Rather than going away as an issue, the Scull versus the Foucauldians debate seems to be spreading. It seems odd to me that people are willing to get worked up over this issue. Afterall, standard periodizations of Foucault's work place The History of Madness outside his developed periods; viz., the archaeological, the genealogical, and the problematization. That is, within the Foucauldian corpus itself, The History of Madness is an outlier (not unlike his commentary on Kant's anthropology, his book on Roussel, or the disavowed Maladie mentale et personnalité). The question, then, appears not to be about the place of The History of Madness in Foucault's own oeuvre - a concept that should no doubt be question by anyone who takes Foucault's work seriously - but, rather, about what "Foucault," that is to say "Theory," signifies in the context of (primarily) (North) American disciplinary politics. (Although, it is worth pointing out that comparing passages from the "Nietzsche, Genealogy, History" essay with The History of Madness is, at best, strange - it is wrong-headed to criticize a non-genealogical work for not being genealogical!) Scull is engaged in a territorial pissing match with rivals. His concern, it seems to me, is to reject the work of Foucauldians by nit-picking Foucault's major dissertation. (I guess it is easier to take on a dead guy's dissertation than it is to take on work published by Nik Rose twenty years ago.) Predictably, the "Theory" warriors - themselves derivative hacks of the worst sort - are all to happy to jump into Scull's boat in an effort to push their own agenda within the narrow perspective of American English departments.
(Cross-posted from theoria.)