Although he is commonly described as a French philosopher, Foucault’s chair at the Colle`ge de France was in the ‘History of Systems of Thought’. His work covers an enormous variety of topics, ranging from the history of science and medicine to psychology, from the history of madness to that of the development of the modern penal system, and finally to that of sexuality and subjectivity. When he first achieved public celebrity in 1966 with Les Mots et les choses (The Order of things), his name was closely associated with the structuralism of the day; he is now more usually associated with a relativistic postmodernism. It is perhaps more accurate to see him as working in the tradition of the historical epistemology of Gaston Bachelard and Georges Canguilhem, which studies the historical breaks and discontinuities that allow the sciences to emerge from their pre-scientific and ideological past.