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The two faces of Michel Foucault

Heywood, Paolo

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James Laidlaw


This chapter examines the extensive influence of the thought of Michel Foucault on the development of the anthropology of ethics. In doing so it treats a classic question that has preoccupied biographers of Foucault and chroniclers of his philosophy, as well as both advocates and critics of the anthropology of ethics, namely the nature of the relationship between power and freedom. Siding with those who have seen more continuity than rupture in the shifts of emphasis within Foucault’s oeuvre, it argues that we should as far as possible seek to understand the different stages of Foucault’s work as complementary, rather than contradictory: as providing us with different viewpoints from which to view a context or question, rather than mutually exclusive descriptions.


Heywood, P. (2023). The two faces of Michel Foucault. In J. Laidlaw (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook for the Anthropology of Ethics (130-154). Cambridge University Press.

Online Publication Date May 11, 2023
Publication Date Mar 11, 2023
Deposit Date Oct 18, 2022
Publicly Available Date Sep 12, 2023
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Pages 130-154
Series Title Cambridge Handbooks in Anthropology
Book Title The Cambridge Handbook for the Anthropology of Ethics
Public URL


Accepted Book Chapter (331 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This material has been published in The Cambridge Handbook for the Anthropology of Ethics edited by James Laidlaw. This version is free to view and download for personal use only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © Cambridge University Press.

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