Michel Foucault: Power and Identity

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Introduction Michel Foucault and Erving Goffman’s work was centralised around there two different concepts of how your identity is formed through the process of power and expert knowledge. This Essay will discuss the ideas of Michel Foucault who was a French Social Theorist. His theories addressed the relationship between power and knowledge and how both of these are used as a form of social control through society. The essay will look at Foucault’s work in The Body and Sexuality, Madness and Civilisation and Discipline and Punish which displays how he conceptualised Power and identity on a Marxist and macro basis of study. The Essay will also address the Ideas of Erving Goffman who was A Canadian Born Sociologist who’s key study was what he termed as interactional order, that is how the functions of ritual and order of every individual member of society, in everyday life, interact to form social order. He suggested the metaphor of the stage, where people play roles in specific everyday situations using trust and tact, the control of bodily gestures, face and gaze and the use of language to set the parameters of their social interactions. People individually participate in these rules of conduct to produce social order Looking at Goffmans work of the Presentation of One Self in Everyday life, Stigma and Asylums t Goffman argues that it is these interactions, or the interactional order that constructs society. This Essay looks to give an Insight of how Foucault and Goffman Compare and contrast in their theories to give an understanding of how the exertion of power and expert knowledge constructs individuals Identities. Michel Foucault’s Theory: Michel Foucault argues a number of points in relation to power and offers definitions ... ... middle of paper ... ... (2007). Erving Goffman as a Systematic Social Theorist. In:Social Theory and Modern Sociology. 5th ed. Cambridge: Polity Press. p109. Goffman, E (1959). Presentation of Self In Everyday Life. New York: Double Anchor. p1. Goffman, E. (1990). Information Control and Personal Identity. In:Stigma. London: Penguin. p.60-61. Goffman, E (1991). Asylums- Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and other Inmates. London: Penguin. p4. Haralambos, M and Holborn, M (2000). Sociology Themes and Perspectives. 5th ed. London: HarperCollins Publisher Limited. p635-639. Macionis, J and Plummer, K (2005). Sociology A global Introduction. 3rd ed. Essex: Pearson Education Limited. p.436. Staples, A (2009). Inderstanding Sociology. Cambridge: Polity Press. p29. Stones, R. (2008). Erving Goffman. In: Williams, R Key Sociological Thinkers. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 184-196.
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