Foucault (1926 –1984) was a French Philosopher, historian, social theorist and literary critic. He is often recognised as being a post-structuralist and post-modernist but Foucault himself rejected these descriptions. He is a widely cited and important contributor in many academic different areas including: Psychology, Sociology, English Literature, Cultural Studies, Politics and many other humanities and social sciences. Foucault’s work largely focuses on the uses (and abuses) of knowledge and power within institutional structures for control. Throughout his works he developed archaeological and genealogical methods which remain popular today. His emphasis on the use of power in discourse has led to so called Foucauldian Discourse Analysis.
Foucault taught in Tunisia for some time but returned to France in the late 1960’s. From this point he taught at the University of Paris VIII and also became involved with several left-wing political groups and human rights groups.
Some of the most important works of Foucault include: The History of Sexuality, Discipline and Punish, The Birth of The Clinic, The Order of things, and Archaeology of Knowledge.
Foucault died in 1984 of a HIV/AIDS related illness, he was the first public figure to have died from the disease.