Foucault News

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

Luchies, T.
Towards an Insurrectionary Power/Knowledge: Movement-Relevance, Anti-Oppression, Prefiguration
(2015) Social Movement Studies, 16 p. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/14742837.2014.998643

Despite ongoing efforts to articulate radical methods and theoretical frameworks for social movement research, the field remains embedded in exploitative, oppressive, and hierarchical modes of knowledge production. Following Foucault, I argue that this is because societies like ours, founded through racial and patriarchal violence, are invested in a regime of truth supportive of that violence. In light of this, I argue that social movements scholars need to adopt a radically different form of knowledge practice. Building on anarchist, anti-racist feminist, and anti-colonial scholarship, this paper begins by analysing how liberalism constrains social justice organizing and how academic norms foreclose accountable social movements scholarship. I then introduce three unique ethics emerging in resistance to this situation: movement-relevant, anti-oppressive, and prefigurative. The first confronts the extractive imperatives of enlightenment truth-making; the second resists its neutral and disinterested tendencies; and the third models a rejection of its hierarchical and exclusive mode of authority. I argue that together they provide scholars with a strategy for re-/orienting their research towards what Foucault theorizes as an insurrection of knowledges. These three ethical frameworks combine to facilitate an insurrectionary power/knowledge that fosters collective struggle as it progressively dismantles the regime of truth underlying social movements research.

Author Keywords
activism; anti-oppression; movement-relevance; power/knowledge; prefiguration; Research ethics; social movements

One thought on “Towards an Insurrectionary Power/Knowledge: Movement-Relevance, Anti-Oppression, Prefiguration (2015)

  1. Reblogged this on For Another Critique of the Pyramid and commented:
    Useful article on movement-relevant scholarship posted to Foucault News, part of my reading for the ‘Breaking Consent’ project detailed below


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