Foucault News

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

Call for Papers: The body productive: A one-day conference about capitalism, work and the body

How are bodies produced under capitalism?

How, in turn, does capitalism make bodies productive?

How is the body (and knowledge of the body) shaped by demands of production, consumption and exchange, and how can these logics be resisted, challenged and overcome?

These are the questions at the heart of François Guéry and Didier Deleule’s Productive Body. First published in French in 1972, The Productive Body asks how the human body and its labour have been expropriated and re-engineered through successive stages of capitalism. The Productive Body challenges us to rethink the relationships between the biological and the social; the body and the mind; power and knowledge; discipline and control. Finally, it invites us to think about the body as a site of resistance and revolutionary potential.

At this one-day, interdisciplinary conference, we invite scholars and activists to assess the contribution of The Productive Body, and to address its relevance as a theoretical tool for understanding and challenging contemporary ideologies of bodily health, efficiency and productivity.

We invite submissions from scholars, activists and artists for 20-minute papers, or 10-minute provocations on the relationships – past and present – between capitalismwork and the body. Collaborative papers are welcome, and proposals for longer workshops and panel discussions will also be considered. Please contact the organisers if you are unsure. Proposals that explore or are inspired by any of the following areas are welcome:

  • Critical responses to Guéry and Deleule – the biological, the social, and the productive
  • Materialist vs. discursive approaches to the history of the body
  • Conceptualising discipline in Marx and Foucault
  • The body as an object of discipline vs. the body as a site of dissent
  • The psychology and corporeality of activism, organising and resistance
  • Hierarchies of gender and race in the division of labour
  • (Re)productive bodies; intimate and emotional labour, sex work, body work
  • How are ideas of health and disability shaped by the demands of wage labour?
  • How do queer bodies disrupt or challenge logics of productivity? How are queer bodies in turn, commodified or appropriated by capital?
  • How do the demands of productivity complicate/interact with the body as a site of intimacy?
  • Biopolitics and neoliberalism
  • Body-machines – technology and automation; robotics, cybernetics and transhumanism; digital surveillance, ‘lifelogging’ and the ‘quantified self’
  • Counterproductive bodies: pre-capitalist, non-capitalist, and post-capitalist bodies

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to thebodyproductive@gmail.com by 24th August 2018. Submissions are especially encouraged from graduate students, early-career researchers, and groups typically underrepresented in the academy.

Perhaps the role of the philosopher, the role of philosopher at present, is not to be a theoretician of totality, but the diagnostician, if you will allow me to use this word, the diagnostician of today.

Raymond Aron and Michel Foucault, (2007) Dialogue, Paris: Nouvelles Editions Lignes, p. 22. This passage trans. Clare O’Farrell

Madness and Civilisation. Exhibition by Kudzanai Chiurai. Mail and Guardian, 11 May 2018

Madness and Civilisation: Kudzanai Chiurai’s ongoing interest in the cyclical nature of struggle, liberation and freedom is brought to light in Madness and Civilisation. The exhibition takes its title from Michel Foucault’s book, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. For Chiurai, the ideas in this work relate to a central concern of his: Was the colonial project of “cultural disarmament” so effective that Africa will never be able to imagine a future that has not been predetermined by its colonial past? 

Details: The exhibition takes place until May 12 at the Goodman Gallery, 176 Sir Lowry Road, Foreshore, Cape Town. Admission is free.

Gender Abolition, Michel Foucault, and Marxism-Leninism, Revolutionary Left Radio, Jul 8, 2018.

Alyson Escalante joins Brett to discuss gender nihilism, Marxist feminism, Judith Butler, Leninism, trans liberation, Foucault, social media discourse, and much more!

Emerson Maione, O justo e o verdadeiro: uma genealogia da justiça de transição pela análise da parceria entre o international center of transitional justice e a onu. Tese de doutorado em Ciência Política. Universidade Federal Fluminense, 2017.

