This is a unification of Michel Foucault's thought as a systematic epistemological project. Privitera shows that the method and unity of Foucault's writings can only be seen by examining their origins in the work of Bachelard and Canguilhem.
Walter Privitera is Professor of Sociology at the University of Calabria, Italy.
In this original reading, Privitera argues for a continuity in Foucault's work best seen when various themes and methodological strategies in his writings are traced back to the influence of Gaston Bachelard. The distinct stages in Foucault's development--from archaeology to genealogy and, finally, to the themes of subjectivization and normalization--can be viewed as different attempts to work out within the context of the human sciences insights and problems contained in Bachelard's constructivist philosophy of science. Moreover, by relating them to Bachelard's notions of philosophy and the creative spirit, Privitera is able to place in a new perspective the charge that Foucault's "anti-science" and "anti-humanism" undermine the possibility of critique. The result is a systematic, but not uncritical, interpretation of Foucault's entire corpus--including his treatment of power--in which both theory construction and emancipatory critique are primarily perceived as "problems of style."
"This is an insightful work; more important though is the author's sympathy for Foucault's project(s). The author is a subtle thinker but never loses sight of the larger epistemological issues in question. I think he has done a very commendable job of explaining the details and nuances within Foucault's work without losing himself in the process." -- Thomas Huhn, Wabash College