WTMC Spring PhD Workshop: Foucault’s Legacy

From 13-15 April 2016, at Soeterbeeck, NL-Ravenstein


Michel Foucault’s work has deeply penetrated the whereabouts of STS-research.
When we study modern medicine as forms of ‘biopower’, medical and other technologies as ‘technologies of the self’; when we conceptualize and study things as emergent and produced rather than given; when we loath linearity and teleology; when we conceptualize strategies and technologies of surveillance and discipline, we are engaging with Foucault’s legacy – whether we do so deliberately or unknowingly.

Foucault’s notions of power, politics and knowledge are radically different than ‘dictionary’ definitions of the concepts. His entire oeuvre, in which he studied subjects such as the clinic, surveillance, sexuality, discipline, punishment and governmentality, can be understood as an ever further refinement of these concepts. Foucault’s work comes in almost naturally whenever we study the productive intersections of knowledge, technology, power, and human beings. In this workshop, we study Foucault’s work, as well as how these central notions have become part of the air STS-researchers breathe.

We will inquire into Foucault’s legacy in several ways: through lectures, readings, and activities. Topics covered include social life, the human body and illness/handicap, technologies (medical and others), and politics. We will also delve into the concept and (anti-)method of ‘genealogy’: “a form of history which can account for the constitution of knowledges, discourses, domains of objects, etc., without having to make reference to a subject which is either transcendental in relation to the field of events or runs in its empty sameness throughout the course of events.” (M. Foucault (1980), Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977, New York, p. 117).

The aim of the workshop is to become able to more precisely articulate Foucault’s presence in our field and our own work.

Confirmed speakers include Gerard de Vries, Jonna Brenninkmeijer, Steven Dorrestijn, Annemarie Mol (University of Amsterdam) and Pieter Verstraete (University of Leuven)


The registration form for this workshop is available online. Please register by 10 February!

The preparation work for this event is estimated at about 40 hours of study. Completion of this workshop is granted with 3 ECTS.
Costs for WTMC members: meals 10 EUR /day
Costs for everyone else: 695 EUR, including fee, accommodation and meals

If you have any questions related to this workshop, please feel free to contact Bernike Pasveer: [email protected] for content-related issues or Marjatta Kemppainen: [email protected] for practical things.