Foucault’s critical dramaturgies
in Foucault’s theatres
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Beginning from his suggestion that seeing Samuel Beckett’s En attendant Godot in 1953 caused a ‘rupture’ in his thinking, this chapter pursues the significance of theatre and the theatrical metaphor in Foucault’s work in the mid- to late 1960s through the notion of a critical dramaturgy. Focusing especially on a lecture of 1967 later published as ‘Different Spaces’, in which Foucault distinguishes between utopias and heterotopias, the chapter shows how Foucault’s sense of theatre is informed by an understanding of spatial relations that may also be found in some of the key ‘scenes’ of his early books. Central to Foucault’s analyses across a series of works from this period is a sense of the effects of spatial relations upon an audience or spectator. This chapter frames this thinking against Foucault’s thought on representation in The Order of Things and points towards his account of the violence of public spectacle in Discipline and Punish.

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