Keywords: power, psychiatry, poststructuralism, madness, mental illness, social medicine, power relations.


The article demonstrates a retrospective analysis of the problem of the formation of the concept of power in the scientific activity of the French philosopher Michel Foucault. The transformational socio-political processes of the postmodern era require a radical rethinking of classical theories and concepts. Foucault proposes to look at historical structures and social phenomena in a new way, to modernize them away from superficial explanations and primitive interpretations revealing hidden and less obvious political mechanisms and their functioning. The problems of the 20th century draw the thinker's attention to a deep rethinking of power and strongly recommends abandoning classical canons in order to avoid social problems in the future. M. Foucault's post-structuralist concept of power proves that the variety of types of power generates not only reality and objects of knowledge, but also the «rituals» of their understanding. Contemporaries point out that the philosopher's writings lack a logical process of understanding a problem, but this is why he attracts not only scientists. Foucault's cognitive process is dynamic and discursive. Having associative thinking, the thinker engaged in a pure search, free from any biased attitude. M. Foucault suggests considering power relations in the broadest context, which includes the following power positions: men to women, parents to children, psychiatrists to mentally ill patients, doctors to patients, and authorities to people's lifestyles. However, the philosopher's most interesting explanation of power is medical power, particularly power in psychiatry. M. Foucault interprets power and knowledge in classical psychiatry, the problems of psychiatry of the 20th century and explains the meaning of mental illnesses from the patient's point of view. While studying at the «Ecole Normale» school, where a unique atmosphere reigned, despite his erudition and organizational skills as a leader, M. Foucault began to experience psychological disorders. This is what provoked the future thinker to investigate the power relations between the psychiatrist and the patient. This paper also examines the philosophical paradigm of the formation of psychiatry and the phenomenon of mental illness. Foucault understands mental disorders as alienation from reality, as a desire to exist in a hostile world. Madness, or alienation in the deep sense of the word, becomes the main problem of anthropology.


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How to Cite
ZINCHENKO, N. (2024). THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN «POLITICAL POWER» AND «PSYCHIATRIC POWER» IN THE WORKS OF MICHEL FOUCAULT. Dnipro Academy of Continuing Education Herald. Series: Philosophy, Pedagogy, 2(2), 11-14.
Dnipro Academy of Continuing Education Herald. Series: Philosophy, Pedagogy