Foucault News

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

Gramsci and Foucault: A Reassessment

The ideas of these two towering thinkers of the 20th century, Gramsci and Foucault, have all too often fallen into opposing camps. Radhakrishnan (1987) argues that Foucault’s understanding of the subject remains philosophical, while Gramsci’s continual interrogation of the relation between the individual and the group allows for concrete political theory and action. Richard Day’s “Gramsci is Dead” (2005) meanwhile attacks the whole notion of hegemony from a Foucauldian perspective. Scott Lash (2007) argues that ‘power over’, in contemporary society, has become post-­‐hegemonic, suggesting a more Foucauldian conception of ‘power from within.’ The noted neo-­Gramscian Stephen Gill (Griffiths 2009), meanwhile, has drawn substantially on Foucauldian notions of panopticism to develop his new concepts of disciplinary neo-­liberalism.

Are these two thinkers really as opposed as a simplistic humanist/antihumanist comparison might suggest, i.e. “the imprisoned leader of the Italian communist party and the anticommunist campaigner for reform of the penal system” (Ekers and Loftus 2008). Is it, as Barnett would have it, that “marxist and Foucauldian approaches “imply different models of the nature of explanatory concepts; different models of causality and determination; different models of social relations and agency; and different normative understandings of political power” (Barnett, 2005:8). Or is it merely that the two thinkers focused upon differing aspects of a wider picture that do not exclude each other: does Foucault’s concentration upon the micropolitics in society that adds up to and constitutes the central figure of the State undermine and discount, or complement and mirror Gramsci’s concentration on the hegemonic reach of that centre out into the minutiae of social relations?

This book sets out to deliberate in detail some of the issues, linkages, dissonances, and potential harmonies between the work of these two great thinkers, in search of tools of socio-­‐political and critical analysis for the 21st century. Contexts as various as human geography, online social networking, political economy, critical theory and beyond are welcomed for a rich and lively collection.

Abstracts are invited from all interested parties towards a full proposal to Ashgate Publishing who are interested in this book. Subject to successful review, full chapters will be expected by 30th September 2012, with a view to publication by Ashgate Publishing in 2013.

Important Dates

Deadline for Abstracts : 31st December 2011

Deadline for Full chapters : 30th September 2012 Publication: 2013.

Potential authors should send their abstracts to Dr David Kreps with a clear indication of which part of the book their abstract is aimed at, and a brief personal biog. Following review chapters will then be invited from those whose abstracts most closely coalesce into an interesting book.

One thought on “Gramsci and Foucault: A Reassessment. Call for chapters (2011)

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