Foucault News

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

Lucia Ozorio : La praxis du commun dans la production de la connaissance. Afrique, Amérique du Sud et Europe, L’Harmattan – Avril 2021

Cet ouvrage interpelle qui entend repenser et éclairer le commun dans le champ des sciences humaines. Il s’inscrit dans la lignée d’A. Negri, M. Hardt et, avant eux, de Deleuze, Guattari et Foucault. Porteurs de savoirs universitaires, ces chercheurs et praticiens, réfutant le partage entre théorie et pratique, ont voulu créer un espace commun construit sur l’altérité. Ici la connaissance émerge, « jaillit » du terrain de recherche, de la multiplicité des vies et des subjectivités étudiées. Les expériences menées se veulent des réponses concrètes à portée d’action. À travers la multiplicité des textes et des disciplines, le lecteur entrevoit différents modes de résister sur trois continents. Car la question est bien celle de la construction d’un monde plus égalitaire et plus humain grâce à la praxis du commun, principe dynamique qui conteste l’ordre établi.

Lúcia Ozório est docteure en sciences de l’éducation, post-docteure en psychologie sociale, professeure, psychanalyste et chercheuse associée aux laboratoires Experice (Univ. Paris 8-Paris 13) et Lipis (Univ. PUC, Brésil).

‘What I am trying to do is the history of the relationship that thought maintains with truth, the history of thought insofar as it is thought about the truth. All those who say that for me truth doesn’t exist are simple-minded.’

Michel Foucault. (1996) [1984]. The concern for truth. In Foucault Live. collected Interviews, 1961-1984. Sylvère Lotringer (Ed.). New York: Semiotext(e), p. 456. DE IV, no.350 p.669. Translation modified.

Julian Castronovo, Palantir’s Picture of Michel Foucault, or How to “Discipline and Punish” Brooklyn Rail, May 2021

The new all-seeing overlords have read the theory. There is a bewildering photograph in a recent New York Times Magazine article on the controversial and secretive tech company Palantir. The scene is this: four figures appear at the center of an unnatural vignette, lit as if by some secret source of light. They are gathered around a table, their attention directed towards the screen of a laptop. Each is smartly and casually dressed, all have kicked off their shoes in favor of just socks. The leftmost, standing figure is Alex Karp, Palantir’s CEO. The others, seated at the table, are his employees. Behind and slightly above this group there is, hanging on the office wall, a large framed portrait of a man with wire-framed glasses and a face like a skull. The subject of this portrait, more or less instantly recognizable as he is pictured here—left hand resting beneath his outsize head, ambivalent gaze seemingly directed out at us—is Michel Foucault.

There is an astonishing dissonance to such a choice in corporate wall art. Karp, who has built a company that by its own description enables “more effective surveillance by the state of its adversaries” has hung up, ostensibly as a source of workplace inspiration, the face of the theorist who warned that visibility is a trap, that generalized surveillance is a mode of power that works not upon bodies but, as a political tactic, upon souls. Why would a privatized operation of seeing, created in order to “target terrorists and to keep soldiers safe” display, as if it were a motivational poster, this enduring (if somewhat equivocal) symbol of resistance to such forms of power?
[…]


Catelli, Laura; Rodríguez, Manuela; Lepe-Carrión, Patricio et al (2021). Condición poscolonial y racialización. Una propuesta colectiva, transdisciplinaria y situada. Editorial Quellcasqa.

Open access

Introduction [extract]
In el ámbito latinoamericano y caribeño, la racialización ha sido una marca constante en los proce-sos imaginarios, sociales, políticos y económicos asociados a distintos ciclos históricos: desde las invasiones europeas y el período colonial, a las gestas independentistas criollas, los proyectos identitarios nacionales, regionales y continentales, al avance del imperialismo norteamericano,las relaciones y lógicas de mercado neoliberales, y más recientemente a un recrudecimiento del racismo como tecnología política de la mano del capitalismo salvaje, mediante sofisticados dispositivos de seguridad nacional.
[…]

Progressive Geographies

Sémir Badir, Magritte et les philosophes – Les Impressions Nouvelles, May 2021

” L’œuvre de René Magritte est extrêmement populaire, c’est sûr. Pourtant, parmi les spécialistes de l’histoire de la peinture, beaucoup affichent à son égard un certain dédain. Mauvaise peinture, ose-t-on dire. Images triviales, tours de passe-passe dispensables. Chacun pense ce qu’il veut mais je crois que ces critiques montrent qu’on n’a pas compris l’intention centrale attachée à cette œuvre. Car un travail de la pensée la traverse ; j’irais jusqu’à dire que l’œuvre de Magritte est cela même : l’exercice d’une pensée, d’une pensée en images. Le dédain vient de ce qu’on n’a pas véritablement envisagé ce que signifie « penser en images ».

