Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Foucault fiches de lecture

Editor: I posted an earlier notice about this project in 2018. Considerable progress has been made since then and material is now available online.

This website open to all Internet users and hosts digital versions of Foucault’s reading notes (from the Foucault archives at the Bibliothèque nationale de France). One is able to search for terms (title word, author name, word from a bibliographic reference). The work is in progress, but already includes a lot of archival material.

Présentation du projet

Le projet Foucault Fiches de Lecture (FFL) a pour but d’explorer et de mettre à disposition en ligne un large ensemble de fiches de lecture de Michel Foucault (1926-1984) conservées à la BnF depuis 2013. Ce corpus de plusieurs milliers de feuillets contient une collection considérable de citations et de références, organisées et commentées par Foucault pour la préparation de ses livres et de ses cours. Il ne s’agira pas seulement de rendre accessibles les sources du philosophe, mais de contribuer à l’élaboration d’une herméneutique philosophique, reposant sur l’analyse des pratiques documentaires et des styles de travail de Foucault.

Le projet FFL vise un double objectif :

numériser, décrire et mettre en ligne les fiches de lecture de Michel Foucault se rapportant à la préparation de ses livres, cours, conférences, etc. (fiches conservées, depuis 2013, au département des Manuscrits de la BnF) – corpus jamais exploré systématiquement jusqu’à présent, et qui offre un accès inédit, notamment, à l’archive des projets de livre abandonnés (tels les volumes annoncés, en 1976, de l’Histoire de la sexualité) ;

permettre, par là, une nouvelle approche de l’œuvre de Foucault, fondée sur l’analyse des pratiques de lecture du philosophe et des cheminements de pensée qu’elles aident à retracer. Il ne s’agit donc pas seulement de reconstituer la « bibliothèque virtuelle » des ouvrages de Foucault, afin d’offrir au chercheur des possibilités nouvelles de circulation entre les auteurs cités, les thèmes et les notions, mais de contribuer, par cet outil, à l’élaboration d’une herméneutique philosophique prenant en compte la matérialité des gestes de lecture, à travers les différents « styles » de travail (en deçà des « styles » d’écriture) expérimentés au cours des années.

La plateforme FFL-EMAN, véritable espace d’exposition des documents de travail du philosophe, permettra à la communauté scientifique et plus largement au public de participer à ce projet d’envergure.

Un premier lot de trois boîtes, soit 1 855 feuillets, est d’ores et déjà disponible sur ce site. Le corpus final sera constitué de 25 boîtes dont l’inventaire est disponible ici. Les images numérisées seront à terme également consultables dans Gallica.

Nous vous remercions de nous signaler tout problème de consultation en utilisant le formulaire de contact.

Ce projet financé par l’ANR (2017-2020) et coordonné par Michel Senellart et Laurent Dartigues (laboratoire Triangle, ENS Lyon), bénéficie des partenariats de l’ENS/PSL et de la BnF.

Retrouvez toute l’actualité du projet FFL sur le carnet de recherche Foucault Fiches de lecture.

Progressive Geographies

28405100266740LSignés Foucault & cie, edited by Philippe Artières, Editions de la Sorbonne, 2020

I’d missed news of this until I saw a copy at the BnF bookshop. It’s a little and cheap €5 collection of manifestos and open letters signed by Foucault and others. Very few of these were included in Dits et écrits, since the editors didn’t include a piece which Foucault hadn’t written. But he did add his name to a lot of things, some of which I listed in ‘The Uncollected Foucault‘ a few years ago. But several of these I didn’t know about – it’s very good to have them in one place.

À partir de 1968, Michel Foucault s’essaye à un répertoire d’actions sous la forme de signature de pétitions et autres lettres ouvertes. Le présent volume en donne à lire les principales, qu’il cosigna jusqu’à sa mort prématurée en 1984…

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Maynard, Kevin, Foucault on the Wards. Rediscovering Reflection as a Social Pediatrician in Training, Academic Medicine: October 15, 2019

DOI: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000003042

Open access

Abstract
The author states that as a second-year medical student with a liberal arts degree, it is often difficult for him to reconcile his former education with the current demands of his training. Although the medical curriculum acknowledges the importance of a biopsychosocial model, the prioritization of knowledge remains the same: know your biological, pharmacological, and anatomical facts. However, the author’s experience with a social pediatrics research summer studentship moved him beyond this basic sciences mindset and provided a practical framework for the application of his liberal arts training. The experience was twofold: he worked on a research project while simultaneously shadowing a pediatrician twice a week. His project applied a Foucauldian critical discourse analysis to an archive of texts that sought to better characterize the term social pediatrics. The author concludes that the thought-changing reflection, mentorship, and concrete clinical experiences made possible by the summer studentship expanded his worldview.

