Foucault News

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

Ostrowicka, H., Stankiewicz, Ł. The truths of business and the lies of academia: the order of discourse on higher education in Poland
(2019) Higher Education Research and Development, 38 (3), pp. 609-622.

DOI: 10.1080/07294360.2018.1545746

This article presents the results of an analysis of hierarchization strategies in public debate over unemployment among university graduates. The aim of the investigation was to grasp the way that discourse controls interact with one another to produce and reinforce a particular ‘truth’ about the university. The objects of our analysis were the ways of identifying the following places by the media actors: (a) the privileged positions from which the truth of a given social order is told and within which the common good may be expressed, and (b) the positions which are opposed to the latter and from which only a particular interest and ‘populist’ demands can be articulated. These two categories in the debate were successively filled by the following groups: entrepreneurs (bearing witness to the truth about the low level of instruction at universities) and the representatives of the social sciences and humanities defending themselves against these accusations. The diversity of argumentative strategies was revealed at the three levels of the order of discourse: hierarchization of responsibility, hierarchization of access to the truth, and hierarchization of interests. © 2018, © 2018 HERDSA.

Author Keywords
Discourse analysis; Foucault; media discourse; strategies of hierarchization

Xue Yujie, Camera above the Classroom, Sixth Tone, Mar 26, 2019

See also this article on the background of Sixth Tone magazine.

BEIJING — Jason Todd first discovered his school’s secret on the internet.

It was late September 2018, less than a month after high school had started. Jason was idly scrolling through his news feed on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo when he saw a trending hashtag — #ThankGodIGraduatedAlready — and clicked it.

Under the hashtag, someone had posted a photo depicting a bird’s-eye view of a classroom. Around 30 students sat at their desks, facing the blackboard. Their backpacks lay discarded at their feet. It looked like a typical Chinese classroom.

Except for the colored rectangles superimposed on each student’s face. “ID: 000010, State 1: Focused,” read a line of text in a green rectangle around the face of a student looking directly at the blackboard. “ID: 000015, State 5: Distracted,” read the text in a red rectangle — this student had buried his head in his desk drawer. A blue rectangle hovered around a girl standing behind her desk. The text read: “ID: 00001, State 3: Answering Questions.”

According to law professor Hu Lin, the lack of consent in the use of the surveillance systems creates an imbalance of power. “The schools hold the power to evaluate, punish, and expel,” he says. “The parents won’t sacrifice the students’ futures by standing up against the schools, which leaves the students in the most vulnerable position.”

Hu refers to the panopticon, a circular prison discussed by French philosopher Michel Foucault in his book “Discipline and Punish,” in which inmates are observed by a single watchman but cannot tell if and when they are being watched, forcing them to act as if they are always being watched. To Hu, using systems like CCS will have the same impact, encouraging students to simply act like they’re behaving.

Pensar con Foucault hoy
Compiladores: Agustín Colombo, Cristina López, Marcelo Raffin, UNSAM Edita, 2019

Michel Foucault murió en 1984 pero su obra no ha dejado de expandirse y suscitar interés y discusión. Con la publicación de los cursos dictados en el Collège de France entre 1970 y 1984, durante las últimas dos décadas, el interés de los estudios se desplazó hacia conceptos como los de gubernamentalidad y biopolítica. En el marco de las actividades desarrolladas en torno de los aniversarios de la publicación de Las palabras y las cosas y La voluntad de saber, el foco del debate se centró nuevamente en sus libros. Releídos en la actualidad, esclarecidos y enriquecidos por los aportes de Dichos y escritos, los cursos publicados y los materiales del “Fonds Foucault”, Pensar con Foucault hoy ofrece aristas inexploradas de esos libros, a la vez que los somete a la prueba del presente.

Philippe Sabot, Cesar Candiotto, Thiago Fortes Ribas, Cristina López, Tuillang Yuing Alfaro, Senda Sferco, Luciano Nosetto, Daniel Verginelli Galantin, Arianna Sforzini, Agustín Colombo, Orazio Irrera, Frédéric Gros, Marcelo Raffin, Luis Félix Blengino, André Duarte y Maria Rita César

Progressive Geographies

Shakespeare.jpgI have three upcoming talks on Shakespeare.

