Pierre Rivière, Having Slaughtered My Mother, My Sister, and My Brother: A Case of Parricide in the 19th Century, Rivière’s autobiography, composed in prison, published in 1975 together with a collection of essays on ...

What’s the problem with critical art?

Hal Foster: Rancière’s Aesthetics, 10 October 2013

Aisthesis: Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of Art 
by Jacques Rancière, translated by Zakir Paul.
Verso, 272 pp., £20, June 2013, 978 1 78168 089 6
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... the charismatic thinkers of postwar France directed at each other – Lévi-Strauss v. Sartre, Foucault v. Derrida, Deleuze and Guattari v. Lacan, to pick out just a few – the theoretical stakes were high, and the political implications seemed momentous. One could talk, seriously, of the ‘politics of theory’, and many of us distant onlookers did ...

Poland and the New France

Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, 4 March 1982

... tainted by its compromise with the Stalinists, has never attracted even such radical thinkers as Michel Foucault or Pierre Bourdieu, who are consistent in their democratic views. There was a similar reaction from many journalists, who, despite their left-wing opinions, were profoundly hostile to the PCF: they included those working for the daily ...

Fathomless Strangeness of the Ordinary

Stephen Greenblatt: Disenchantment, 7 January 1999

Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150-1750 
by Lorraine Daston and Katharine Park.
Zone, 511 pp., £19.95, June 1998, 0 942299 90 6
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... of the encyclopedia – perhaps the most famous passage in his work, and famously celebrated by Michel Foucault in The Order of Things – we are told that animals are classified as follows: ‘(a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present ...

Champion of Words

John Sturrock, 15 October 1987

Death and the Labyrinth: The World of Raymond Roussel 
by Michel Foucault, translated by Charles Ruas.
Athlone, 186 pp., £29.50, April 1987, 0 485 11336 8
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Raymond Roussel: Life, Death and Works. Essays and stories by various hands 
Atlas, 157 pp., £5.50, September 1987, 0 947757 14 7Show More
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... Michel Foucault, for once and for now, may stand aside: who is the Raymond Roussel about whom he wrote this, his one real essay into literature? Roussel was a writer, of sorts, of the early 20th century; a man both glamorously rich and mentally odd. His money he spent to the hilt in the furtherance of his oddness, for Roussel laboured to write the most uncommercial works and then paid to have them published ...

Living Things

Ian Hacking, 21 February 1991

Cognitive Foundations of Natural History: Towards an Anthropology of Science 
by Scott Atran.
Cambridge, 360 pp., £35, August 1990, 0 521 37293 3
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... whereby plants were the signs of minerals which were the signs of stars (François Jacob, Michel Foucault). The semantics of natural kind terms is such that, when we speak of living things, we are referring, whether we know it or not, to the fundamental kinds at which science aims (Saul Kripke and, sometimes, Hilary Putnam). We have an obligation ...

An Exploration of Geography

W.R. Mead, 18 March 1982

Shell Guide to Reading the Landscape 
by Richard Muir.
Joseph, 368 pp., £10.50, May 1981, 0 7181 1971 1
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The Environment in British Prehistory 
edited by Ian Simmons and Michael Tooley.
Duckworth, 334 pp., £7.95, March 1981, 9780715614419
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Geography, Ideology and Social Concern 
edited by D.R. Stoddart.
Blackwell, 250 pp., £12, May 1981, 0 631 12717 8
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... of Harvard’s Josiah Royce and from the life-work-language approach of the French philosopher Michel Foucault. It is noticeable that this is a book which treats geography as a unitary subject. In none of the instructive diagrams that are employed in it is there a reference either to human geography or to physical geography. Insofar as a dichotomy is ...

Short Cuts

Sadiah Qureshi: Black History, 22 November 2018

... say, German and French? Academics ask students to read Tacitus, Herodotus, Max Weber, Karl Marx, Michel Foucault, Antonio Gramsci, Jacques Derrida and, more rarely, Judith Butler. But how many are also required to read Audre Lorde, Stuart Hall, Frantz Fanon, Jasbir Puar, Sara Ahmed, Kim TallBear or Kimberlé Crenshaw? What if these writers were required ...

On Complaining

Elif Batuman: How to Stay Sane, 20 November 2008

Philosophy in Turbulent Times: Canguilhem, Sartre, Foucault, Althusser, Deleuze, Derrida 
by Elisabeth Roudinesco, translated by William McCuaig.
Columbia, 184 pp., £15.50, November 2008, 978 0 231 14300 4
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... Darwin, Galileo, or against? Are you partial to the United States? Wasn’t Heidegger a Nazi? Was Michel Foucault the precursor of Bin Laden, [and] Gilles Deleuze a drug addict … ? Was Napoleon really so different from Hitler? Do these questions strike you as ‘the absolute nadir of contemporary interrogation’? Do they articulate your sense of the ...

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