Michel Foucault (1926-84) was a French philosopher, social and intellectual historian, and renowned cultural critic. He was born in Poitiers, the son of upper-middle-class parents. He went to Paris after World War II where he was admitted to the esteemed École normale supérieure in 1946. There he received his agrégation in philosophy in 1952 under the guidance of Georges Canguilhem. Like many other French intellectuals in the 1940s and 1950s, Foucault, at the suggestion of Louis Althusser, became a member of the French Communist Party in 1950, but he left the party in 1953.