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In Conversation with Mark Olssen: On Foucault with Marx and Hegel

Raaper, R.; Olssen, M.

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M. Olssen


It is challenging to define who Michel Foucault was, whether he was a theorist, a philosopher, a historian, or a critic. In many of his books, and essays, Foucault denied being a philosopher or a theorist, nor did he want to be called a writer or a prophet. He described himself as an experimenter by saying that his work simply consists of ‘philosophical fragments put to work in a historical field of problems’. Like Ball [2013. Foucault, power, and education. New York: Routledge, p. 2], we believe that Foucault tried hard not to be ‘a something’, opening up opportunities to develop and practise theory. Emeritus Professor Mark Olssen has written widely on Foucault’s theoretical underpinnings and legacy. This conversation aims to revisit Olssen’s work, as well as Foucault’s own writings in order to engage with Foucault’s philosophical background and the methods he developed. By exploring Foucault’s theoretical and methodological approaches, the conversation situates his work within broader traditions of social theory, particularly within the works of Marx and Hegel. Our conversation starts by discussing Foucault’s relationship with Marx and Hegel and moves towards his approach to history and his wider contribution to poststructuralist school of thought.


Raaper, R., & Olssen, M. (2017). In Conversation with Mark Olssen: On Foucault with Marx and Hegel. Open review of educational research, 4(1), 96-117.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 22, 2017
Online Publication Date Jun 18, 2017
Publication Date Jun 18, 2017
Deposit Date Jun 13, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jun 14, 2017
Journal Open review of educational research
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Issue 1
Pages 96-117


Accepted Journal Article (377 Kb)

Copyright Statement
© 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (
licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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