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The Reception of Foucault by Historians

Author(s): Allan Megill


Source: Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 48, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1987), pp. 117-141
Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press
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THE RECEPTION OF FOUCAULT BY HISTORIANS*

BY ALLAN MEGILL

The receptionof Foucaultby historiansis a "problem"in a way that


the receptionof EmmanuelLe Roy Ladurie,LawrenceStone, or even
E. P. Thompsonis not, for a gulf separateshim from what I shall call
"disciplinaryhistory." Writingshortlybeforehis death, Arlette Farge,
a sometimecollaborator,shrewdlynoted the "espaceblanc" between
Foucaultand (disciplinary)historians.2 His attitudetowardthe discipline
was one of warinessmixed with contempt. "I am not a professional
historian;nobodyis perfect,"he once remarked.3 In the Introductionto
the second volume of his Histoirede la sexuality,publishedjust before
his death, he tells us that his worksare studiesof historybut that he is
not a historian.4In short he himselfunderlinedhis differencefrom dis-
ciplinaryhistory,and rightlyso, for he stands apartfrom the generally
unquestionedconceptualand methodologicalassumptionsthat defineits
boundaries.In Foucault, as in his intellectualpredecessors,Nietzsche
and laterHeidegger,5thereis a tendencytowardthe solitary,towardthe
radicallyindividual,that ill accordswith the collective enterpriseof a
discipline.
In the presentpaperI renounceanyclaimto conveythe innerdynamic
of Foucault'swork.Instead,I use the receptionof his workas a surrogate
for the work itself. Throughthis mediumwe shall gain some sense of
Foucault'splace within the contemporarylandscape.We shall discern
the size and shape of the edifice, though what is inside it will remain
largelyhidden.And we shallsee somethingof the discipline'splacewithin
that landscapeas well.
* I presented earlier versions of this
paper in the University of Iowa Faculty Rhetoric
Seminar and at the December 1985 American Historical Association Annual Meeting.
I thank the many persons who commented on these drafts or who responded to my
questions. Douglas Parks did much of the counting. I benefited from research papers by
Daniel Power and Douglas Bruce.
For the concept of a discipline, I depend on the suggestive work of Stephen Toulmin,
Human Understanding:The Collective Use and Evolution of Concepts(Princeton, 1972),
especially 133-44.
2 Arlette Farge, "Face a l'histoire," Magazine litteraire, no. 207 (May 1984), 42. See

Arlette Farge and Michel Foucault (eds.), Le desordredes families: Lettres de cachet des
Archives de la Bastille au XVIIIe siecle (Paris, 1982).
3 In Ira Allen
Chapel, University of Vermont, October 27, 1982.
4 Michel Foucault, Histoire de la sexualite, II,
L'Usage des plaisirs (Paris, 1984), 15.
5 See Allan Megill, Prophets of Extremity: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida

(Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1985).

117

Copyright 1987 by JOURNALOF THE HISTORYOF IDEAS, INC.

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118 ALLAN MEGILL

I. The reception of Foucault by historians is a subset of his reception


generally. It would be of little value to consider in isolation his reception
by historians, for the resonances of his work have been felt far more
forcefully outside the discipline than within it. Useful for studying these
wider resonances are the well-known Social Sciences Citation Index and
Arts and Humanities Citation Index; indispensable is Michael Clark's
Michel Foucault. An Annotated Bibliography, a classified and annotated
list of almost everything by or about Foucault published in English and
French through 1981, and much in other western European languages
as well.6
With their wide coverage, the SSCI and A&HCI provide a measure
of the level of Foucault's fame. Admittedly, it is one thing to know that
a writer has been cited and quite another to determine the significance
of this citing activity. Authors cite previous work for a variety of motives.
For example, a work may be widely discussed because it expounds in an
especially striking way a position that the citing scholar thinks is wrong.7
Heavy citing of a writer may thus indicate the writer's notoriety, rather
than integration into a discipline or disciplines. Still, the results shown
in Figure 1 (p. 135) are suggestive. In general, they confirm what we
would have expected. They show a more or less steady rise in Foucault's
fame from the late sixties onward. Currently, he is cited hundreds of
times a year in the publications indexed in the SSCI and A&HCI.
In the absence of comparisons to other authors, a count of citations
to an author's work is largely meaningless. Fortunately, Eugene Garfield
and his collaborators have gathered data that make such comparisons
possible, thus allowing us to situate Foucault on a larger map. Garfield
has published a list, based on 1977-78 data, of the 100 authors most cited
in the journals indexed in the A&HCI. The list is now somewhat out of
date, but for the moment more recent data are not available.8Garfield
lists his 100 authors by date of birth. If we arbitrarily make a break
between Nietzsche (b. 1844) and Freud (b. 1856), consigning Nietzsche
to the nineteenth century and Freud to the twentieth, 60 "twentieth-
century" authors remain. As Table 1 shows, Foucault is the twenty-
6
Social Sciences Citation Index (Philadelphia, 1966-); Arts and Humanities Citation
Index (Philadelphia, 1976-); Michael Clark (ed.), Michel Foucault, An Annotated Bibli-
ography: Tool Kit for a New Age (New York, 1983).
7 There is a small but growing literature on citer-motivation, to which Terrence A.

Brooks, "PrivateActs and Public Objects:An Investigation of Citer Motivations," Journal


of the American Society for Information Science, 36 (1985), 223-29 provides convenient
access. Eugene Garfield, "High Impact Science and the Case of Arthur Jensen," Current
Contents:Social and BehavioralSciences (October 9, 1978), 5-15, discusses an article that
became famous mainly because of its failings.
8 Eugene Garfield, "Is Information Retrieval in the Arts and Humanities Inherently

Different from that in Science? The Effect that ISI's Citation Index for the Arts and
Humanities is Expected to have on Future Scholarship," Library Quarterly, 50 (1980),
634-36; an updated list now in Current Contents (Dec. 1, 1986).

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RECEPTION OF FOUCAULT 119

fourth most heavily cited. This is impressive for an author so recent. He


is the eighth-youngest writer to appear on the list; among those younger
than he, only Chomsky and Derrida are more cited.
Two characteristics of the list are relevant to our consideration of
Foucault. Firstly, many of its authors share a strong interest in language.9
As is well known, the literary and social-scientific analysis of language
is an important matrix of twentieth-century thought. Foucault's concern
with language (or "discourse") undoubtedly helps explain why his work
has resonated so widely. Secondly, the list includes not a single social or
political historian, though it is precisely these fields that constitute the
core of the discipline. An important reason for this absence, I suggest,
is that the discipline is hostile to the intellectual vigor and originality
that would make historians' work of interest to scholars in other disci-
plines. Historians in our century are rarely original thinkers. Twenty
years ago, Hayden White characterized history as "perhaps the conserv-
ative discipline par excellence," suggesting that it combines "late-nine-
teenth-century social science" (Freud, Weber, et al.) with "mid-
nineteenth-century art" (Scott, Thackeray, et al.).10There has been some
movement since White wrote these words: such historians as Carlo Ginz-
burg, Le Roy Ladurie, and Natalie Davis have profited from mid-twen-
tieth-century anthropology and even from mid-twentieth-century literary
criticism. On the quantitative side, there is now some use of mid-twen-
tieth-century statistics. But for the most part, the discipline does not
produce the insights and innovations that would make it interesting to
those outside it.
To be sure, it is possible and perhaps likely that historians' publication
patterns and citation conventions, which differ in various ways from
those in other fields, may have some effect on how frequently citations
to their work appear in the A&HCI. This is a problem worthy of inves-
tigation within the larger context of the reception of ideas generally; it
cannot be properly addressed within the narrow context of the reception
of Foucault. In any case, whatever the results of such an investigation,
it remains true that some historians are highly cited. Six appear on the
list: Erwin Panofsky, Ernst Gombrich, Frances Yates, Thomas S. Kuhn,
Mircea Eliade, and Foucault. These writers all happen to be on the
margins, even outside, the "generic" discipline of history. Panofsky was
a historian of art, as is Gombrich. Yates was an intellectual historian
with close connections to history of art. Kuhn and Eliade are historians
of science and religion respectively. Finally, Foucault characterized him-
self as professor of "the history and systems of thought"-that is, as

