Foucault News

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

Tom Roach, Friendship as a Way of Life: Foucault, AIDS, and the Politics of Shared Estrangement, SUNY Press, 2012, ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3999-0

Develops Foucault’s late work on friendship into a novel critique of contemporary GLBT political strategy.

Borrowing its title from a 1981 interview of Michel Foucault, Friendship as a Way of Life develops the philosopher’s late work on friendship into a novel critique of contemporary GLBT political strategy. Tom Roach brings to life Foucault’s scant but suggestive writings on friendship (some translated here for the first time), emphasizing their ethical implications and advancing a new and politically viable concept—friendship as shared estrangement. In exploring the potential of this model for understanding not only social movements such as ACT UP and the AIDS buddy system, but the literary and artistic work of Hervé Guibert and David Wojnarowicz as well, Roach seeks to reclaim a politics of friendship for queer activism. The first book devoted exclusively to Foucault’s work on the subject, it reassesses Foucaultian queer theory in light of the recent publication of the philosopher’s final seminars at the Collège de France. Its provocative thesis returns Foucault’s concept of biopower to its home in sexuality studies and places queer theory front and center in current biopolitical debates.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Between Friends
1. A Letter and Its Implications
2. An Ethics of Discomfort
3. Ontology Matters
4. Labors of Love: Biopower, AIDS, and the Buddy System
5. Common Sense and a Politics of Shared Estrangement
Epilogue: Whatever Friends

Tom Roach is Assistant Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies at Bryant University.

Tom Roach discusses his book in a podcast

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