Foucault News

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

Chaves, E. The Art of Not Being Quite So Governed: An Examination of the Work of the “Critical” Journal (2013) New Political Science, 35 (3), pp. 507-521.

Further info

Michel Foucault in his lecture “What is Critique?” argues that criticism offered a response to the state’s developing art of governing in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Instead of accepting the state’s way of governing, critics presented alternative visions of not being quite so governed or of not being governed thusly. Similarly, in the latter half of the twentieth century, factions within academic disciplines also rejected their disciplines’ mode of governing and created alternatives. In response to the desire to make political science more relevant and visible, the Caucus for a New Political Science formed as an alternative to the American Political Science Association. A similar trend occurred in other disciplines. Over the next few decades a number of academic journals were founded that included the word “critical” in their titles or explicitly stated a “critical” aim or approach. However, even dissenting academic groups, like the Caucus for a New Political Science, began to be reabsorbed within their disciplinary homes. With time, many of these groups succumbed to a degree of professionalization that perhaps inhibited their larger aspirations. As Foucault argues, the critical attitude does not reject governing altogether; it is not a call for anarchy. Rather, it demands an alternative to the current governance. The question becomes how to maintain the critical attitude while also building alternative institutions. Does institution building attenuate critique? And what then is critique? This article reflects on these questions by providing a brief study of “critical” disciplinary reorganizations, with greater attention to the Caucus for a New Political Science and its journal, New Political Science.

DOI: 10.1080/07393148.2013.813702

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