9 As Garfield points out, ibid., 636.


"oSee Hayden White, "The Burden of History," History and Theory, 5 (1966), 112,
127, repr. in White, Tropicsof Discourse:Essays in Cultural Criticism (Baltimore, 1978),
28, 43.

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120 ALLAN MEGILL

doing intellectual history in some sense. None is close to the socio-political


mainstream. None made his (her) academic home in a standard depart-
ment or institute of history; perhaps none could have.
A writer may occupy a marginal position in relation to some larger
discipline without thereby doing work of broad, interdisciplinaryinterest.
One thinks of certain highly specialized, "internal" types of art history
and history of science. But a striking feature of the six writers in question
is the extent to which they are not parochial. Panofsky and Yates were
perhaps closest to being "pure" historians, but their mastery of historical
detail was matched by an incredible breadth of interest and reference.
Gombrich is probably better known as a theorist of art and perception
than for his specifically historical contributions. Kuhn is a historian of
science, but his work is read mainly for its philosophical and method-
ological implications, disputed though they may be. Eliade is more widely
viewed as a philosopher or theorist of myth than as a historian. Finally,
characterizationsof Foucault have tended to waver ambivalently between
two designations, historian, or philosopher.11In short, if a historian is
to do work that will be widely seen as interesting and important, he or
she must become something more than a historian.
Besides giving a rough picture of the rise in Foucault's notoriety,
Figure 1 also shows that Foucault's work is much more interesting to
scholars in the arts and humanities than to those in the social sciences.
In 1984, for example, citations to Foucault in the SSCI data base came
to only 60% of those in the A&HCI data base. This understates the
difference, for in any given period the SSCI contains about twice as many
citations as does the A&HCI. Foucault does not figure among the 100
authors most cited (over the period 1969-1977 inclusive) by social sci-
entists.12A comparison of the 100 most-cited arts and humanities authors
with the 100 authors most cited in the social sciences shows two important
differences. Firstly, of the social science authors only one, Marx, is pre-
twentieth century, compared to 40 in the arts and humanities list. Sec-
ondly, whereas the arts and humanities authors tend for the most part
to be figures that any well-educated person will be aware of, many of
the top 100 social science authors are well known only inside their

" This wavering can be detected in articles and notices occasioned by his death. See
Le Monde, Le Figaro, L'Humanit6, Le Matin de Paris, the New York Times, the Los
Angeles Times, USA Today (June 26, 1984), and the London Times (June 27). See also
Time (July 9, 1984), 88. In a discussion with historians in 1978 Foucault himself declared:
"My books are not philosophical treatises, nor are they historical studies; at most, they
are philosophical fragments in historical workshops." "Table ronde du 20 mai 1978" in
Michelle Perrot (ed.), L 'impossibleprison: Recherchessur le systemepenitentiaire au XIXe
siecle (Paris, 1980), 41.
12 See Eugene Garfield, "The 100 Most-Cited SSCI Authors, 1969-1977: 1. How the

Names Were Selected," Current Contents:Social and Behavioral Sciences (September 18,
1978), 633-35.

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RECEPTION OF FOUCAULT 121

disciplines.'3 This suggests that the present-day social sciences are pe-
culiarly self-circumscribedin character. Such circumscription would nat-
urally tend to exclude a writer so unconstrained as Foucault.
It seems plausible to suggest that in the social sciences many authors
are highly cited because they make a contribution to disciplinary research
programs. On the other hand, in the arts and humanities many authors
would be highly cited because they present an original and provocative
world view. The fact that Marx and Freud-two iconoclasts and pro-
ducers of disconcerting insights-are highly cited in both the arts and
humanities and the social sciences may be a consequence of their ability
to do both. It might be argued that to be truly significant, a research
program must in some way connect with a broader world view. It is
clear that Foucault provides a world view. The extent to which his work
can contribute to the carrying forward of research programsis less certain.

Two of the classifications in Michael Clark's bibliography are useful


in giving us a somewhat more exact sense of the process of Foucault's
reception. His category of "essays and review articles" dealing with
Foucault (Figure 2) is illuminating because it excludes items in which
Foucault is discussed in an incidental way. It is reasonable to assume
that an author who publishes an essay on Foucault has a fairly high level
of interest in his work. Moreover, the number of essays and review articles
is sufficiently small that we can readily establish how many of their
authors are historians and can take into account their content. I shall
discuss historians' review articles on Foucault in part II. The second
useful classification is "reviews." The extent to which a book is reviewed
reflects the extent to which editors and reviewers think it important, and
we may assume that their opinions are indicative of the opinions of a
larger intellectual community.
Figure 3 plots the number of reviews that eight of Foucault's books
received. If we assume that number of reviews correlates more or less
directly with impact, these figures acquire a certain interest. Foucault's
most widely reviewed book was Surveiller et punir (1975), followed by
La Volont6de savoir (1976), Histoire de la folie (1961), and Les Mots et
les choses (1966), in that order. At first glance it seems surprising that
the collection of documents and essays that Foucault helped edit, Moi,
Pierre Riviere (1973), was more widely reviewed than Naissance de la
clinique (1963) or L'Archeologiedu savoir (1969), for the former work,
13
Uniform rank-ordering of social science authors is not very meaningful for many
reasons, but to suggest the incidence of name-recognition here are the 25 most cited, in
descending order: S. Freud, J. Piaget, K. Marx, T. Parsons, H. J. Eysenck, B. J. Winer,
A. Bandura, N. Chomsky, R. B. Cattell, S. Siegel, M. Friedman, B. F. Skinner, M.
Weber, E. Goffman, P. A. Samuelson, J. P. Guilford, C. E. Osgood, D. T. Campbell,
R. K. Merton, K. J. Arrow, J. S. Coleman, S. M. Lipset, L. Festinger, G. A. Miller, L.
J. Cronbach.

