Foucault News

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

Antonio Negri, A Marxist experience of Foucault

Colloque Marx-Foucault, Nanterre, 18-19 December 2014
Translation by Arianna Bove

1. The question I will ask today is simple: how have I tried, how has it been possible, in my work, to read Marx with and after Foucault? I would like to present a brief analysis of this experience. To do it, I had to position and arrange axes of Marx’s reading around a dispositive of subjectivation retraced on Foucault, a dispositive from which I will try to demonstrate how it is possible to apply it to our present, how it imposes an adequate ontology. Inversely, if reading Marx means nourishing a radical will of transformation of historical being, Foucauldian subjectivation must be confronted with this determination.

a. Today it seems to me that on the basis of Foucault’s intuition and conclusions, the highly historicized tone and the style of Marx’s critique of political economy need to be neatly installed within a materialist approach. Thus, evidently, reading Marx’s historical writings together with all the others (especially those on the critique of political economy) is not enough; one needs to go deeper and develop, genealogically, his analysis of concepts by opening them up to the present. Foucault’s approach has allowed us not only to grasp, but also to insist on the fact that the subjectivation of class struggle is an agency in the historical process. The analysis of this subjectivation will always need to be renewed and confronted with the transformative determinations that affect concepts in the historical process. In the framework of Foucault’s stimulations and aside from any dialectics and teleology, historical subjectivation is assumed as a dispositive that is neither causal nor creative, and yet determining. Like Machiavelli: a historical materialism for us.

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With thanks to Dirk Felleman for this link

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