Foucault: Madness and Surveillance in Warsaw

  • Piotr Sobolczyk
Keywords: Foucault, homosexuality, communism, Warsaw, secret service, gay persecution, sexual paranoia.

Abstract

The paper revises the biographical data about Michel Foucault’s stay in Poland in 1958-1959. The main inspiration comes from the recent very well documented literary reportage book by Remigiusz Ryziński, Foucault in Warsaw. Ryziński’s aim is to present the data and tell the story, not to analyse the data within the context of Foucault’s work. This paper fulfills this demand by giving additional hypotheses as to why Polish authorities expelled Foucault from Poland and what the relation was between communism and homosexuality. The Polish experience, the paper compels, might have been inspiring for many of Foucault’s ideas in his Madness and Civilization, Discipline and Punish, and The History of Sexuality. On the other hand the author points to the fact that Foucault recognized the difference between the role of the intellectual in the West and in communist countries but did not elaborate on it. In this paper the main argument deals with the idea of sexual paranoia as decisive, which is missing in Foucault's works, although it is found in e.g. Guy Hocquenghem.

Author Biography

Piotr Sobolczyk
Piotr SobolczykAssistant ProfessorThe Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of SciencesPolandpsobolczyk@wp.pl

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Published
2018-10-22