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122 ALLAN MEGILL

which studies the case of a nineteenth-century homicidal maniac, is in


some ways a slight effort. Finally, the least reviewed of these books is
Foucault's work of literary criticism, Raymond Roussel (1963), for which
Clark lists a grand total of seven reviews.14
The reviewing of Foucault's books suggests that those having the
widest resonance are the ones that can be made to connect with social
history-the books on prisons, sexuality, and madness. Undoubtedly, the
vividness and immediacy of Surveiller et punir go far toward explaining
the willingness of reviewers to review it. They also explain the relative
popularity of Moi, Pierre Riviere. On the other hand, the work that first
brought Foucault to fame, Les Mots et les choses, is incredibly difficult.
One needs a high degree of intellectual refinement to get much out of
its "analytic of finitude" or its account of "the form of the human
sciences." Yet in Paris in 1966 it sold "like hotcakes"-an amazing 20,000
copies in four months-and turned Foucault into an intellectual celebrity
overnight.15Such a reception was possible only within a highly coded
intellectual environment, and even there it is hard to believe that many
of its purchasers actually finished reading it. L'Archeologiedu savoir was
even more rarifiedand abstract. By the early eighties, Foucault was willing
to admit that these works marked something of a wrong turn in his
work.16In view of the immense labor that they must have cost him and
the much larger audience that he acquired through Histoire de la folie,
Surveiller et punir, and La Volontede savoir, the reaction is understand-
able.
Figure 3 is in some ways misleading, for it does not tell us when the
books were reviewed. Consider Histoire de la folie, which attracted a
large number of reviews. Though not as difficult as Les Mots et les choses,
it is not easy either. It is 673 pages long, and reading it through to the
end requires something akin to an act of faith. It is easy enough to read
a difficult work by a known author, but Foucault was unknown. Four
years as lecturer in French at the University of Uppsala, and two years
as director of the Institut Frangais at Warsaw and subsequently at Ham-
burg, put him out of sight and presumablyout of mind. When he returned
14
Michel Foucault, Surveiller et punir: naissance de la prison (Paris, 1975); Histoire
de la sexualite, I, La Volontede savoir (Paris, 1976); Folie et deraison:histoire de la folie
a I'ageclassique (Paris, 1961);Les Mots et les choses:une archeologiedes sciences humaines
(Paris, 1966); ed., Moi, Pierre Riviere, ayant egorge ma mere, ma soeur et mon frere...:
un cas de parricide au XIXesiecle (Paris, 1973); Naissance de la clinique: une archeologie
du regard m6dical (Paris, 1963); L 'Archeologiedu savoir (Paris, 1969); Raymond Roussel
(Paris, 1963).
15 Pierre Wurms, "Un best-seller: Michel Foucault, Les Mots et les choses," Neueren

Sprachen, 17 (1968), 56. See also anon., "Foucault comme des petits pains," Nouvel
observateur (Aug. 10, 1966), 29, and Geoffrey Hodgson, "All the Eggheads in One
Basket," Sunday Times Magazine (April 16, 1967), 41.
16Hubert L. Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow, Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and
Hermeneutics, with an afterword by Michel Foucault (Chicago, 1982), viii.

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RECEPTION OF FOUCAULT 123

to France in 1960, his new position as lecturer (maitre de conJfrences)


in the philosophy department at Clermont-Ferrandgave him no visibility
in the capital. Consequently, Histoire de la folie did not sell well, and
even the cheap, abridged edition that came out in 1964 had disappointing
sales.17 Worse, the book was at first little noticed in the intellectual world.
Figure 4, which plots the reviews of Histoire de la folie over time, gives
some indication of this, for it shows only four reviews in the period 1961-
1964. Significantly, all were published outside France: one in Canada,
one in England, two in the United States. In fact, two pieces that Clark
classifies as review articles also appeared in France, and he misses at
least two other reviews.18But the point-namely, that initially the book
was all but ignored-stands.
Histoire de la folie came to be widely noticed only in the mid-to-late
sixties. One reason for its discovery lies in the amazing success of Les
Mots et les choses, which led people back to the earlier work. A second
reason has to do with translation. In examining the publishing history
of Foucault's works, one is struck by the rapidity and enthusiasm with
which most of them were translated. This suggests an affinity of Foucault
for foreigners, and of foreigners for Foucault. To date, his works have
appeared in at least sixteen languages.19When a book is translated into
another language, it acquires another life. One token of this new life is
the appearance of yet another set of reviews. Already in 1963 Rizzoli
published an unabridged Italian translation of Histoire de la folie-an
undertakingthat must have been started almost on the heels of the book's
publication in France. But it was the English translation of the abridged
version of the work, published in 1965, that was the most widely noticed.20
When in 1966 Les Mots et les choses enjoyed its great success in France,
this must have helped persuade editors and reviewers in the English-
speaking world to deal with his one work then available in English. In
all, of the 43 reviews of Histoire de la folie that Clark lists, only five
17 These facts are reported by Alan Sheridan, Michel Foucault: The Will to Truth
(London, 1980), 47.
18
Henri Amer, review of Histoire de la folie, Nouvelle revuefranqaise, no. 105 (Sept.
1961), 530-32, and Maurice Blanchot, "L'Oubli, la d6raison," Nouvelle revuefranqaise,
no. 106 (Oct. 1961), 676-86.
19As we learn in
Magazine litt6raire(May 1984), 55. Among the languages are Italian,
Spanish, Portuguese, English, German, Swedish, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Serbo-Croa-
tian, Hebrew, and Japanese.
20Michel Foucault, Storia della follia, tr. Franco Ferrucci, preface and appendix
translated by Emilio Renzi and Vittore Vezzoli (Milan, 1963); and Madness and Civili-
zation: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, tr. Richard Howard (New York, 1965).
Note also: Historia de la locura en la epoco cldsica, tr. Juan Jose Utrilla (Mexico, 1967);
Wahnsinn und Gesellschaft: Eine Geschichte des Wahns im Zeitalter der Vernunft, tr.
Ulrich Koppen (Frankfurt, 1969); Galskapenshistorie i opplysningenstidsalder, tr. anon.
(Oslo, 1973).

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124 ALLAN MEGILL

appeared in France, and 33 of the reviews appearing outside France were


in English.
The fate of Foucault's two books of 1963, Naissance de la clinique
and Raymond Roussel, well illustrates the important role that the non-
French audience played in the reception of his work. From our present
perspective, it is surprisingthat reviewerspaid more attention to Raymond
Roussel, which (Figure 5) received its seven reviews in 1963-1965, all but
one of them published in France. Thereafter it disappears; it has been
the least translated, least reviewed, and presumably least read of all
Foucault's books.21Naissance de la clinique (Figure 6), the study of
clinical medicine that was a sequel to Histoire de la folie, was even less
noticed at the time of publication: Clark's research brought to light only
a single review (published outside France) between 1963 and 1971 in-
clusive. But as Figure 6 indicates, there was a burst of reviewing activity
in the 1970s. All but one of the 23 reviews that Clark uncovered from
that decade were of the English translation of the work.
The reception of Les Mots et les choses and of L'Archeologiedu savoir
(Figures 7 and 8) follows yet another pattern. Since both books (especially
the former) were widely noticed on first publication, translation merely
expanded the circle, each new edition bringing them to the attention of
yet another group of readers. Consider the translation history of Les
Mots et les choses:Italian in 1967, Spanish and Portuguese in 1968, English
in 1970, German in 1971, Dutch in 1973.22Clark's data, here and else-
where, are inadequate to cover the process of reception that must have
followed these and other translations. For example, his omission of Jap-
anese material cuts us off from an important locus of interest in Foucault.
Still, he gives us some sense of the magnitude of the reception of Fou-
cault's books abroad compared to their original reception in France.
As is well known, "a prophet is not without honor except in his own
country." Our data help us to grasp the international character of Fou-
cault's fame. They suggest that translation (especially translation into
the lingua franca of present-day intellectual life, English) played an
extremely important role in Foucault's rise to prominence. They also
21Until
recently, there was only an Italian translation: Michel Foucault, Raymond
Roussel, tr. E. Brizio (Bologna, 1978). But see now Foucault, Death and the Labyrinth:
The Worldof Raymond Roussel, tr. Charles Ruas, with an introduction by John Ashbery
(Garden City, N.Y., 1986).
22 Michel Foucault, Le parole e le cose: un 'archeologiadelle scienze umane, tr. Emilio

