Foucault News

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

Andrew Skourdoumbis, Scott Webster, The Epistemological Development of Education. Considering Bourdieu, Foucault and Dewey, Routledge, 2023 forthcoming

Book Description
This book documents the political and economic ramifications of the policy impetus for a “science of education” and what this means for classroom teachers, their teaching practices and for the field of education.

In a critical exploration of current research and policy articulations of the purposes of education, with attention given to Australia, the UK and the USA, this book delineates the evaluative mechanisms involved in the strategic science as method adoption of accountability, competitiveness and test-driven criteria used in major education policy. It brings together the disciplines of sociology and philosophy by drawing on the theoretical insights of Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu and John Dewey. In addition, the book argues for the deliberate use of the theoretical in education and is against the contemporary unquestioning advocacy that often accompanies a narrowly defined master narrative of a science of education.

This book will be of special interest to post-graduate students as source material in general education courses and is also intended for academics with an interest in educational theory/philosophy and the sociology of education.

Authors
Andrew Skourdoumbis is an associate professor of education. His research interests include teacher effectiveness research, critical policy analysis, teacher practice and educational performance, curriculum theory and research methodology. Andrew is interested in how reforms in the economy influence and impact teacher practice and the way that exacting methods of research govern teacher performance and effectiveness.

Scott Webster was formally an associate professor in education and currently works in the field of higher education within the area of higher degree research methodology. His areas of research include educational philosophy, curriculum theory, teacher education and spirituality. He has written and edited books such as Caring Confrontations for Education and Democracy, Educating for Meaningful Lives, Understanding Curriculum: The Australian Context, Theory and Philosophy in Educational Research and Rethinking Reflection and Ethics for Teachers. He has also published in various international education research journals and presented at various international conferences.

Beccaria et Foucault : Entre la préhistoire de la raison carcérale et la moralisation de la pénalité

Demi-journée d’études
Université Paris 8 | Département de philosophie
Vendredi 16 décembre 2022, 15h-18h, Salle A028

Programme :
– Orazio IRRERA (Université Paris 8 ) – Introduction
– Xavier TABET (Université Paris 8 ) – Foucault, un « nouveau Beccaria » ?
– Philippe AUDEGEAN (Université Paris Sorbonne) – La « grande leçon » de Beccaria : corriger et punir
– Gianvito BRINDISI (Università della Campania « Luigi Vanvitelli », Italie) – L ‘oisiveté politique entre bannissement et moralisation
Évènement organisé en collaboration avec le Département de Philosophie de l’Université Paris 8 Vincennes – Saint-Denis, le Laboratoire des Logiques Contemporaines de la Philosophie (LLCP, EA 4008), le Centre Michel Foucault et la revue « materiali foucaultiani »

Stuart Elden, The Archaeology of Foucault, Polity, 2022

On 20 May 1961 Foucault defended his two doctoral theses; on 2 December 1970 he gave his inaugural lecture at the Collège de France. Between these dates, he published four books, travelled widely, and wrote extensively on literature, the visual arts, linguistics, and philosophy. He taught both psychology and philosophy, beginning his explorations of the question of sexuality. Weaving together analyses of published and unpublished material, this is a comprehensive study of this crucial period. As well as Foucault’s major texts, it discusses his travels to Brazil, Japan, and the USA, his time in Tunisia, and his editorial work for Critique and the complete works of Nietzsche and Bataille.It was in this period that Foucault developed the historical-philosophical approach he called ‘archaeology’ – the elaboration of the archive – which he understood as the rules that make possible specific claims. In its detailed study of Foucault’s archive the book is itself an archaeology of Foucault in another sense, both excavation and reconstruction.This book completes a four-volume series of major intellectual histories of Foucault. Foucault’s Last Decade was published by Polity in 2016; Foucault: The Birth of Power followed in 2017; and The Early Foucault in 2021.

About the Author
Stuart Elden is Professor of Political Theory and Geography at the University of Warwick.

