2. History of Madness

  1. Christopher Falzon2,
  2. Timothy O'Leary3 and
  3. Jana Sawicki4
  1. Colin Gordon

Published Online: 5 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118324905.ch2

A Companion to Foucault

A Companion to Foucault

How to Cite

Gordon, C. (2013) History of Madness, in A Companion to Foucault (eds C. Falzon, T. O'Leary and J. Sawicki), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118324905.ch2

Editor Information

  1. 2

    University of Newcastle, Australia

  2. 3

    University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

  3. 4

    Williams College, USA

Author Information

  1. Birkbeck College, United Kingdom

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 FEB 2013
  2. Published Print: 12 MAR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444334067

Online ISBN: 9781118324905



  • Classical Age;
  • consciousness;
  • Foucault;
  • History of Madness (HM)


The History of Madness (HM) is Michel Foucault's first major work, his longest single work, and the work that established his reputation in France. Foucault distinguishes four distinct components or forms of consciousness of madness: (1) the critical: the normative judgment which distinguishes and sanctions madness in its difference from reason or sanity; (2) the practical: an attitude of collective demarcation and exclusion of the deviant from a group; (3) the enunciative: the act of recognizing individuals as mad and identifying them as such; (4) the analytic: reflection on the nature and forms of manifestation of madness. Foucault thinks that the experience of madness in the Classical Age is characterized by a dissociation between the first two elements, on the one hand, and the latter two on the other.