Panaitescu, critical essay by Georges Canguilhem (Milan, 1967); Las palabras y las cosas:
una arqueologiade las ciencias humanas, tr. Elsa Cecilia Frost (Mexico, 1968);Aspalavras
e as coisas: uma arquelogia das ciencias humanas, tr. Ant6nio Ramos Rosa, prefaces by
Eduardo Lourenco and Vergilio Ferreira (Lisbon, 1968); The Order of Things: An Ar-
chaeology of the Human Sciences, tr. anon. (New York, 1970); Die Ordnung der Dinge:
Eine Archdologieder Humanwissenschaften,tr. Ulrich Koppen, with a new foreword by
Foucault (Frankfurt, 1971); De Woordenen de dingen: een archeologie vand de menswe-
tenschappen,tr. C. P. Heering-Moorman (Bilthoven, 1973).

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RECEPTION OF FOUCAULT 125

suggest a need to distinguish between initial and later reception and


between reception at home and abroad. Finally, they make clear the
varying impact of his different works. His one work of literary criticism,
Raymond Roussel, had little impact; his two books classifiable as intel-
lectual history and theory, Les Mots et les choses and L'Archeologiedu
savoir, a much greater impact. But the works that evoked the greatest
attention were those that bear some relation to the social order. In the
first instance these are Surveiller et punir and La Volontede savoir; but
viewed retrospectively, Histoire de la folie and Naissance de la clinique,
though they were history of science if they were anything,23could also
appear in the more attractive guise of social history.

II. So far, we have looked at references to Foucault's work as if they


were anonymous. It is now time to attach names to these references,
especially historians' names. William James once outlined "the classic
stages of a theory's career": first it is "attacked as absurd"; next it is
"admitted to be true, but obvious and insignificant"; finally, it is "seen
to be so important that its adversaries claim that they themselves dis-
covered it."24The reception of Foucault by historians also falls into three
stages, but these stages-of "non-reception," "confrontation," and "as-
similation"-are different from the ones proposed by James.
Of the five books that Foucault published in the sixties, two, Histoire
de la folie and Les Mots et les choses, were massive efforts. With the
latter's publication, writers in a variety of fields-literary criticism and
theory, philosophy (in its "continental" guise), and political theory,
among others-began to address his work. But neither in France nor
abroad were historians prominent in this activity. Until the seventies,
there was only one important exception: in 1962, Robert Mandrou and
Fernand Braudel had high praise for Histoire de la folie. In a review
article in Annales, Mandrou praised Foucault's "passionate and decisive"
book for having demonstrated that madness is a fact of culture much
more than a natural phenomenon. Foucault, he averred,is an " 'orchestral
writer,' who with equal success is philosopher, psychologist, and historian
all at the same time"; his "beautiful book" was destined to be "centrally
important for our understandingof the classical period." Writing as editor
of Annales, Braudel appended a few words of his own to Mandrou's
review, praising Histoire de la folie as a magnificent attempt to follow
the "mysterious pathways of the mental structures of a civilization" and
leaving little doubt that he regarded it as an important model for future
work.25It is easy to discern why Mandrou and Braudel were so enthu-
23 See Sheridan, Michel Foucault, 6-7.
24 William James, "Pragmatism'sConception of
Truth," in James, Pragmatism (Cam-
bridge, Mass., 1975), 95.
25
Robert Mandrou, "Trois Cles pour comprendre la folie a l'epoque classique,"
Annales, 17 (1962), 761, 771-72.

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126 ALLAN MEGILL

siastic. Firstly, they thought that Histoire de la folie accorded with the
Annales school emphasis on the need for interdisciplinary perspectives;
secondly, they saw the book as a contribution to the history of mentalites,
a subject in which both were interested.
Yet their suggestion that historians attend to Foucault was not taken
up. Tellingly, the sixties saw not a single further reference to Foucault
in Annales; it was as if he had dropped completely out of sight. Nor did
non-Annales historians attend to his work. Clark finds that 342 essays
or review articles dealing with Foucault appearedbetween 1961 and 1981
inclusive.26In 1961-72 one hundred fifty of these were published, of which
only four were by historians. Only Mandrou was a social or political
historian; the others were historians of science or medicine (see Table
2). But history of science is a field sharply distinct from history in the
"generic" sense. This is as true in France as it is in the United States.
As Roger Chartier has observed, French historians "paid no attention"
to the premier French historians of science, Canguilhem, Bachelard, and
Koyre; Annales published only one review (in 1939) of any of their
works.27The interest of some historians of science in Foucault's work
had no impact on generic historians.
On the basis of the first two pages of L'Archeologiedu savoir, where
Foucault informs us that historians are turning to the longue duree, it is
often said that Foucault was close to the Annales school.28The absence
of even a single reference to Foucault in Annales in the years 1963-69
suggests that this would have been news to most of the Annalistes; what-
ever affinity he felt for them (and one suspects that he felt very little),
they felt none for him. Casting the net further, I here list disciplinary
journals in which Foucault was neither cited nor reviewed until the 1970s:
Revue historique,Annales historiquesde la revolutionfranqaise, Historische
Zeitschrift, Past and Present, Historical Journal, American Historical Re-
view. After Mandrou's 1962 discussion of Histoire de la folie, the next
review of any of Foucault's books in any disciplinary journal appeared
only in 1977, when the American Historical Review published a review
of Surveiller et punir. Significantly, the reviewer was Hayden White, who

26
have excluded from the data three items that Clark lists as forthcoming, an
unwitting duplication, and an item published in 1982, a year that Clark was able to cover
only minimally.
27 Roger Chartier, "Intellectual History or Sociocultural History?" in Dominick

LaCapraand Steven L. Kaplan (eds.), Modern EuropeanIntellectual History:Reappraisals


and New Perspectives(Ithaca, 1982), 30-31.
28 For an early statement to this effect, see the anonymous article, "The Contented

Positivist: M. Foucault and the Death of Man," Times Literary Supplement (July 2,
1970), 698; for a more recent statement, see Charles C. Lemert and Garth Gillan, Michel
Foucault: Social Theory as Transgression(New York, 1982), 11.