The first is the Fourth Denis Cosgrove lecture in the GeoHumanities, to be given at the British Academy on 23 May 2019, 6.30pm. I was asked to speak about the Shakespearean Territories book, and I will say something about that, but I’m also going to go a bit further with this work on Shakespeare and geography, and think about landscapes figure, or don’t, in some of his plays. I’ll speaking about King Lear, Macbeth and Timon of Athens, with some mention of other plays. The lecture and drinks reception are both free, but registration is required.

I’ll then be giving two papers on the oath in Shakespeare, drawn from what I hope will be a longer manuscript. There will be a bit of overlap between the two, but hopefully not much. The first will a plenary lecture to the Association for Philosophy…

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Institut français de recherche sur le Japon
Published on Jun 18, 2018
Conférence donnée à la Maison franco-japonaise le 21 mai 2018

Conférenciers : Mathieu POTTE-BONNEVILLE (ENS Lyon, Institut français), Patrice MANIGLIER (univ. Paris Nanterre)
Modérateur: Mathieu CAPEL (UMIFRE 19- MFJ)

Dans la préface qu’il rédige en 1972, pour la réédition de son Histoire de la folie, Michel Foucault se moque gentiment de la prétention de l’auteur à définir d’avance la manière dont ses livres seront reçus : « Je suis l’auteur ; regardez mon visage et mon profil ; voici à quoi devront ressembler toutes ces figures redoublées qui vont circuler sous mon nom… ». De fait, plus de trente ans après sa disparition, l’image de la pensée de Foucault a profondément changé et sa transformation se poursuit, pour quatre raisons au moins :

– Le corpus des textes publiés et des archives accessibles ne cesse de s’étendre (modification que la publication du quatrième volume de L’Histoire de la sexualité, Les Aveux de la chair, accentue fortement cette année) ;
– L’histoire des courants intellectuels et des débats politiques qui ont environné son œuvre se précise, faisant apparaître d’autres découpes et d’autres filiations (ainsi la question de l’appartenance de Foucault au structuralisme, discutée de son vivant, apparaît rétrospectivement sous un nouveau jour) ;

– Les questions que l’actualité du XXIe siècle met au centre de la discussion incitent à relire autrement ses textes. Elles incitent à se demander ce que devient la lecture que Foucault propose du pouvoir (à l’heure du retour des politiques de puissance), quel usage faire de sa réflexion sur la gouvernementalité (alors que le néolibéralisme s’impose) ou sur la littérature (à l’ère de l’autofiction) ;

– Les usages que les chercheurs contemporains font de Foucault dans de nombreux domaines (de la philosophie à la sociologie, de l’anthropologie à l’esthétique) contribuent à lui donner une nouvelle signification.

S’interroger sur le devenir de l’œuvre de Foucault au XXIe siècle, ce n’est donc pas tracer le profil d’une œuvre enfin définitive, mais une constellation d’interprétations en mouvement. C’est un tel panorama, nécessairement provisoire, que nous tenterons de proposer au travers de ce dialogue à deux voix.

Editor: After the terrible news of the fire and because the banner of Foucault News is an image of Le Stryge, one of the chimera on top of Notre-Dame, I am reposting the photo below which appeared on the Facebook page of La Cinémathèque française. The fate of the chimera is as yet unclear. This article on the BBC news site lists what has survived and what hasn’t.

Claude Mauriac in his memoir Le Temps Immobile describes watching Maurice Clavel, the journalist, playwright and author lecturing on Foucault at Notre-Dame, praising his anti-humanist Kantian stance in The Order of Things. (David Macey, The Lives of Michel Foucault, Penguin Random House, p.192)

Donations are already flooding in to rebuild the cathedral.
Déjà plus de 750 millions d’euros de dons pour reconstruire Notre-Dame, L’Obs, 16 April 2019

An interesting and beautifully written philosophical and moral reflection with the signature ‘Un curé de campagne en visite à Paris’, provoked by the experience of being in Paris during the fire.
Sauvons la cathédrale du cœur. Pour un autre usage de Notre-Dame-de-Paris, Lundimatin, 16 April 2019.

