Foucault’s ‘philosophy of the event’: Genealogical Method and the Deployment of the Abnormal

  • Brett Bowman
Part of the Critical Theory and Practice in Psychology and the Human Sciences book series (CTPPHS)


This chapter can be read in at least two ways. It is first and foremost a close-text exposition of Foucault’s approach to genealogy, undertaken so as to avoid the shortcomings of many standard forms of discourse analysis as practiced within psychology.1 It is also, more generally, a commentary on the strategic value of ‘effective history’ as it might inform qualitative research as a mode of critique. Foucault offers us less than a structured ‘methodology’ of genealogy; his late genealogical works create a methodological rhythm of their own, as Tamboukou (1999) puts it, ensuring no certain procedures of analysis. What Foucault does offer is a set of profound philosophical and methodological suspicions towards the objects of knowledge that we confront, a set of suspicions that stretch to our relationships to such objects, and to the uses to which such related knowledges are put. Foucault’s genealogical method, in short, is a methodology of suspicion and critique, an array of de-familiarizing procedures and re-conceptualizations that pertain not just to any object of human science knowledge, but to any procedure (or position) of human science knowledge-production.


Child Sexual Abuse Human Science Pure Possibility Genealogical Analysis Abnormal Individual 
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© Derek Hook 2007

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  • Brett Bowman

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