Control, power normality
Foucault’s lectures at the Collège de France 1973-1974
Control, power and normality are three important concepts in Michel Foucault’s (1926-1984) lectures on modern psychiatry, in Le pouvoir psychiatrique (1973-1974). The concepts disturb his thoughts, and effect who he is, what he has done, and what kind of psychiatric foundation he selects. In my doctoral thesis, I will scrutinize his concepts and enquire as to the kinds of ideological and historical perspectives underlying them. What kind of tapering reductions or restrictive interpretations of the original meaning have occurred regarding their origins, and in contrast to conventional and common belief? I will also examine what kind of similarities and differences there are between the concepts in his lectures and the concepts in his written works. We may be disposed to misunderstand his texts if we not understand the broader meaning, the context, of his underpinning concepts.
Foucault’s lectures and texts have not emerged from nothingness; they do not live isolated and alone. Text creates its meaning in connections with other texts, and in meeting with context. Methodically, I will examine his work in two different ways: through intertextuality, i.e., the shaping of texts' meanings between different texts; and through intratextuality, the text-elements that involve internal relations within a single “text”. In this case I will look at his cross references, repetitions, and diverse other components, in and between his lectures in Le pouvoir psychiatrique.. By examining his concepts in this way, I hope to contribute to a new understanding of Michel Foucault’s multi-faceted thinking about modern psychiatry.