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RECEPTION OF FOUCAULT 127

by the mid-seventies had become something close to a b&tenoire within


the discipline.29
Historians long neglected Foucault's work, notwithstanding his sub-
stantial publication record and growing fame, because he did not seem
to be one of their own. He was simply not an accredited member of the
guild. In an article on recent French historiography written early in 1966,
Mandrou returned to Histoire de la folie. Again he suggests that it is a
work important to historians, especially to those interested in "collective
sentiments and passions"; but he also observes that it is "from the hand
of a philosopher" and is "certainly not easy to read."30The subsequent
publication of Les Mots et les choses and L'Archeologiedu savoir did not,
in the eyes of historians, improve matters. Les Mots et les choses largely
passes over the heads of those not intimately familiar with the three H's:
Hegel, Husserl, and Heidegger. Few historians qualify. Moreover, while
superficially it may appear to be an intellectual history of the West from
1500 to the present, it is better seen as a kind of philosophical meditation
on the condition of contemporary culture. L'Archeologiedu savoir was
more abstract and less historical. We should not be surprised to see
Braudel, in a comment dating from the mid-seventies, identify Foucault
as a "non-historian," as one among those "philosophers" who "speak
out on history with the greatest vehemence" and who in the process
"declaim loudly, perhaps even too loudly."31

In the late sixties it was possible to think that Foucault's fame was
the ephemeral result of the success of a single book, Les Mots et les
choses. Its ringing assertion of the "death of man" had come at just the
right time to make the book both a scandal and a success-early enough
that the philosophical humanism that dominated existentialism, Marxism,
Christian personalism, and much else in French intellectual culture was
still taken seriously, but not so late that attacks on it were old hat. But
as our citation data show, Foucault's fame did not decline; instead, it
continued to grow. His visibility became all the greater when in 1970 he
succeeded Jean Hyppolite as professor at the elite College de France.
Foucault was an animal of a sort that Anglo-American historians
had never seen before. Those, still relatively few, who had occasion to
read his work found it puzzling. But unlike the Cheshire cat, he showed
no sign of fading away. In consequence, outside France there arose the
second stage in the reception of Foucault by historians, that of "con-
frontation." In the mode of confrontation, attention is directed at the
29
Hayden White, review of Michel Foucault, Surveiller et punir, American Historical
Review, 82 (1977), 605-06.
30 Robert Mandrou, "L'historiographie frangaise des XVIe et XVIIe siecles: bilans et

perspectives," French Historical Studies, 5 (1967-68), 63.


31 Fernand Braudel, "Foreword," in Traian Stoianovich, French Historical Method:
The Annales Paradigm (Ithaca, 1976), 16-17.

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128 ALLAN MEGILL

strangeness of a writer. Foucault was an unknown quantity. Given his


failure to disappear, there was a need to explain him. Since the project
of explaining his strangeness lent itself well to the essay form, it stands
out in sharp relief in Clark's essays and review articles.
Of 192 essays on Foucault in the period 1973-81, 24 were by historians.
Though historians remained a small minority among those "receiving"
Foucault's work, this was a sharp increase from the preceding decade,
and many of the authors of these pieces felt the explanatory urge. Two
articles can stand as representative of this: George Huppert's "Divinatio
et Eruditio: Thoughts on Foucault" and Hayden White's "Foucault De-
coded: Notes from Underground." Both appeared in History and The-
ory-White's article in 1973 and Huppert's in 1974.32 The venue is
significant. In the early seventies a discussion of Foucault in a mainstream
Anglo-American historical journal like the Journal of Modern History or
the American Historical Review was out of the question: the editors of
these journals did not know who Foucault was. History and Theory's
openness to perspectives coming from outside the discipline made it the
right (and perhaps the only) place to publish.
Huppert was driven to his "thoughts on Foucault" by the dismayed
realization that the historically illiterate were taking Foucault as a reliable
guide to the European past. Huppert manages to show that the account
in Les Mots et les choses of the sixteenth-century episteme is based on a
limited and unrepresentativeselection of texts, which Foucault sometimes
bizarrely misinterprets.Huppert thus demolishes any claim that Foucault
might have to be a reliable guide to sixteenth-century thought. More
than this, any reader of Huppert is bound to doubt that Foucault could
be a reliable guide to anything, except for the latest intellectual fashions
on the Left Bank.
If Huppert was appalled by the substance of Foucault's history, White
was fascinated by its manner. White, too, deals with Les Mots et les
choses,but not in order to criticize its historical claims. He focuses instead
on what he sees as its main theoretical claim-namely, that the human
sciences are prisoners of the language in which they are articulated.
According to White, Foucault holds that language is necessarily figur-
ative. This means, among other things, that a value-neutral system of
representationis impossible. Consequently, far from trying to provide an
accurate representation of the past, Les Mots et les choses is a dcfense et
illustration of the notion that accurate representation is nowhere to be
found. Its portrayal of successive Western epistemes, each of which inex-
plicably collapses, is intended to persuade readers that all apparent sys-
32
Hayden White, "Foucault Decoded: Notes from Underground,"History and Theory,
12 (1973), 23-54, repr. in Hayden White, Tropicsof Discourse, 230-60; George Huppert,
"Divinatio et Eruditio: Thoughts on Foucault," History and Theory, 13 (1974), 191-207.

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RECEPTION OF FOUCAULT 129

tems of representation, including that which supposedly underlies the


present-day human sciences, are doomed.
White approved of Foucault, for he regarded Foucault's "principal
contention" as "correct and illuminating."33Yet White's account was
even more apt than Huppert's to make historians suspicious of Foucault.
Many historians must have thought, as one wrote, that White's "decoded
Foucault" was "almost as impenetrable as the original version."34But
even the most puzzled could hardly avoid noticing that Foucault, as
described by White, was vehemently hostile to the discipline. Foucault,
White wrote, was concerned with the "disremembranceof things past";
he regarded history as "a symptom of a peculiarly nineteenth-century
malaise";he viewed the work of professional historians with "contempt";
he was an "antihistorical historian" who "writes 'history' in order to
destroy it"; and he was really "a philosopher of history in the 'speculative'
manner."35None of this was likely to bring disciplinary historians running
to Foucault.
It is noteworthy that the authors of almost two-thirds of the 24 pieces
for which I have allowed Huppert's and White's articles to stand are
either historians of science or intellectual historians (see Table 2).36 This
is unsurprisingbut not uninteresting. Because they deal with ideas, which
many historians today regard as hopelessly epiphenomenal, history of
science and intellectual history are both marginal to the discipline. His-
torians of science often occupy university departmentsseparatefrom those
of generic historians; they also have their own highly active professional
organizations and publication channels. Though intellectual historians
usually share departmental affiliation with generic historians, if they are
any good they find an audience as much outside the discipline as within
it. This hints at the marginality of Foucault himself-but also at the
limitations of the discipline.

Meanwhile, back in France, historians did not see Foucault as a


phenomenon in need of explication. To be sure, there was a gap, even a
gulf, between them and Foucault, as I have already noted. But while
they acknowledged that he was "difficult" in at least two senses of that
term, they did not find him strange. After all, they were products of the
same educational system. They, too, had taken their classe de philo. They
knew what an explication de texte was. They were vaguely aware of
phenomenology and of French-style philosophy of science, though they
had little use for these traditions. They were well acquainted with a
3
White, Tropicsof Discourse, 251.
34 Gordon Wright, "Foucault in Prison," Stanford French Review, 1 (1977), 71.
35
White, Tropicsof Discourse, 233, 234, 255-58; see also 237, 239, and 243.
36 Some of my field identifications may be wrong or at least debatable because I have

not been able to find biographical information on all the authors and because fields have
blurry edges.