What interested me in the article below was not so much the account of Donald Trump’s latest exploits as the description of the technical expertise needed to fight the fire.
Experts deride Trump’s Notre Dame firefighting advice as ‘risible’, The Guardian, 17 April 2019.
Guillermo Rein, professor of fire science at Imperial College in London, praised the work of the French firefighters.

“The fire brigade had to be aggressive fighting the big roof fire with the aerial ladders designed for high-rise buildings, but at the same time be gentle with the vulnerable structure of the stone vaults and walls. They did a fine job, and how they tackled this fire will probably be studied in the years ahead.”

With thanks to Luca Paltrinieri for posting the three informative links above on his Facebook page.

Charles Laughton in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

Progressive Geographies


Bruno Latour’s Où atterrir?, Mariana Valverde’s study of Michel Foucault, now in paperback, and Ernst Kantorowicz, Oeuvres – which i mainly got for the biography by Alain Boureau. Also in the pile is a second-hand copy of Foucault’s L’ordre du discours – and the Collège de France publication of that lecture. I had no idea that the latter actually existed until recently, when I was alerted to differences between the versions. The original is very hard to find. I plan to make a systematic comparison of the two texts – which is why I’ve bought a copy of the Gallimard version to mark up. When I do, I’ll post about it here – previous such textual comparisons can be found here.

L'ordre du discours.jpg

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Miller, E.R., Gkonou, C. Language teacher agency, emotion labor and emotional rewards in tertiary-level English language programs (2018) System, 79, pp. 49-59.

DOI: 10.1016/j.system.2018.03.002

Research on language teacher agency and language teacher emotions has demonstrated that both are central components of teacher identity and practice. However, few researchers have explored the co-constitutive effects of agency and emotion for language teachers or the role of emotion labor in producing emotional rewards. This article addresses these underexplored components of language teaching through reporting on the findings of a qualitative study with language teachers in tertiary settings in the U.K. and the U.S. The study drew on language teachers’ questionnaire (n = 30) and semi-structured interview (n = 25) responses in identifying the most common emotions experienced by these teachers and how their relationships with students engendered emotion labor as well as emotional rewards. We consider these aspects of teacher experience in terms of discourses of teaching-as-caring and Foucault’s (1983) concept of ethical self-formation. © 2018 Elsevier Ltd

Author Keywords
Emotion labor; Ethical self-formation; Teacher agency; Teaching-as-caring

Ringer, D., Carothers, C., Donkersloot, R., Coleman, J., Cullenberg, P.
For generations to come? The privatization paradigm and shifting social baselines in Kodiak, Alaska’s commercial fisheries
(2018) Marine Policy, 98, pp. 97-103.

DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2018.09.009

This paper presents results from a study that explored a key threat to fisheries sustainability in Alaska – the graying of the commercial fishing fleet. In the Kodiak Archipelago region this research utilized a political ecology framework and mixed methods ethnography, including 70 semi-structured interviews and participant observation, to further understand this problem. Study results suggest that opportunities for young rural fishermen are increasingly constrained by interrelated socioeconomic and cultural barriers, which have created systemic equity and sustainability concerns. Furthermore, research indicates that the privatization paradigm of fisheries access is a major catalyst of change that has created and amplified barriers, transformed opportunity, and generated lasting inequities and social conflict. Foucault’s concept of governmentality is used to describe how some fishermen are internalizing and normalizing privatization discourses to advance further regulatory change. Pauly’s concept of shifting baseline syndrome is evoked to argue that current structures of degraded access and equity in the human fishery system are mistakenly assumed to be a natural state, rather than a result of a specific history of public policy choices. Due to the suite of challenges facing fishing people and communities, it is increasingly important to acknowledge the privatization of access as a key threat to sustainable coastal fishing futures. © 2018 The Authors

Author Keywords
Alaska; Fisheries privatization; Governmentality; Individual transferable quotas (ITQs); Kodiak; Shifting baseline syndrome

Index Keywords
baseline conditions, commercial activity, fishery economics, fishery management, future prospect, governance approach, privatization, quota system, sustainability; Alaska, Kodiak Island, United States

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