Foucault is mostly remembered for his theory of power and his analysis of disciplinary society. His studies cover a wide range of disciplines and topics. They could be broadly divided into genealogical histories (of the clinic, the human sciences, madness, the penal system, biopolitics and sexuality) and methodological reflections (on structuralism, archaeology, heterotopia, the writing of history). Foucault places a special emphasis on the institutional expression of knowledge production. Critics of his work tend to dismiss it as a form of neo-positivist conservativism, a post-modern attack on Enlightenment Reason and an anarcho-identity politics of quietism. Others have used his insights into the relation between power and knowledge to develop sociological analyses of the workings of state institutions in disciplinary societies. The Anglo-American reception of Foucault's work, especially of his history of sexuality, has given strength to a form of identity politics and fulfilled the need for a theoretical justification for dandyism-like forms of the cult of the self. In his latest essay called The Subject and Power, Foucault identifies three axes as being constitutive of the subject: knowledge, power and ethics. In his oeuvre he claims to have followed them respectively with the main underlying concern for the 'subject'. Are these issues addressed at the level of epistemology or ontology? A historicised ontology of the present (which he opposes to an analytics of truth) redefines critique as the modernist attitude of self-reflexivity the content of which can only be resuscitated at the expense of the modernist ethos.

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