Esta investigação propõe como objetivo a identificação e análise das procedências histórico-políticas dos discursos acerca da Justiça de Transição (JT) e a emergência dos principais discursos críticos contemporâneos formulados sobre esse tema. Levantamos a hipótese de que estas procedências de saber somadas às instâncias que institucionalizam o tema no plano global formam uma estratégia, uma tática política, associada a um dispositivo heterogêneo que demonstra como o conjunto constituído, no início dos anos 1990, por julgamentos, busca pela verdade, reformas institucionais e reparações, passou por modificações e deslocamentos contínuos. Para traçar estas mudanças usamos uma abordagem genealógica que visa destacar as lutas e disputas políticas e de saber ao redor do objeto e que visam, portanto, governa-lo politicamente e dar-lhe significado. Destacamos como a Justiça de Transição torna-se uma empreitada global, a partir do início do século XXI, com a tentativa de ONGs e da ONU de institucionalizá-la através de diretrizes internacionais e das chamadas “melhores práticas”, que buscam estabelecer parâmetros para a sua “aplicação”. Considera-se que a Justiça de Transição constitui-se como tática de uma governamentalidade planetária mais ampla, associada ao dispositivo diplomático-policial próprio à ecopolítica. Seguindo as sugestões de Michel Foucault, destacamos como os dispositivos seriam formados por um conjunto heterogêneo que engloba elementos discursivos e não discursivos. Assim, compreende-se a Justiça de Transição como um conjunto de saberes, organizações, experts, políticos, financiadores, entre outros, que funciona não necessariamente para fazer valer a “justiça” e a “verdade”, mas para estabilizar e pacificar países pós-transicionais ou pós-conflitos de acordo com interesses múltiplos. A articulação entre a tática JT e os dispositivos de governamentalidade planetária é estudada a partir da análise da parceria entre a ONG International Center of Transitional Justice e a Organização das Nações Unidas.

Palavras-chave: Justiça de Transição; Genealogia; Michel Foucault; Dispositivo; ONU; ICTJ.

Emerson Maione, THE RIGHTFUL AND THE TRUTHFUL: AN GENEOLOGY OF TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE THROUGH THE ANALYSIS OF THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE INTERNATIONAL CENTER OF TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE AND THE UN. PhD Dissertation in Political Science. Fluminense Federal University, 2017.

This research aims to identify and analyze the historico-political origins of the discourses that coalesce around transitional justice and the emergence of the main contemporary critical discourses. As a hypothesis we suggest that these knowledge frameworks together with the organizations that institutionalize transitional justice on the global stage constitute a strategy, a political tactics associated with a heterogeneous dispositif. This tactics show how the set formed, in the early nineties, by the search for truth and justice, institutional reforms and reparations has been through continuous modifications. To trace these changes we use a genealogical approach that aims to highlight the political and knowledge disputes around the object that at the same time seeks to govern it and give it meaning. We trace how transitional justice, from the early twentieth first century on, became a global enterprise due to the initiatives of NGOs and the UN to institutionalize it through international guidelines and the so-called “best practices”, which establish frameworks for its “application”. In this work, Transitional Justice is seen as a tactics of the diplomatic-police dispositif which is part of a broader planetary governmentality, known as ecopolitics. Following the suggestions of Michel Foucault, dispositifs are formed by a thoroughly heterogeneous ensemble consisting both of discursive and non-discursive elements. Thus, it is argued that this set of knowledges, organizations, experts, politicians, and funders is not necessarily concerned with “truth” and “justice”, but aims to stabilize and pacify post-transitional or postconflict states in line with a variety of interests. The articulations of the TJ tactics with the dispositifs of the planetary governmentality is done through the analysis of the partnership between an NGO, the International Center of Transitional Justice, and the Organization of the United Nations.

Keywords: Transitional Justice; Genealogy; Michel Foucault; Dispositif; UN; ICTJ.