Reviews
“This final volume of Elden’s magisterial history offers a fascinating insight into Foucault’s life and work throughout the 1960s.”
Camille Robcis, Columbia University

“For we students of Foucault and avid readers of his books, the articulation with debates of the time and the reorientations of his thought seemed clear enough. What an illusion! Building on the new archive and testimonies with amazing intellectual empathy, Stuart Elden recreates the latent discourse. We can embark on a new reading and understanding of the great archaeologist of our culture.”
Étienne Balibar, author of On Universals

“Stuart Elden concludes his series on Foucault with another work of meticulous scholarship, unearthing archival sources, variants of Foucault’s publications, and links to his contemporaries in the exciting intellectual context of the 1960s.”
Clare O’Farrell, Queensland University of Technology

Bronwen M.A. Jones, Stephen J. Ball,
The neoliberal dispositif: understanding the transformation of the social and ethical space of education, In
Editor(s): Robert J Tierney, Fazal Rizvi, Kadriye Erkican,
International Encyclopedia of Education (Fourth Edition), Elsevier, 2023,Pages 60-69,

ISBN 9780128186299,
https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-818630-5.01009-5.

Abstract:
In this article we examine some of the difficulties that surround the understanding and use of the term neoliberalism. We consider different approaches to neoliberalization and review their value in making sense of the dramatic changes that have occurred in education worldwide. We employ Foucault’s notion of the dispositif to trace the way in which neoliberalism has transformed the social, cultural and ethical landscape of education. We suggest that the construct of the dispositif may prove to be a way forward in theorizing how neoliberalism works “out there” and “in there” as a form of governance.

Keywords: Accountability; Choice; Dispositif; Education; Foucault; Neoliberalism; Neoliberalization

Carmona, S., Casasola, A., Ezzamel, M.
Penal accountancy and the Spanish Inquisition
(2022) Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, art. no. 107031.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jaccpubpol.2022.107031

Abstract
In this paper, we examine how accounting and financial conditions mediated public policy processes of prosecution, punishment, and imprisonment in the Spanish Inquisition during the late 16th and early 17th Centuries. Foucault’s (1979) notion of penal accountancy addresses the extent to which punishment is proportionate to the offence; drawing on this notion, the paper asks two research questions. First, what form of penal accountancy was implicated in determining the punishments of offenders? Second, to what extent was penal accountancy malleable to the financial conditions of the Spanish Inquisition? We examine original archives and extant literature on the Spanish Inquisition and draw on the work of Foucault (1979, 1980, 2002) to address these questions. We show that the Spanish Inquisition operated with two modes of punishment; one similar to that of the Ancien Régime where punishment was public execution as sovereign revenge, and a differentiated system of illegality with a penal accountancy that graded punishment according to the severity of the offence. Our findings suggest that the financial and social status of individuals impacted inquisitorial decisions about prosecution, sentencing and imprisonment. Furthermore, we argue that during periods of resource availability sentencing offenders was dominated by religious/political concerns, if at the margin moderated to reflect the offenders’ social conditions. However, sentencing became malleable to shortages in finance whereby penal accountancy worked out equivalences between reduced or commuted sentences in return for money or reduction in prison costs. © 2022 Elsevier Inc.

French Philosophy Now
Philosophy Now. A Magazine of Ideas, Issue 153: December 2022 / January 2023

Manon Royet tells us what’s happening in French philosophy, and why you don’t know about it.

From Descartes and Voltaire, to Sartre and Foucault, French thought has long occupied a privileged seat in the world’s agora. René Descartes (1596-1650), for instance, is often referred to as ‘the Father of Modern Philosophy’ – which admittedly denotes a Eurocentric field of view that looks at history with blinkers. But twentieth century French thinkers such as Foucault, de Beauvoir, Barthes, and Derrida are also among the most influential voices of modern philosophy. In the West they are unavoidable cultural references for a vast array of academic disciplines, ranging from philosophy to history and sociolinguistics. Foucault viewed his project as a ‘Critical History of Thought’, and Derrida’s most famous work, Of Grammatology (1967) criticised some of the principles put forward by the founder of linguistics, Ferdinand De Saussure.

A few years ago, while writing on sociology, I was surprised to receive criticism for having omitted to include works by Michel Foucault in my bibliography. I was puzzled. My research did not engage with Foucault’s precepts: why, then, should he be referenced in it? It did not matter, the criticising academic said: the rule of thumb is that whenever one deals with any of the numerous themes that passed under Foucault’s scrutiny, he should be cited. This would cover topics as different as power, discourse, conformity, institutions… the list is long. But if this speaks to the statutory position of twentieth century French thought, it also highlights one thing: we don’t hear of new French thinkers anymore. Think about it. Could you name a French philosopher who is still writing?
[…]

What French philosophers have to say remains eminently political in substance. I mentioned Badiou’s stress on the emancipation of the masses and on political struggle. Jacques Rancière (b.1940) is another major contemporary French thinker who writes profusely about political philosophy. He deals extensively with what he calls ‘the part of those who have no part’. By this, Rancière means the enactment of equality by those who are in subjugated positions by vocalising their right to equal treatment. Rancière’s writings have all to do with the politics of recognition. In a similar vein to Badiou, he stresses the importance of public action, and fights political apathy.

Frédéric Gros, lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Paris XII, dedicated his latest book, Disobey (published in English translation in May 2021), to the dangers of political apathy and blind obedience to leaders. It urges the reader to use critical thinking in the face of a corrupt politics that gives free reign to the market: “At a time when ‘experts’ pride themselves on their decisions being the result of anonymous and icy statistics, disobeying is a declaration of humanity,” he writes.
[…]

Manon Royet is a philosophy writer, researcher and translator based in London. The thesis of her postgraduate degree at UCL on political philosophy focused on the theories of Jürgen Habermas and Chantal Mouffe. She specialises in questions of identity, multiculturalism in Europe, and their political solutions.

The West’s leading pseudo-intellectual
by Ammar Ahmad
The Michigan Daily, November 30, 2022

Jordan Peterson is a popular Canadian personality psychologist who has made quite a name for himself by preaching against the use of pronouns, arguing that they violate freedom of speech. In a CBC interview, he uses his spotlight moment to say “I don’t believe that other people have the right to determine what language I use” and that pronouns are “artificial constructions of people I regard as radical ideologues whose viewpoint I do not share.” These hefty accusations definitely initiated a wider public discourse, and Peterson was at the center of it all. But with a bit of cross-examination, it becomes evident that Peterson hasn’t done his research.
[…]

So, how did an individual such as Peterson become an international best-selling author? Arguably, his most famous work, “12 Rules for Life,” is a self-help journey that outlines crude laws that one must abide by. The rules include: “Stand up straight with your shoulders back,” “pet a cat when you encounter one in the street” and my favorite, “set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.” Peterson’s expressive and somewhat playful rules are supposed to envelop subtleties and nuanced observations about the human psyche. Analytically speaking, however, they offer little for those who are seeking some idiosyncratic metamorphosis. These watered-down Nietzschean aphorisms are Peterson’s way of spewing uninspired and underwhelming philosophy.

[…]
Sometimes, the poetic reactionary’s alarmism is not just perpetuated by his lack of mild research, but also by his blatant misconceptions. For instance, he attributes the resurrection of Marxism to the French philosopher, Michel Foucault. However, very early on in his career, Foucault overtly denounced Marxism.
[…]

L’écrivain Serge Livrozet, anarchiste et militant anti-carcéral, est mort à 83 ans
franceinfo: Culture 30/11/2022

Figure des milieux anarchistes, il fut l’un des meneurs des révoltes qui ébranlèrent les prisons françaises dans les années 70. Il s’est éteint chez lui dans la région niçoise, “des suites d’une longue maladie”, ont annoncé mercredi ses proches à l’AFP.

Il était une figure des milieux anarchistes et anti-carcéraux, du Comité d’action des prisonniers de Michel Foucault à Mai-68 et il avait participé aux débuts du quotidien Libération. Serge Livrozet est mort dans la région de Nice à 83 ans, ont annoncé mercredi ses proches à l’AFP. L’intellectuel s’est éteint “des suites d’une longue maladie”, ont-ils précisé, rappelant qu’il fut “l’un des meneurs des révoltes qui secouèrent les prisons françaises dans les années 1970”.

Plombier, perceur de coffres-forts, puis écrivain
Né le 21 octobre 1939 à Toulon, issu d’un milieu modeste, Serge Livrozet racontait avoir commencé à travailler comme plombier à 13 ans, avant de percer des coffres-forts : “Le seul moyen de sortir de ma condition sociale, c’était (de) prendre de l’argent là où je considérais qu’il y en avait trop”, déclarait-il dans un documentaire qui lui a été consacré en 2017, La Mort se mérite de Nicolas Drolc.

Parmi ses combats, il a participé à Mai-1968 et cofondé avec le philosophe Michel Foucault le Comité d’action des prisonniers, militant pour l’abolition des prisons. Il a fait partie des tout premiers fondateurs du journal Libération, qu’il a quitté très rapidement. Serge Livrozet est l’auteur d’une quinzaine de romans et d’essais, dont De la prison à la révolte et Lettre d’amour à l’enfant que je n’aurai pas (réédité en 2022 par L’Esprit frappeur). Par ailleurs, il est apparu au cinéma chez Laurent Cantet (L’emploi du temps en 2001).
[…]

LA MORT SE MÉRITE from LES FILMS FURAX on Vimeo.

Paul Du Gay, Thomas Lopdrup-Hjorth, For Public Service. State, Office and Ethics, Routledge, 2022

Book Description
This book develops a particular stance on the subject of public service. It does so in large part by indicating how early modern political concepts and theories of state, sovereignty, government, office and reason of state can shed light on current problems, failings and ethical dilemmas in politics, government and political administration.

Simply put, public service is an activity involving the constitution, maintenance, projection and regulation of governmental authority. Public service therefore has a distinctive character because of the singularity of its ‘official’ object or ‘core task’ – namely, the activity of governing in an official capacity through and on behalf of a state. In pursuing this activity, public servants – civil, juridical and military – have a range of tasks to perform. It is only once the nature of those tasks is appreciated that we are able to identify the unique character of public service. The authors employ early modern political concepts and doctrines of state, sovereignty, government, office and reason of state in order to critically analyse contemporary political issues and offer solutions to problems concerning the status and conduct of public service. This book aims to remind public servants of the status of their ‘calling’ as office-holders in the service of the state, a daunting task given the rising tide of populism and the widespread prevalence of anti-statist, bureaucrat-bashing political discourse. It stresses the governmental dimension of the work of public servants as occupants of official roles in the service of the state, in order to reinforce their legitimate position in articulating public interests against the excesses of private interests and intense partisanship that continue to dominate many societies.

This timely and thought-provoking book will be of great interest to those working within a range of fields in the humanities and social sciences, including political science, history, sociology, philosophy, organization studies and public administration.

Table of Contents
Introduction 1. The State 2. On Office 3. The Bureaucratic Vocation 4. Whatever Happened to ‘Administrative Statesmanship’? 5. Reason of State as an Official Comportment Conclusion: To Serve a State

Authors

Paul du Gay is Professor and Director of Research Impact in the School of Business and Management at Royal Holloway, University of London, Professor in the Department of Organization (IOA) at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, and Research Guest Professor at the Royal Danish Defence Academy. His research interests include organization theory, bureaucracy and the ethics of office. He is author, inter alia, of In Praise of Bureaucracy: Weber, Organization, Ethics (2000) and co-author of For Formal Organization: The Past in the Present and Future of Organization Theory (2016).

Thomas Lopdrup-Hjorth is Associate Professor in the Department of Organization at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. His research interests include the history and status of organization theory, contemporary and historical problematizations of office-holding, bureaucracy and the state and – more recently – the organization of security. His articles have appeared in numerous journals, including Organization, European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology and Journal of Cultural Economy.

Reviews
“Despite its sober title, this book makes a vivid intervention into contemporary debates over the nature and justification of the state’s public authority and the role played by public officials in its exercise. To do so, it launches a series of daring raids on early modern political thought, recovering a series of key concepts—state, sovereignty, office, and reason of state—in support of a crucial practical and political objective. This is nothing less than to deliver into the hands of contemporary statesmen and officials an almost lost ethical and political vocabulary, one that is vital for understanding and defending their roles in the face of a widespread and multi-faceted anti-statism. Paul du Gay and Thomas Lopdrup-Hjorth have thus written a tract for the times in the manner of their exemplars Thomas Hobbes and Samuel Pufendorf. By turns learned and passionate, historically informed and politically attuned, For Public Service delivers classical tools for thinking about public authority in a form suited to their immediate use by all those engaged in its exercise or dependent on it.”

