Foucault: The Aspects Of Unnormality And Normality

2465 Words10 Pages
Disaster is often defined as an extreme event that leads to loss of lives, property or damage and which is beyond the coping capacity of the population.
Thus disasters have often been viewed as ‘abnormal’ events that disturb the peace and harmony of ‘normal’ life. But this distinction between what is normal and what is abnormal is not as clear as it seems, quite like the distinction between abnormality and normality of the human mind that Foucault describes in Madness and Civilisation. As by labelling others as mad, we have come to understand who is normal, similarly, it is as if by declaring something as a disaster we have come to understand what normal life means. Also what is termed abnormal depends on the overall conditions of the society at that time and hence it is important to look at it in context and not in isolation.
According to Foucault, how madness was dealt with was never static; it was ever changing depending on the kind of society that existed during that time. Initially, madness was looked at as something that needed to be kept away from society, in its fringes, yet never truly thrown away. This is evident in his description of the ‘ship of fools’, wherein the madmen were sent out to sea on seemingly long voyages, most often never to return, but never confined. They moved from one town to the next, wherever the waters led them and hoped to find solace away from the confines of society and its conception of normalcy. Then in the seventeenth century came the

More about Foucault: The Aspects Of Unnormality And Normality

Open Document