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130 ALLAN MEGILL

certain kind of French intellectual, likely to claim a large part of the


universe as his domain. And they had some sense of Foucault's personal
and political preoccupations.
Consequently, French historians felt no urge to come to grips with
Foucault's project in general. Rather, once they began to suspect that
his work might be relevant to their own, they began to take account of
particular points within it, where they had ignored it before. Around
1970 in France, and five or so years later outside France, this "assimi-
lation" of Foucault began. One marker of the change is especially striking:
between 1970 and 1981 Foucault was cited in 36 articles appearing in
Annales. There were six references in 1970 alone, though he had been
cited only once throughout the entire sixties. Admittedly, citer-motivation
is a complex matter.37Nonetheless, whatever specific motivations ani-
mated the Annalistes, they indisputably saw Foucault as a citable author,
whereas there is no evidence that they had done so before. Perhaps the
shake-up in the structure and spirit of French higher education that
followed May 1968 made it easier for researchers to find the work of an
outsider like Foucault relevant to their own work. With his appointment
to the College de France, he became less of an outsider institutionally
(though not in spirit). Finally, the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia,
the "elusive revolution" that took place in France itself, including the
failure of the student-worker "front," and (by the mid-seventies) the
belated discovery of the Gulag archipelago raised problems for many on
the French left. Foucault's intuitions on the ubiquity of power and on
the weakness of conventional revolutionary politics, already present in
his work before 1968, addressed these shames and disappointments.38His
prescience gave him status in certain sectors of the French intelligentsia
and may have made him seem a more citable figure to some of the
researchers publishing in Annales.
Yet this new attention would probably not have persisted without the
publication in 1975 of Surveiller et punir, for with this book Foucault
took a new turn, more familiar and less threatening to generic historians.
Les Mots et les choses (1966) and L'Archeologiedu savoir (1969), works
of great literary and conceptual sophistication, gave them no easy pur-
chase. But Surveiller et punir was a different matter. It seemed more like
history than anything Foucault had written for a dozen years, not least
because it tacitly abandoned the notion of radical historical discontinuity
that had been so important to him in the mid-sixties. It turned away

37As Terrence A. Brooks points out, "Private Acts and Public Objects: An Investi-
gation of Citer Motivations," 224-26. For the 36 Annales articles in which Foucault was
cited, see Clark, Michel Foucault, 579-80.
38 See Foucault's 1972 interview with Gilles Deleuze, "Intellectuals and Power" in

Foucault, Language, Counter-Memory,Practice:Selected Essays and Interviews,ed. Don-


ald F. Bouchard, tr. Donald F. Bouchard and Sherry Simon (Ithaca, 1977), especially
207-12.

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RECEPTION OF FOUCAULT 131

from the baroque obscurity of his two preceding books. It also turned
away from the apparent focus on intellectual history in Les Mots et les
choses to something that seemed recognizably like social history. If in-
tellectual history is marginal to disciplinary history as it has recently
been written and practiced, social history is central.39The publication in
1976 of the first volume of the Histoire de la sexualit, La Volonte de
savoir, drew attention to yet another vast and under-investigatedfield of
social history; the publication in 1984 of the second and third volumes
underscored the seriousness of Foucault's interest in this field. In light
of these works, Histoire de la folie acquired a new character resembling
that which Mandrou and Braudel had unsuccessfully tried to attribute
to it in 1962. It began to take on the guise of a pioneering work in social
history, specifically in the history of deviance.
At this point Foucault's impact becomes harder to follow, for it is
of the nature of assimilation that the distinctive features of the ideas
being assimilated disappear. That historians acknowledge Foucault's in-
fluence does not mean that their work is "Foucauldian";for reasons that
I shall note, Foucauldian historians are hard to find. Moreover, most
historians who have so far published substantial works in areas touched
by Foucault seem to have begun their investigations more or less inde-
pendently of him. Yet increasingly they find themselves compelled to
take account of his writings. The collection L'impossible prison: Re-
cherches sur le systeme penitentiaire au XIXe siecle, edited by Michelle
Perrot, gives a good sense of the attention that historians in France have
devoted to Surveilleretpunir. Michael Ignatieffs A Just Measure of Pain:
The Penitentiaryin the Industrial Revolution, 1750-1850 was finished too
soon to be much marked by Foucault's presence. Patricia O'Brien began
her researches on The Promise of Punishment: Prisons in Nineteenth-
CenturyFrance independently of Foucault but late enough that Surveiller
et punir decisively influenced it. O'Brien characterizes Foucault's book
as "one of those rare works that refocuses the way a whole generation
of scholars looks at history." Robert Nye, in his Crime, Madness, and
Politics in Modern France, finds Foucault the source of "rich insights ...
for the history of deviance." In The Spectacle of Suffering, Pieter Spi-
erenburg attempts to construct a "counter-paradigm"to Foucault's ac-
count of changes in forms of punishment. Michael MacDonald situates
his Mystical Bedlam: Madness, Anxiety, and Healing in Seventeenth-
CenturyEngland in the "spreadingwake" of Histoire de la folie. Andrew
Scull's Museums of Madness: The Social Organization of Insanity in
Nineteenth-CenturyEngland also bobs in this wake. The three volumes
of Histoire de la sexualit6 will undoubtedly influence and even evoke

39 As Robert Damton shows, "Intellectual and Cultural History," in Michael Kammen


(ed.), The Past Before Us: ContemporaryHistorical Writingin the United States (Ithaca,
1980), 327-54.

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132 ALLAN MEGILL

further work. Again, interest in the history of sexuality emerged inde-


pendently of Foucault, as shown by the work of John Boswell and Jeffrey
Weeks.4' Yet whatever the origins of these interests, it is difficult to see
how any future work in the history of madness, the history of prisons,
or the history of sexuality will be able to avoid coming to grips with
Foucault.

III. But to what extent can the discipline of history really assimilate
Foucault? It is true that in the last eight or ten years historians have
increasingly taken notice of him. He has become an important part of
their intellectual landscape. He is now an unavoidable presence in a wide
range of historical investigation and discussion. Yet time and again the
same disciplinary historians who cite (and praise) his work also note its
deficiencies. The main complaint is perspectival and methodological.
Foucault leaves unanswered, even unasked, questions that historians find
essential; his generalizations are usually supported by insufficient war-
rants.
Erik Midelfort notes of Histoire de lafolie "that many of its arguments
fly in the face of empirical evidence, and that many of its broadest
generalizations are over-simplifications."Carlo Ginzburg detects, in Moi,
Pierre Riviere and other works, an "irrationalismof an aesthetic nature"
that refuses to "analyze and interpret" evidence of popular culture in the
past. Jacques Leonard, examining Surveiller et punir, points out the
disturbing extent to which Foucault obscures historical agency, speaking
of "machinery"without giving us machine operators, of "strategy" with-
out showing us any generals. Jan Goldstein observes of the same book
that "the usual criteria of historical scholarship cannot be used to assess
it." It is "more like metahistory" than it is like history; its analysis is
"highly abstract"; it "never marshals the concrete and specific evidence

40Michelle Perrot (ed.), L'impossible prison (some of the studies included in this
volume were originally published in Annales historiquesde la Revolutionfrangaise, no.
228 [Apr.-June 1977]); Michael Ignatieff, A Just Measure of Pain: The Penitentiary in
the Industrial Revolution, 1750-1850 (New York, 1978); Patricia O'Brien, The Promise
of Punishment: Prisons in Nineteenth-CenturyFrance (Princeton, 1982), xii; Robert Nye,
Crime, Madness, and Politics in Modern France: The Medical Conceptof National Decline
(Princeton, 1984), 12; Pieter Spierenburg, The Spectacle of Suffering: Executions and the
Evolution of Repression, from a Preindustrial Metropolis to the European Experience
(Cambridge, 1984), viii-ix; Michael MacDonald, Mystical Bedlam: Madness, Anxiety, and
Healing in Seventeenth-CenturyEngland (Cambridge, 1981), xi; Andrew Scull, Museums
of Madness: The Social Organization of Insanity in Nineteenth-CenturyEngland (New
York, 1979); John Boswell, Christianity,Social Tolerance,and Homosexuality: Gay People
in WesternEurope from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century
(Chicago, 1980); Jeffrey Weeks, Coming Out: Homosexual Politics in Britain from the
Nineteenth Century to the Present (London, 1977); Weeks, Sex, Politics, and Society: The
Regulation of Sexuality Since 1800 (London, 1981); Weeks, Sexuality and Its Discontents:
Meanings, Myths and Modern Sexualities (London, 1985).

