Michel Foucault (October 15, 1926 – June 25, 1984) was a French philosopher who held a chair at the Collège de France, which he gave the title The History of Systems of Thought. His writings have had an enormous impact on other scholarly work: Foucault's influence extends across the humanities and social sciences, and across many applied and professional areas of study.
Foucault is known for his critiques of various social institutions, most notably psychiatry, medicine, and the prison system, and also for his theories on the history of sexuality. His general theories concerning power and the relation between power and knowledge, as well as his ideas concerning "discourse" in relation to the History of Western thought, have been widely discussed and applied. Foucault was also critical of social constructs that implied an identity, from the identity of male/female and homosexual to that of criminals and political activists.