To receive the portuguese version, please send an e-mail to: emerson.maione@ufrj.br

Progressive Geographies

The publication of Foucault’s courses from the 1950s and 1960s has been planned for some time, and now his 1964 course from Clermont-Ferrand La sexualité is listed as forthcoming in October 2018. Limited details at the moment, but here are the listings on Amazon, Cultura, Decitre and Fnac. It’s coming out with Seuil in the Hautes Etudes series, but is not yet on their website. I‘d previously heard this would be paired with a 1969 course from Vincennes on a related topic, but it is now listed as followed by ‘Le discours de la sexualité’. I’ll share more details if and when I hear them, or please add any other information in comments.

Update: Thanks to Daniele Lorenzini for confirming that there are two courses in this volume – the 1964 Clermont-Ferrand one, and the 1969 course from Vincennes Le discours de la sexualité. Claude-Oliver Doran…

View original post 13 more words

Pussy Riot’s Masha Alyokhina aims to fire up D.C.’s freedom fighters with a book and a play – The Washington Post By Sadie Dingfelder October 18, 2017

Editor: old news

A member of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot, Maria “Masha” Alyokhina spent nearly two years in a Siberian prison camp for singing a song in a Russian Orthodox Church that accused religious authorities of collaborating with the KGB and asked the Virgin Mary to drive away Vladimir Putin.
[…]
While in the area, Alyokhina will also appear in a play, “Burning Doors,” that interweaves scenes from political prisoners’ lives with quotes from Fyodor Dostoevsky and Michel Foucault. Performed in Russian and Belarusian with English subtitles, the play includes actual physical violence and meta-commentary — including a mid-play Q&A with Alyokhina. We had our own questions for her.

read more

Robotic Doves Circling over Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon, Hans Sluga’s blog
[…]

Our society has developed much further into a surveillance society since Foucault published his book and certainly since Bentham wrote his treatise on the panopticon in the late 18th century. This has not escaped the attention of social scientists and there exists now an extensive literature on the topic of surveillance. For all that, we still need to reflect much more on this theme.
A useful stimulus to this end comes from a new report on a further step in the development of surveillance drones in the form of robotic birds. In the US, Europe, and China this development is well advanced.
[…]

‘In the Western imagination, reason has long belonged to terra firma. Island or continent, it repels water with a solid stubbornness: it only concedes its sand. As for unreason, it has been aquatic from the depths of time and that until fairly recently. And more precisely oceanic: infinite space, uncertain … Madness is the flowing liquid exterior of rocky reason.’

‘Dans l’imagination occidentale, la raison a longtemps appartenu à la terre ferme. Ile ou continent, elle repousse l’eau avec un entêtement massif : elle ne lui concède que son sable. La déraison, elle, a été aquatique depuis le fond des temps et jusqu’à une date assez rapprochée. Et plus précisement océanique : espace infini, incertain… La folie c’est l’extérieur liquide et ruisselant de la rocheuse raison.’

Michel Foucault, (1994) [1963] ‘L’eau et la folie’. In Dits et Ecrits vol. I. Paris: Gallimard, p. 268. [This passage translated by Clare O’Farrell]

Kerr, R.
The role of science in the practice of talent identification: a case study from gymnastics in New Zealand
(2018) Sport in Society, pp. 1-15. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/17430437.2018.1435032

Abstract
Talent identification is an example of a practice where ‘scientism threatens to engulf us all.’ Talent identification and development are areas where models perceived to be scientific have been uncritically adopted into sporting practice due to the belief that they represent best practice. In this article, I track the changing talent identification systems adopted in the sport of rhythmic gymnastics in New Zealand over approximately 20 years. The findings revealed that those in decision-making positions originally adopted the perspective of scientism in introducing a physical ability test which they perceived to have scientific value. However, scientific testing was later removed owing to the now empowered gymnastics coaches drawing on what Foucault referred to as local knowledge, acquired through their own experiences. Their experiences resulted in the coaches believing in the importance of what Latour described as social practices being more significant in talent identification than scientific testing. © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Index Keywords
article, decision making, drawing, human, human experiment, New Zealand, physical capacity, sport

%d bloggers like this: