Foucault’s Anti-humanist Historiography

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This study introduces anti-humanism as the pivotal element in Foucault’s work, and reads his work from an Althusserian, structural Marxist perspective.


“Cronin offers a new and insightful interpretation of Foucault’s texts that clarifies the political origins and significance of his thought. Cronin’s analysis is an important piece of exegetical and interpretive scholarship. It gives readers who are new to the Foucault corpus a clear and accessible account of the structure and evolution of his highly original, but frequently arcane, analysis of the nature of knowledge and its relations to the institutions of contemporary society, the machinations of modern power, and the formation of moral and social subjects. . . . Cronin offers readers and scholars already familiar with Foucault’s texts a new interpretive framework in which to read them. . . . While many anglophone scholars appropriate Foucault’s ideas in a way that reinforces, or at least does not threaten, the anti-Marxist ethos of the postmodern academy and culture, Cronin not only explores the close intellectual affinities between Foucault and the controversial figure of Althusser; he makes them the defining features of Foucault’s thought. This is a work of sound scholarship and interpretive courage, which should have a significant impact on the community of readers and scholars interested in Foucault, but especially on those who have a reflexive awareness of the links between truth and power in that community.” – John G. McEvoy

Table of Contents

Table of contents (main headings):
Introduction: Foucault’s Elimination of the Subject from the Field of History
1. Nietzsche’s Critique of the Subject and the Critical Function of Genealogy
2. Antihumanism and Althusser’s Structural Marxism
3. Power and the Subject: Reading the Althusserian Axis of Foucault’s Genealogical Antihumanism
4. Antihumanism and the History of Psychopathology
5. Antihumanism and the Death of Man
6. Foucault’s Alternative Historiography: Antihumanism and the Archeological Method;
7. Genealogy and the Analysis of Power
8. The Antihumanist Method and the Analysis of Modern society
9. Challenges to the Critical Aspects of Foucault’s Writings
Bibliography; Index

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