Bringing ideas to life

Foucault, psychology and the analytics of power

Published in Foucault by Mark Murphy on May 9, 2014

Image by Quinn Dombrowski

Image by Quinn Dombrowski

Book: Derek Hook (2010) Foucault, psychology and the analytics of power (Palgrave Macmillan)

I’d hazard a guess that the work of Foucault tends to be included more on programmes in sociology and history than it does in psychology reading lists. If I’m right that’s a bit of a shame as his work has a great deal to say about the discipline and some of its less appealing applications. Derek Hook has done us a big favour here and delivered a text that explores the application of Foucault’s concepts to the field of psychology. Not always a happy read for psychologists, although it’s difficult to think of a discipline which has escaped unscathed from Foucault’s gaze.

Hook covers a fair bit of ground here – governmentality, power, space and race. I particularly like the chapters on power and methodology (which includes a series of ‘practical methodological guidelines for how we might suspend a variety of unhelpful stereotypes of power’), and the chapter exploring in some detail the contested meaning of discourse analysis (while also outlining some of its shortcomings). Well worth a read for those engaging in applying Foucault.

Spread the love!

About the author /


Mark Murphy is a Reader in Education and Public Policy at the University of Glasgow. He previously worked as an academic at King’s College, London, University of Chester, University of Stirling, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, University College Dublin and Northern Illinois University. Mark is an active researcher in the fields of education and public policy. His research interests include educational sociology, critical theory, accountability in higher education, and public sector reform.

Post your comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *