Paper Titles in Periodical
International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences
ILSHS Volume 48

Subscribe to our Newsletter and get informed about new publication regulary and special discounts for subscribers!

ILSHS > ILSHS Volume 48 > The Philosophical Language of Death and Power
< Back to Volume

The Philosophical Language of Death and Power

Full Text PDF


This article is concerned with understanding the relationship of philosophical languages of death with the social philosophy of Michel Foucault. Foucault’s theoretical tools ‘make sense’ of languages of death in institutions such as care homes. While our responses to death and dying would seem to be very personal and therefore individually determined, they are, in fact, greatly influenced by the beliefs of individuals and “experts” who work in institutions providing care. Therefore, this article not only examines the limitations of bio-medicalized languages of death and dying, but importantly emphasises the importance of Foucault’s conceptual tools to methodologically interrogate how death is managed in institutional care.


International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences (Volume 48)
J. L. Powell, "The Philosophical Language of Death and Power", International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, Vol. 48, pp. 160-170, 2015
Online since:
February 2015

Aries, P (1981) The hour of death. New York Alfred A Knopf.

Armstrong, D (1983) Political Anatomy of the Body: Medical Knowledge in Britain in the Twentieth Century, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Bauman, Z (1992) Survival as a Social Construct, Theory, Culture and Society, 99: 136.

Christ, C (1993) Painting the Dead: Portraiture and Necrophilia in Victorian art and poetry in S. W. Goodwin and E. Bronfen (eds) Death and Representation (pp.131-151) Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.

Crossley, N. (2001) The Social Body: Habit, Identity and Desire, London, Sage.

Biggs, S and Powell, J (2000) Surveillance and Elder Abuse: The Rationalities and Technologies of Community Care, in Journal of Contemporary Health, 4, 1, 43-49.

Biggs, S and Powell, J (2001) A Foucauldian Analysis of Old Age and the Power of Social Welfare, Journal of Aging & Social Policy, 12, 2, 93-112.

Bloor, M and McIntosh, J (1990) Surveillance and concealment, in Cunningham Burley, S and McKegany, N (Eds. ) Readings in Medical Sociology, London: Routledge.

Brooke-Ross, R (1986) quoted in Langan, M and Lee, P (Eds. ) (1988) Radical Social Work Today, London: Unwin Hyman.

Clough, R (1988) Practice, Politics and Power in Social Service Departments, Aldershot: Gower.

Hadley, R and Clough, R (1996) Care in Chaos, London: Cassel.

Davidson, A. (1986). Archaeology, Genealogy, Ethics, in Hoy, D (Ed. ). Foucault: a critical reader. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Foucault, M (1965) Madness and Civilization, London: Tavistock.

Foucault, M (1973) The Birth of the Clinic, London: Routledge.

Foucault, M (1977) Discipline and Punish, London: Penguin.

Foucault, M (1978) The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1, London: Penguin.

Foucault, M (1982) The subject of Power, in Dreyfus, H and Rabinow, P (Eds. ) Michel Foucault: beyond structuralism and hermeneutics, Brighton: Harvester.

Goffman, E (1968) Total Institutions.

Gervins, K. G (1986) Redefining Death. New York Haven: Yale University Press.

Giddens, A (1991) Modernity and Self-Identity, Cambridge: Polity.

Hawkins, A. H (1990) Constructing Death: three pathographies about dying, Omega 22, 4: 301-17.

Howarth, G. Death and Dying : A Sociological Introduction, Cambridge, Policy Press.

Kastenbaum, R (2005) Death, Society and Human Experience (9th Edition) Boston: Allyn and Beacon.

Kastenbaum, R (1988) Safe Death in the Postmodern World, in A. Gilmore and S. Gilmore (eds) A Safer Death, London, Plenum.

Luckmann, T (1967) The Invisible Religion: The Problem of Religion in Modern Society: New York: Macmillan.

McManners, J (1981) Death and the Enlightenment, Oxford, New York, Oxford University Press.

Mellor, P. A. and Shilling C (1993), Modernity, Self-Identity and the Sequestration of death , Sociology . Vol 27.

Morgan, D. H. J and Scott, S (1993) Bodies in a social landscape, in D.H. J Morgan and S. Scott (eds), Body Matters : Essays on the sociology of the body, London: The Falmer Press.

Powell, J. L and Biggs, S (2000) Managing Old Age: The Disciplinary Web of Power, Surveillance and Normalization, Journal of Aging & Identity, 5 (1), 3-13.

Powell, J. L (2001) Theorizing Gerontology: The Case of Old Age, Professional Power and Social Policy in the United Kingdom, Journal of Aging & Identity, 6, 3, 117-135.

Powell, J. L (2005) Social Theory and Aging, Rowman and Littlefield: Lanham.

Powell, J.L. (2012). Foucault. Nova Science: New York.

Seifert, J (1993) Is brain dead' actually death, The monist in the International Journal of General Philosophical inquiry, 76, 175-202.

Shildrick, M (2002) Embodying the Monster: Encounters with the Vulnerable Self, London, Sage.

Shilling, C (1993), The body and social theory London Sage.

Turner, B. S (1991) Religion and Social Theory, London: Sage.

Walter T (1993) Death in a New Age, Religion 23, 2: 127-145.

Walter, T (1999) On Bereavement, OUP.

Welch, M (2005) Ironies of Imprisonment, London: Sage ( Received 12 February 2015; accepted 19 February 2015 ).

Show More Hide
Cited By:
This article has no citations.