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Michel Foucault
1926 - 1984

French philosopher and historian, professor at the College de France, author of Madness and Civilization (1961), The Order of Things (1966), and other works. A high priest of relativism and deconstructionism, Foucault became popular particularly in the feminist and education worlds by questioning history (it's an unreliable record influenced by its writers' social preoccupations), institutional man (we're all just trying to control each other) and truth (it's just a viewpoint distorted by the perspective of its advocates).

Historically, the process by which the bourgeoisie became in the course of the eighteenth century the politically dominant class was masked by the establishment of an explicit, coded and formally egalitarian framework made possible by the organisation of a parliamentary, representative regime. But the development and generalisation of disciplinary mechanisms constituted the other dark side of these processes. The general juridical form that guaranteed a system of rights that were egalitarian in principle, was supported by these tiny, everyday physical mechanisms, by all those systems of micro-power that are essentially non-egalitarian and asymmetrical that we call the disciplines.

1975 - from Discipline and Punish