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RECEPTION OF FOUCAULT 133

that historians crave." Pierre Vilar notes Foucault's "authoritarian hy-


potheses," "mixed-up dates," "texts mistreated," "errors so gross that
we must believe them deliberate," and "historical absurdities."41
Duly noting these observations, we have the right to doubt that
Foucault will enjoy a Jamesian welcome into the corpus of the discipline.
Many of the new questions he has posed, if not his answers, will be
assimilated. But his manner of proceeding, in which ex cathedra procla-
mation all too often dominates, seems headed for rejection. Foucault's
commentators have on occasion suggested that he points the way to a
new "method" or "paradigm" for doing history.42Such a view presup-
poses, however, that Foucault conforms to the social rules called science.
On the contrary, he is an enemy of social convention in general and of
the social conventions of science in particular.43
Foucault's failure to adhere to "the usual criteria of historical schol-
arship" is not the consequence, as some might want to suggest, of an
openness on his part to interdisciplinaryperspectives. To be sure, scholars
deeply influenced by the perspectives and methods of other disciplines
often find their work misunderstood or ignored by their disciplinary
colleagues. Such scholars may fail to conform to the argumentative con-
ventions of any particular field because of their openness to the conven-
tions of a less restricted sort, arising from their willingness to learn from
a variety of fields.44This is not Foucault's situation. He is not an inter-
disciplinary scholar, standing between and happily drawing from existing
disciplines. Rather, he is antidisciplinary, standing outside all disciplines

41 H. C. Erik Midelfort, "Madness and Civilization in Early Modem Europe: A


Reappraisal of Michel Foucault," in Barbara C. Malament (ed.), After the Reformation:
Essays in Honor ofJ. H. Hexter (Philadelphia, 1980), 259; Carlo Ginzburg, The Cheese
and the Worms:The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-CenturyMiller, tr. John and Anne Tedeschi
(Baltimore, 1980), xviii; Jacques Leonard, "L'historien et le philosophe," in Perrot (ed.),
L'impossibleprison, 13-15; Jan Goldstein, review of Discipline and Punish in Journal of
Modern History, 51 (1979), 117; Pierre Vilars, "Histoire marxiste, histoire en construc-
tion," in Jacques Le Goff and Pierre Nora (eds.), Faire de l'histoire:Nouveaux problemes,
I (Paris, 1974), 188. See also G. E. R. Lloyd, "The Mind on Sex," New York Review of
Books (March 13, 1986), 24-25 for criticisms of Foucault's account, in the second volume
of Histoire de la sexualite, of ancient sexuality. For further reporting of historians'
objections to Foucault, see Mark Poster, Foucault, Marxism and History: Mode of Pro-
duction versusMode of Information (Cambridge, 1984), 72-74 and J. G. Merquior, Fou-
cault (London, 1985), 101-07.
42See Hubert Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow, Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralismand
Hermeneutics, xxii-xxiii and passim, and Pamela Major-Poetzl, Michel Foucault's Ar-
chaeology of WesternCulture: Towarda New Science of History (Chapel Hill, 1983), 104
and passim.
43 For an extended exposition of this view, see Megill, Prophets of Extremity.
44On argumentative conventions and their relation to fields, see Stephen Toulmin,
The Uses of Argument (Cambridge, 1958), especially 36-38, "The Field-Dependence of
Our Standards."

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134 ALLAN MEGILL

and drawing from them only in the hope of undermining them. A sym-
pathetic commentator, Alan Sheridan, gets it right:
There was no discipline,with its institutions,journals,internalcontroversies,
conceptualapparatus,methodsof work,withinwhichFoucaultcould carryout
the taskhe had set himself.Indeed,therewas a sensein which,like Nietzsche's,
his workwouldhaveto be carriedon outside,evenagainst,the existingacademic
frameworks.45
In his wounded solitude, Foucault refused to conceal the contempt
he felt for scholarly convention. This does not mean, however, that those
who are committed to the progress in knowledge that alone justifies a
discipline ought in turn to take Foucault's work lightly or treat it with
contempt. It is impossible to imagine Foucault's "method," which is
really the anti-method of Nietzsche and later Heidegger, acquiring cre-
dence within a disciplinary context. The impossibility is definitional, for
the result would not be a discipline; it would be a contestation of con-
tending prophets. As Adolf Griinbaum points out, scientific inquiry is
conducted by a community of scholars. Yet one consequence of this is
that practices that "would be considered irrational" if adopted by the
community as a whole are not necessarily so when engaged in by indi-
viduals.46This is because, as Lakatos, Toulmin, Feyerabend, Bernstein,
and others have noted, intellectual innovation is needed if a discipline is
to advance. Every discipline bears within itself the seeds of its own
stultification. Though Foucault is solitary, he has nonetheless become
part of a collective machinery of research, reflection, and argument.
Though he is not of the discipline, he is important to it, partly because
he has called attention to hitherto neglected fields of research, but mostly
because he fosters a self-reflection that is needed to counteract the scle-
rosis, the self-satisfaction, the smugness that constantly threaten. Intel-
lectual apprenticeship is in large measure a matter of learning the
conventions of argument within a discipline-a matter, that is, of learning
its rhetoric. In any discipline that still has new and interesting things to
say, these conventions evolve. Though it would have chagrined him to
know it, Foucault's work is unquestionably part of that evolution.

University of Iowa.

45Sheridan, Michel Foucault, 208.


46 Adolf Griinbaum, "Falsifiability and Rationality," unpublished typescript quoted
in Richard Bernstein, Beyond Objectivismand Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and
Praxis (Philadelphia, 1983), 79.

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RECEPTION OF FOUCAULT 135

T0

00 o
*.