Dans ce livre, je propose une enquête. En m’appuyant très largement sur les dits et écrits de Magritte recueillis après sa mort, et qui ont accompagné les tableaux tout au long de leur…

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Why the Left Needs Foucault
BY ROBERT A. KIPPES, CounterPunch, APRIL 30, 2021

The relationship between the philosophy of Michel Foucault and Marxism has been contentious since the 1970s. Notably, Jean-Paul Sartre accused Foucault’s thought as being “the last barricade the bourgeoisie can still erect against Marx.” The reason is simple: he rejects the onto-teleological claim of Marxism and the reduction of all conflict to class conflict. Instead, there are a multiplicity of arenas in which struggles can vie for position: domains of sexuality, health, delinquency, and so on. But for Marxist political movements, this doesn’t mean Foucault is useless or, worse, detrimental. On the contrary, Foucault’s philosophy is more useful to the Left than is commonly considered by their pundits, while they continue to dismiss the value of his work to the detriment of their own purported goals, however noble they may be.
[…]

La règle du jeu, n° 72: “Michel Foucault, penseur d’aujourd’hui”

Amazon link

« On devrait tout lire, tout étudier. » Telle fut la méthode, telle fut aussi l’ambition que se fixa Michel Foucault : traquer, partout dans la société, les mécaniques de pouvoir et de discipline ; identifier les expériences-limites qui forment l’ADN de notre civilisation ; établir une micro-physique des normes qui pèsent sur un individu ; se demander comment les hommes peuvent opposer des résistances à la gouvernementalité qui les façonne ; s’interroger sur la naissance des savoirs ; questionner le rôle des artistes à travers l’histoire… Bref, composer une œuvre hétéroclite et immense, recommencée d’un livre à l’autre depuis son point de départ, qui, parce qu’elle obéit à une précision méticuleuse, suscite chez son lecteur un immense vertige.

Tantôt archéologue, tantôt généalogiste, philosophe historien ou historien philosophique, Michel Foucault n’en demeure pas moins un penseur d’aujourd’hui. Et ce dossier réunira des textes qui, chacun à leur manière, tenteront de montrer que le présent fait écho à ses écrits. Il y sera question, à partir de Foucault, des prisons, de la médicalisation du pouvoir, de la surveillance des individus, du néolibéralisme, de la place de l’homme dans l’économie du monde, ou encore du travail des artistes.

John Iliopoulos, “Foucault Understood Critical Psychiatry.” BJPsych Advances, 2021, pp. 1–10.
doi:10.1192/bja.2021.22

Summary
Critical trends in psychiatry are abundant today. Their impact on how psychiatry is currently practised is considerable. Yet what deserves close examination is the extent to which these modes of critique (anti-psychiatry, liberation movements, activism, existential, narrative or hermeneutic approaches, theories of values, psychoanalysis) inherently belong to or have become part of the very system that they criticise. Despite their political, social or scientific influence, which is undeniable, their critical power is often limited by their inability to radically challenge the deeper anthropological and philosophical presuppositions on which mainstream psychiatry rests. It can be argued that Foucault offers such a challenge. Implementing his historico-philosophical method, Foucault is sceptical of the anti-psychiatric quest for non-oppressive modes of psychiatric power and the humanist and postmodern efforts to moralise or relativise psychiatric truth. All these modes of critique rest on preconceived notions of nature, power and truth and have been integrated by the pluralism of the psychiatric universe. Yet Foucault’s critique seeks precisely the opposite: to explore a new anthropological conception of insanity that has the power to challenge the legal, moral or reductionist constraints under which medical truth currently operates.

Keywords
Critical psychiatry Foucault enlightenment theory of values anthropology

Magee, P (2020) ‘Alternative futures for the creative writing doctorate (by way of the past)’, TEXT: Journal of writing and writing courses 24, 1
Open access

Abstract
This paper contributes to the project of mapping alternative futures for the creative writing doctorate, by way of deep excavation into the history of scholarly forms. A key aim is to undermine the apparent necessity of an exegetical component to any current creative writing doctoral portfolio. To this end, the paper attempts to think through those traditions of humanities scholarship that have long assumed the presentational forms of novelistic and poetic art. It has a specific eye to works in the post-structuralist tradition, in particular those of Michel Foucault, the scholarly writer whom Georges Canguilhem saw fit to label a ‘poet’ in the course of examining the doctorate that we would come to know as Histoire de la folie. The paper asks why that naming makes intuitive sense. A philosophical engagement with Anthony Grafton’s work on the form and origins of the footnote suggests that normative scholarly texts are ruled by a bifurcation between what is said and the story of how one came to say it, a story offered there at the bottom of the page, or in some other like apparatus or mode. The self-justificatory functions associated with the footnote are minimised in Foucault’s and his peers’ work, just as they are banished from art itself. In their place, if anything, we find strategies devised for the fomenting of doubt, that have the emotional and intellectual effect of making knowledge the responsibility of the reader. In other words, a form of creative intellectual work without exegetical documentation is not only possible in humanities scholarship, it is a feature of some of the most valorised work in the field. Could we not take our bearings from there?

Author Keywords
Creative writing doctorate; Epistemology; Footnotes; Foucault; Poetics

Sheehey, B.
Ethics beyond transparency: Resisting the racial injustice of predictive policing
(2020) Techne: Research in Philosophy and Technology, 24 (3), pp. 256-281.

DOI: 10.5840/techne202087128

Abstract
This paper responds to recent work highlighting the problematic racial politics of predictive policing technologies. Drawing on Michel Foucault’s account of ethics as counter-conduct, I develop a set of ethical techniques for resisting the racial injustice at work in predictive policing. This framework has the advantage, I argue, of not reducing the ethical issues of predictive policing solely to epistemic concerns of transparency. What I suggest is that we think about the ethics of technology less as an epistemic problem than as a problem for action or practice. By thinking of ethics in terms of resistant practices, we can begin to consider a notion of responsibility that holds us and the technologies we bind ourselves to accountable for the harms created by this bond. © 2020 Philosophy Documentation Center. All rights reserved.

Author Keywords
Algorithms; Ethics; Foucault; Predictive policing; Racial injustice

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