An examination of relations between war and politics
From 1971 until his death in 1984, Michel Foucault taught at the Collège de France, perhaps the most prestigious intellectual institution in Europe. Each year, in a series of 12 public lectures, Foucault sought to explain his research of the previous year. These lectures do not reduplicate his published books, although they do have themes in common. The lectures show Foucault ranging freely and conversationally over the implications of his research.
In Society Must Be Defended, Foucault deals with the emergence in the early 17th century of a new understanding of society and its relation to war. War was now seen as the permanent basis of all institutions of power, a hidden presence within society that could be deciphered by an historical analysis. Tracing this development, Foucault outlines a genealogy of power/knowledge that was to become a primary concern in his final years.