Michel Foucault and Qualitative Research in Human and Social Sciences

Keywords: Foucault, qualitative research, humanities, ethnography, philosophy


In this article, I analyze the methodological contributions of Michel FOUCAULT, highlighting his affinity with qualitative strategies of research in the human and social sciences. I propose a theoretical study on the subject, working with historical and conceptual aspects of Michel FOUCAULT's methodology and its application to qualitative research. This text is organized into three analytical axes: a discussion of the methodological questions developed by Michel FOUCAULT; a correlation of his perspective with contemporary literature about qualitative research; and an analysis of the methodological design of his final research. I emphasize his decision to study problems from their "most singular and concrete forms." I explore the outline of his final research on the genealogy of the modern subject, analyzing the reasons for his methodological choices. Finally, I propose that the construction of relevant research problems, handled with detail and precision, and using classic research methods, contributed to the incisive impact of his work in the field of human and social sciences.


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Author Biography

João Leite Ferreira Neto, Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Brazil.

João Leite FERREIRA-NETO is professor in the graduate program in psychology of the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. He holds a PhD from the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo. He is author of "Psicologia, políticas públicas e o SUS" (2nd ed, 2017). He has coordinated studies about public health in Brazil, public policies, and psychologists’ training. Michel FOUCAULT's work is a major theoretical-methodological reference in FERREIRA-NETO's research projects. His current study is supported by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).