Foucault News

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

Vintges, Karen, Muslim women in the western media: Foucault, agency, governmentality and ethics, EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF WOMENS STUDIES Volume: 19 Issue: 3 AUG 2012, Pages: 283-298

further info

Abstract: This article compares the ways in which Saba Mahmood’s The Politics of Piety (2005) and Cressida Heyes’ Self-Transformations: Foucault, Ethics, and Normalization (2007), unlike current governmentality studies, employ the later Foucault’s ethical theory. By explaining the theoretical framework of the ‘middle’ Foucault (governmentality and agency) and the ‘later’ Foucault (ethics and agency) and then comparing Mahmood and Heyes’ use of Foucault’s work, it is argued that Mahmood and Heyes’ analyses, though thought-provoking and incisive, overlook aspects of Foucault’s later work, ultimately preventing them from offering productive ‘feminist strategies’. The author seeks to link this discussion to contemporary debates and analyses of agency, freedom and Muslim women in the media. The article concludes with an assessment of how Foucauldian feminist perspectives might be drawn on to establish effective ‘cross-cultural feminist strategies’, and closes by presenting a case of a cross-cultural media strategy aimed at countering the stereotypical images of Muslim women in the media.

Author Keywords: Agency; beauty culture; cross-cultural feminism; feminist (media) strategies; Foucauldian ethics; freedom practices; governmentality; Cressida Heyes; Saba Mahmood; media; Muslim women

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