U U

* *U *
0^ * 3 * *

rr n ,~-,q qr'

Total no. of review

YEAR: 1966 7 8 9 0 1 24 35 6 7 8 0 9 2 3 1984

FIGURE 1: Citations per year to Foucault's work in journals indexed in the Social
Citation Index and the Arts and Humanities Citation Index
Sciences

carticles:342 I 201 2 1 ? : : :

34
30 31
30 31

27 27
25
23
Total no. of review
articles: 342 2020 20
18
16
13
12 12

YEAR: 1961 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1981

FIGURE 2: Essays and Review Articles dealing with Foucault, 1961-1981

Source: Michael Clark (ed.), Michel Foucault, An Annotated Bibliography

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136 ALLAN MEGILL

67
60

43
38

26
24 24

DATE OF FIRST HF NC RR MC AS PR SP VS
PUBLICATION: 1961 '63 '63 '66 '69 '73 '75 '76

FIGURE 3: Total number of Reviews of Selected Works by Foucault

Source: Michael Clark (ed.), Michel Foucault, An Annotated Bibliography

10
9

Total no. of
reviews: 43

3 3
2 2 2

1L 1 111 1

YEAR: 1961 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1981

FIGURE 4: Reviews of Histoire de la Folie, 1961-1981

Source: Michael Clark (ed.), Michel Foucault, An Annotated Bibliography

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RECEPTION OF FOUCAULT 137

Total no. of
reviews: 7

3 3

YEAR: 1963 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1981

FIGURE 5: Reviews of Raymond Roussel, 1963-1981

Source: Michael Clark (ed.), Michel Foucault, An Annotated Bibliography

Total no. of
reviews: 24
6

4
3
2 2

1 1

YEAR: 1963 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1981

FIGURE 6: Reviews of Naissance de la Clinique, 1963-1981

Source: Michael Clark (ed.), Michel Foucault, An Annotated Bibliography

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138 ALLAN MEGILL

Total no. of
reviews: 38

3 3

YEAR: 1966 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1981

FIGURE 7: Reviews of Les Mots et Les Choses, 1966-1981

Source: Michael Clark (ed.), Michel Foucault, An Annotated Bibliography

9
Total no. of
reviews: 24

3 3

1l1 1 1

YEAR: 1969 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1981

FIGURE 8: Reviews of L'Archeologiedu Savoir

Source: Michael Clark (ed.), Michel Foucault, An Annotated Bibliography

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RECEPTION OF FOUCAULT 139

TABLE 1: The Sixty Most Heavily Cited Twentieth-Century Arts and Humanities
Authors in 1977-78
Total no. of
Rank Name Discipline citations
1. Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich political activist and writer 1,737*
2. Freud, Sigmund psychoanalyst 966
3. Barthes, Roland literary critic 678
4. Lawrence, David Herbert poet and novelist 604
5. Heidegger, Martin philosopher 587
6. Yeats, William Butler (aeq) poet 555
6. Borges, Jorge Luis (aeq) short-story writer and poet 555
8. Eliot, Thomas Steams poet and critic 539
9. Sartre, Jean-Paul novelist, playwright, critic, 519
and philosopher
10. Frye, Northrop literary critic 509
11. Joyce, James novelist 488
12. Conrad, Joseph novelist 456
13. Woolf, Virginia novelist 451
14. Quine, Willard van Orman philosopher 446
15. Chomsky, Noam linguist 433
16. Wittgenstein, Ludwig philosopher 432
17. Levi-Strauss, Claude anthropologist 406
18. Shaw, George Bernard playwright, essayist, and 385
critic
19. Derrida, Jacques philosopher and critic 384
20. Husserl, Edmund (aeq) philosopher 379
20. Eliade, Mircea (aeq) historian of religion 379
22. Jakobson, Roman linguist and literary critic 376
23. Popper, Karl Raimund philosopher 370
24. Foucault, Michel philosopher and historian 350
25. Jung, Carl Gustav psychiatrist 338
26. Russell, Bertrand Arthur mathematician and 335
William philosopher
27. Beckett, Samuel novelist, playwright, and 332
poet
28. Mann, Thomas (aeq) novelist 316
28. Adoro, Theodor (aeq) philosopher and critic 316
Weissengrund
30. Lukacs, Georg philosopher and critic 315
31. Ricoeur, Paul philosopher 306
32. Habermas, Jiirgen sociologist and 301
philosopher
33. Weber, Max sociologist 294
34. Panofsky, Erwin art historian 265
35. Todorov, Tsvetan literary critic 260
36. Kuhn, Thomas Samuel historian of science 255

* "Approximately 60 percent of the citations to Lenin are from history journals with
two Russian history journals, VoprosyIstorii and Istoriya S. S. S. R., accounting for most
of them with one-third of the citations from philosophy journals" (Garfield, "Information
Retrieval," 53).

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140 ALLAN MEGILL

TABLE 1: The Sixty Most Heavily Cited Twentieth-Century Arts and Humanities
Authors in 1977-78-Continued
Total no. of
Rank Name Discipline citations
37. Davidson, Donald philosopher 253
38. Bultmann, Rudolf theologian 251
39. Merleau-Ponty, Maurice philosopher 246
40. Benjamin, Walter art and literary critic 242
41. Bloom, Harold literary critic 235
42. Brecht, Bertolt playwright 230
43. Chisholm, Roderick Milton philosopher 226
44. Cassirer, Ernst philosopher 215
45. Piaget, Jean psychologist 211
46. Lacan, Jacques psychiatrist 210
47. Lewis, Clive Staples (aeq) essayist, critic, and 198
novelist
47. Gombrich, Ernst Hans Josef art historian 198
(aeq)
49. Wellek, Rene literary critic 192
50. Kristeva, Julia literary critic 186
51. Genette, Gerard literary critic 184
52. Yates, Frances Amelia intellectual historian 172
53. Strawson, Peter Frederick philosopher 171
54. Ellman, Richard literary critic 165
55. Rawls, John philosopher 164
56. Goodman, Nelson philosopher 158
57. Abrams, Meyer Howard literary critic 151
58. Benveniste, Emile linguist 147
59. Kermode, Frank literary critic 144
60. Auerbach, Erich literary critic 139

Source: Eugene Garfield, "Is Information Retrieval in the Arts and Humanities Inher-
ently Different from that in Science? The Effect that ISI's Citation Index for the Arts
and Humanities is Expected to have on Future Scholarship," Library Journal, 50 (1980),
51-53.

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RECEPTION OF FOUCAULT 141

TABLE 2: Authors of Essays and Review Articles on Foucault

Year Name Field Item no.


1962 Robert Mandrou social history G458
1964 Werner Leibbrand history of medicine G439
1967 Georges Canguilhem history of science G306
1967 Vincent Labeyrie history of science G421
1973 G. S. Rousseau history of science G524
1973 Frangois Russo history of science G526
1973 Hayden White intellectual history G575
1974 George Huppert intellectual and social G406
history
1974 Paul Veyne classical history G568
1975 Jacques Revel social history G514
1976 David Leary history of science G434
1976 Elinor S. Shaffer history of science G538
1977 W. R. Albury and history of science G236
D. R. Oldroyd
1977 Philippe Aries social history G263
1977 Jean-Claude Guedon history of science G394
1977 Jacques Leonard social history G445
1977 Vernon Pratt history of science G506
1977 Gordon Wright social and political history G579
1978 Richard Cobb social history G326
1978 Paul Veyne classical history G568
1978 Hayden White intellectual history G577
1979 Russell Jacoby intellectual history G411
1979 Allan Megill intellectual history G463
1979 Mark Poster intellectual history G505
1979 Hayden White intellectual history G576
1980 Christopher Lasch social history G431
1980 H. C. Erik Midelfort social history G469
1981 Michael Roth intellectual history G523
Source: Michael Clark (ed.), Michel Foucault, An Annotated Bibliography. See under
Clark's item numbers for full data on the articles in question.

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