İbrahimhakkıoğlu, F.
A Feminist Genealogy of the Lived Body? Rethinking the Gendered Body as a Site of Excess and Indeterminacy
(2019) Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 50 (4), pp. 324-336.

DOI: 10.1080/00071773.2019.1610830

Abstract
This essay offers a rethinking of the gendered body as both lived and historically constituted. These two dimensions are sometimes seen as irreconcilable, especially by some proponents of post-structuralism who are critical of phenomenology. My contention is that when approaching gender, Merleau-Ponty’s paradoxical formulation of the body as “always something other than what it is” can accompany a genealogy of the body. The body, as excessive, indeterminate, and ambiguous in Merleau-Pontian phenomenology, is at the same time the very object and product of certain techniques and procedures developed since the nineteenth century, as Foucault documents. Not only are phenomenology and genealogy compatible in this context, but thinking them together is necessary in order to illuminate the multi-faceted complexity of the embodiment of gender. The weight of this necessity is especially felt when approaching sexual violence, which tends to take place at the very intersection of the body-as-lived and the body-as-constituted. © 2019, © 2019 The British Society for Phenomenology.

Author Keywords
Foucault; gender; Merleau-Ponty; Phenomenology; the body

Alan Ingram, Viral geopolitics: biosecurity and global health governance, In Biosecurity: The Socio-Politics of Invasive Species and Infectious Diseases, Edited ByAndrew Dobson, Kezia Barker, Sarah L. Taylor, Routledge, 2013

This chapter examines tensions surrounding the development and reworking of global health governance in response to concerns about emerging infectious diseases since the 1980s. It focuses in particular on how tensions have emerged at the intersections between technologies of government – what, following Michel Foucault, may be termed apparatuses of security – that have been created in response to newly formed infectious disease epidemics and struggles over the international political economy. The widespread adoption of the term ‘global health governance’ can be understood as a result of a convergence between struggles over globalisation and growing unease about emerging infectious diseases. The intensification and expansion of international trade and travel, combined with environmental change, population growth, urbanisation and shifts in farming practices, is generally understood to have transformed the ecological matrix within which humans, animals, plants and microbes co-exist and co-evolve. The intensified interactions and transactions associated with globalisation are commonly understood to have heightened the risk of disease emergence into human populations and its subsequent spread. In response to these quantitative and qualitative shifts in epidemiological space and time, materialised through a series of infectious disease outbreaks and epidemics. Health bureaucrats, scientists, politicians, activists, and corporate and military entities have collaborated and struggled over the creation of new organisations, networks and strategies, fostering the emergence of the field of global health (Lakoff and Collier, 2008).

In a lecture course given at the Collège de France in the late 1970s, Michel Foucault (Foucault, 2007) described the consolidation of such clusters of institutions, rationalities, tactics and technologies in response to crisis or emergency situations as the formation of apparatuses or mechanisms (words that provide an approximation to the word dispositif that Foucault used) of security. In an interview given around the same time, Foucault elaborated further on what he meant by this term: What I’m trying to pick out with this term is, firstly, a thoroughly heterogeneous ensemble consisting of discourses, institutions, architectural forms, regulatory decisions, laws, administrative measures, scientific statements, philosophical, moral and philanthropic propositions – in short, the said as much as the unsaid. Such are the elements of the apparatus. The apparatus itself is the system of relations that can be established between these elements.

Black, A., Lumsden, K.
Precautionary policing and dispositives of risk in a police force control room in domestic abuse incidents: an ethnography of call handlers, dispatchers and response officers
(2020) Policing and Society, 30 (1), pp. 65-80.

DOI: 10.1080/10439463.2019.1568428

Abstract
This article explores the riskwork engaged in by call handlers, dispatchers and response officers in a police force control room in England. We present a novel approach by drawing on the work of Foucault and his concept le dispositif to study riskwork in policing in a post-austerity landscape and to develop the analytical concept of ‘precautionary policing’. Dispositional analysis allows us to focus on social dispositions or inclinations and to demonstrate how these arrangements affect social interaction and organisational behaviour. We draw on data collected via ethnographic fieldwork focusing on domestic abuse incidents in a police force control room in England.

