21. Infamous Men, Dangerous Individuals, and Violence against Women

Feminist Re-readings of Foucault

  1. Christopher Falzon2,
  2. Timothy O'Leary3 and
  3. Jana Sawicki4
  1. Chloë Taylor

Published Online: 5 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118324905.ch21

A Companion to Foucault

A Companion to Foucault

How to Cite

Taylor, C. (2013) Infamous Men, Dangerous Individuals, and Violence against Women, in A Companion to Foucault (eds C. Falzon, T. O'Leary and J. Sawicki), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118324905.ch21

Editor Information

  1. 2

    University of Newcastle, Australia

  2. 3

    University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

  3. 4

    Williams College, USA

Author Information

  1. University of Alberta, Canada

Publication History

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

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444334067

Online ISBN: 9781118324905



  • dangerous individuals;
  • Foucault;
  • infamous men;
  • Pierre Rivière;
  • violence against women


Focusing on Foucault's work on “infamous men” and the “dangerous individual,” this chapter argues that there are other instances in Foucault's oeuvre in which he is similarly insensitive to violence against women, although these cases have drawn less critical attention. The two-fold aim of the chapter is, first, to examine what is at stake for Foucault in his writings on infamous men and dangerous individuals whose infamy and dangerousness involved violence against women, and, second, to problematize Foucault's failure to attend to gendered power relations in these texts. Foucault's most sustained consideration of a monomania diagnosis concerns the case of Pierre Rivière. The chapter argues that some of the aspects of existence that Foucault fails to see in his dogged focus on what he reads as agonistic medical-iegal battles and power relations between men include the family, gender relations, the victimization of women and children, suffering, and love.