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date: 24 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Michel Foucault has been variously pigeon-holed as a philosopher, structuralist, post-structuralist, anti-modernist, postmodernist, happy positivist, political activist, gay rights activist, krypto-normativist, and pseudo-marxist. Yet his work escapes categorizations including ‘philosophy’ and ‘process philosophy’. It is Foucault’s ‘systematic scepticism toward all anthropological universals’, combined with his illumination of the processes and practices through which the subject and object are formed and transformed historically, which makes his work significant in the context of process philosophy and organization studies. This chapter begins by considering Foucault as a placeholder for a particular style, or styles, of thinking that contributes to an appreciation of process. It then examines his understanding of discourse, history, and practices as it interrogates process, and reflects on the engagement of his thinking within the field of organization studies. In addition, this chapter considers some of the more influential Foucauldian ideas that are relevant to organization studies, including panopticism, resistance, and governmentality, as well as the apparatus of security and the question of freedom in the context of power relations.

Keywords: Michel Foucault, process philosophy, organization studies, discourse, history, practices, panopticism, resistance, governmentality, freedom

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