Ian Hunter, Emeritus Professor of Intellectual History, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Queensland, Australia

“Impersonality, reason of state, prudence, ethics of office: if someone had told me that one of the most spirited and penetrating arguments for the ideal of public service would come from such a tired repertoire, I would have wished them good luck. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Resourcing themselves in the history of political thought, Paul Du Gay and Thomas Lopdrup-Hjorth breathe new life into a dusty constellation of concepts to remind us what there is to love about the state at a time when everyone seems eager to dismiss it. They argue that public service is not just about acting diligently in the public interest, but also about constituting and safeguarding the authority of the state, and they explain under what conditions such authority warrants our respect. Criss-crossing the fields of international relations, political sociology, intellectual history, public administration, and organizational theory, this brilliant book is a feast of erudition. Above all, it is a moving paean to the impersonal structure of offices we have inherited and to the civil servants whose vocation it is to keep it afloat, and whose primary merit is—against the incantations of new managerialism—to think well within the box.”

Bernardo Zacka, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

“This is a timely, scholarly, compelling and important book which defends the role of the public service as an essential institution for preserving liberty and protecting our common life against populist politicians from both the left and the right. Exercising the objective, critical detachment they seek to reinvigorate in the idea of public service itself, the authors remind us of the ethics of office and the importance of duty and responsibility, as distinct from the predominantly individualistic ethics of contemporary times. They explain the value of public bureaucracy as a crucial cornerstone of constitutional rule.”

Janet McLean QC, Professor of Law, University of Auckland, New Zealand

“This book is very compelling. It exhibits a critical ethical dimension in its defense of the plurality of value-spheres,  and its resistance to sweeping, ‘epochal’ critiques of modernity that suggest that there is nothing those of us who regret the decline of state service and its ethic can do but bemoan the misfortunes of our era. In providing a useable set of early modern ‘classics’ by whose lights we can rehabilitate key concepts of state, office, and reason of state, and thus escape both the post-1970s enervation of the state throughout the West and the unhelpfully totalizing (and thus paralyzing) critiques of the former by theorists of the left and right, it strikes me as a vital help to overcoming our collective impasse.”

Blake Smith, Harper Schmidt Fellow at University of Chicago Society of Fellows, USA

CRISIS AND CRITIQUE
Volume 9 / Issue 2, 25-11-2022
Edited by Agon Hamza & Frank Ruda

Open access

Introduction: Is Politics Possible Today? by Frank Ruda & Agon Hamza

Table of Contents

Politics Today: Thirteen Theses and Commentaries
by Alain Badiou

Rethinking Politics and Freedom in Anthropocene
by Wendy Brown

Technique as Politics
by Andrea Cavalletti

Thinking Life: The Force of the Biopolitical
by Andrew Benjamin

Is Politics Possible Today?
by Verónica Gago

Politics Today: ‘Only a Suffering God’ Can Help Us
by Saroj Giri

Is Politics Still Possible Today?
by Karl-Heinz Dellwo

The Will of the People and the Struggle for Mass Sovereignty: A Preliminary Outline’
by Peter Hallward

Politics is Intervention
by Christian Klar

Subjective Singularities
by Sylvain Lazarus

Politics at the Gateway of Nothingness: Liminal Times
by Álvaro García Linera

Immigration: A Major Issue in Politics Today
by Robert Linhart

The Revolution of the WethOthers (NosOtros)… Around a Theory of the Real for a Material Historical Politics of Our Times
by Ricardo Espinoza Lolas

Which Politics are Necessary in the Age of Ecological Crisis?
by Michael Löwy

In the Silences of the Catastrophe: From the Standpoint of Reproduction
by Natalia Romé

Can this War Be Thought of Politically?

by Claudia Pozzana & Alessandro Russo

Working through political organization: current results of the Subset of Theoretical Practice (2021-2022)
by Subset of Theoretical Practice

Is Politics Possible Today?
by Sophie Wahnich

The Left and (New) Antisemitism: The Palestinian Question and the Politics of Ressentiment
by Zahi Zalloua

Three Fragments on Suicide as a Political Factor
by Slavoj Žižek

Politics Today: Interview with Wolfgang Streeck
by Frank Ruda & Agon Hamza

Workerist Marxism: Interview with Antonio Negri
by Frank Ruda & Agon Hamza

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