Michel Foucault has long been considered one of the most powerful critics of modern civilization. He is especially noted for his analysis of power which many readers claim is an absolute rejection of modernity as unfree. In contrast, Thomas L Dumm reads Foucault as a philosopher of freedom. Dumm shows how Foucault connects the constitution of space with various practices of freedom. Foucault, he suggests, enables us to see how contemporary liberalism's separation of public and private spheres aims to preserve freedom but ultimately contains it.
Ranging from Foucault's earliest work to his final interviews, Dumm brings the work of Foucault's middle period - from Discipline and Punish to the first volume of The History of Sexuality - into play with thinkers such as Isaiah Berlin and Primo Levi to shed new light on complex and problematic situations in the late modern age. Throughout, Dumm aims to show how Foucault is always aware of the ways in which `we are freer than we think we are'.