Such an antifoundationalist history, or genealogy, Foucault believes, will serve an emancipatory purpose; it will liberate local knowledge and local histories from the oblivion to which...
The principal book of this second period is , 1977).
In that work, “genealogy,” as adapted from philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, refers to an investigative method that assumes that “truth,” wherever it appears, is always relative to an order of power.
With the rise of democratic states and the decentralization of political authority, punishment ceases to be conceived of as vengeance and is, instead, promoted as reform.
Although it is often thought that the movement for prison reform arose only after certain abuses had become apparent, Foucault argues that the discourse of reform was apparent from the very inception of the modern prison.
The status of the term “knowledge” has been profoundly altered.
The privilege once bestowed upon universal, hierarchical, and essentialist knowledge claims is now disrupted by what Foucault calls an irruption of “subjugated knowledges.” Subjugated knowledge is knowledge under the signs of the repressed, the marginal, the fragmented, and above all, the local.
Traditional criminal punishment was, he notes in chapter 2 (“Prison Talk”), an exercise of power from above; every form of criminality was, in essence, a threat to the sovereign.
Thus punishment was conceived as exemplary vengeance.
The first, which begins in the late 1950s and continues roughly until the late 1960s, may be called the “archaeological” period—a term that Foucault himself used to characterize his early methodology. In this work, Foucault is concerned primarily with the investigation of communities of discourse and the way in which particular languages or disciplinary codes define those communities.
This early phase in his work is heavily influenced by structuralism, especially by the structuralist emphasis upon modes of analysis.