The findings focus on: (1) organisational technologies of risk, which guided and surfaced staff actions and decision-making; (2) riskwork to mitigate and manage threats and harm to victims and the public; and (3) riskwork relating to the professional decision-making of individual staff and officers. In addition to bringing the risk tools and artefacts ‘into being’ through their (inter-)actions, for staff, these technologies are a safety net to justify practices. They erode opportunities for officer discretion, particularly in relation to responses to domestic incidents. Therefore, despite policy discussions of the need to reduce officers’ risk aversion and reduce unnecessary bureaucracy, a risk averse culture still pervades. Uncertainty becomes a justification for pre-emptive action by officers and staff before risks become known, and demonstrates a shift to precautionary policing practices which do not follow the blueprints of risk management. © 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Author Keywords
Domestic abuse; precautionary policing; risk; victims

Borck, C. (2019). Cooperation and Critique in Neuroscience: Loops of Feedback Between Philosophy, the Psy Sciences and Neurophenomenology. Le Foucaldien, 5(1), 8.

DOI: 10.16995/lefou.57

Open access

Abstract
In the long history of tenuous relations between psychology, psychiatry and philosophy the rise of neuroscience is typically regarded as decisive turn towards biological reductionism. Roughly since the turn of the millennium, however, the story has become more complicated. The emergence of social and cultural neuroscience seemed to indicate a new trend toward interdisciplinary cooperation across the nature-culture divide. Situating the emergence of this transdisciplinary agenda in the longer history of biologicalization in psychiatry and neuroscience, however, allows differentiating a mere rhetoric of bridging between neuroscience and humanities from conceptually more stringent studies such as in neurophenomenology. While some actors developed sophisticated experimental settings here for mediating between opposing approaches, others contributed by performative interventions, as critique comes in different forms and formats. In effect, these different lines of work keep the question regarding human nature open; certainly not the least achievement.

Keywords: critical neuroscience, historiography, socio-political contextualization, francisco varela, human nature, dissensus

LIVE! From City Lights
STAFF PICK – Foucault in California (2020)

Podcast

(From April 2019) Heather Dundas in conversation with David Wade celebrating the release of Foucault in California : A True Story—Wherein the Great French Philosopher Drops Acid in the Valley of Death by Simeon Wade, Foreword by Heather Dundas, and published by Heyday Books.

In The Lives of Michel Foucault, David Macey quotes the iconic French philosopher as speaking “nostalgically…of ‘an unforgettable evening on LSD, in carefully prepared doses, in the desert night, with delicious music, [and] nice people.'” This came to pass in 1975, when Foucault spent Memorial Day weekend in Southern California at the invitation of Simeon Wade—ostensibly to guest-lecture at the Claremont Graduate School where Wade was an assistant professor, but in truth to explore what he called the Valley of Death. Led by Wade and Wade’s partner Michael Stoneman, Foucault experimented with psychedelic drugs for the first time; by morning he was crying and proclaiming that he knew Truth.

Foucault in California is Wade’s firsthand account of that long weekend. Felicitous and often humorous prose vaults readers headlong into the erudite and subversive circles of the Claremont intelligentsia: parties in Wade’s bungalow, intensive dialogues between Foucault and his disciples at a Taoist utopia in the Angeles Forest (whose denizens call Foucault “Country Joe”); and, of course, the fabled synesthetic acid trip in Death Valley, set to the strains of Bach and Stockhausen. Part search for higher consciousness, part bacchanal, this book chronicles a young man’s burgeoning friendship with one of the twentieth century’s greatest thinkers.

Muchnick, J.R.
Wrestling with the Heterotopia: Jordan Burroughs and His Post-Match Interview at the 2016 Olympics
(2020) Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, 14 (1), pp. 35-46.

DOI: 10.1080/17511321.2018.1531056

Abstract
This essay applies Michel Foucault’s conception of the heterotopia to the context of the sport of wrestling. In particular, it examines the social and spatial structures of the sport, exploring homophobia and masculinity in a wrestling context as well as analyzing the physical and theoretical space of the wrestling mat. This groundwork is used to inform a reading of an interview given by American wrestler Jordan Burroughs after being eliminated from the 2016 Olympics. After examining this interview as occurring somewhere on the fringes of the heterotopia, between the space of the athlete and that of the spectator, this essay attempts to link a Foucauldian understanding of the athletic arena to a framework of athletic defeat as a self-transformative endeavor.

Author Keywords
defeat; Foucault; Heterotopia; masculinity; wrestling

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