How do those in power exercise that power over a state's citizens? French thinker Michel Foucault's 1975 work Discipline and Punish looks to answer this question by investigating the prison system. Foucault does not believe that the modern-day system developed out of reformers' humanitarian concerns. He argues that prison both created and then became part of a bigger system of surveillance that extends throughout society.
De Beauvoir's book charted the oppression of "the second sex" in terms never before seen in the academic world. Her most startling theory became a rallying cry for the feminist movement: "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman." She argued that gender identity was shaped by upbringing in a world ruled by men. A leading light in the existentialist movement, de Beauvoir applied the radical philosophy of personal choice and freedom to argue that women were subjugated in every area of life.
Frantz Fanon's Black Skin, White Masks offers a radical analysis of the psychological effects of colonization on the colonized. Born in 1925 on the island of Martinique - at the time a French colony - Fanon witnessed firsthand the abuses of white colonizers and the system's effects on his country. His revulsion was only confirmed later in life when he worked as a psychiatrist in Algeria, another French colony. Fanon's work played a pivotal role in the civil rights movements of the 1960s and was later taken up by scholars of postcolonialist studies.
"Don't waste money on this!"
Michel Foucault had already written extensively about medicine, madness, and prisons. But in the latter days of his career, he turned to the subject of sexuality, planning six volumes on the subject. He completed three before dying of an AIDS-related illness in 1984. Foucault's History of Sexuality Vol. 1 is a study of the evolution of cultural ideas about sex in the West since the end of the 17th century. Volume two looked at attitudes toward sex in ancient Greece; volume three investigated sex in ancient Rome.