Foucault and the Enigma of the Monster
(2013) International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, 26 (1), pp. 55-72.
In this paper Foucault’s thought on monstrosity is explored. Monsters appear whenever and wherever knowledge/power assemblages emerge. That which eludes the latter, and which threatens to subvert them, is the monstrous. Foucault distinguished the production, throughout history, of juridical-natural monsters, moral monsters, and political monsters. In this paper it is argued that Foucault must have sensed that monstrosity eludes all notions of identity and difference, and therefore also the notion that places it ‘outside’. It is the space of emergence itself, i. e. the location where sheer potentiality becomes the possible of and in the event. All monstrosity is therefore deeply, and inevitably, political. It is the promise of unsettling subversion.
Foucault; Limits of Thought/Thought of Limit; Monster, Monstrous, Monstrosity; Normalization device; Political emergence