Programmed by Arnaud Lambert
On June 15, 1966, Michel Foucault was the guest of Pierre Dumayet, host of the great literary program of the time, Lecture pour tous. The publication, a few weeks earlier, of his book The Order of Things was the editorial event of the year and a real bookstore success! The program was an opportunity for Foucault to explain to a large audience the break that contemporary thought was experiencing with structuralism. Inspired by the revival of anthropology and linguistics, Foucault seeks to study our culture in its strangeness.
A word from Tënk
This interview is an excellent representation of the vitality and polemic tone of intellectual discussions in the 1960s. Foucault, standing in for the moment as the spokesperson for structuralism, describes the iconoclastic bottom line of this revolutionary way of thinking, then at its apogee in 1966: after the death of God, now comes the time of Man’s dismissal. Man, the subject of his story, acting in full consciousness of his actions, master of himself and the world, is, for Foucault, “only a recent invention, a figure who hasn’t even existed for two centuries, a simple wrinkle in our history.” These words all but drove the nail into the intellectual coffin of Jean-Paul Sartre, that “man of the 19th century”, champion of humanism and engagement. From that moment on, it was time to build groundbreaking new systems, moral options and policies.