Foucault News

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

Fitzpatrick , P. and P. Kender. 2015 . Foucault, Surveillance and the Law of the Outside, Surveillance & Society 13( 2 ): 314 – 318.

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The inside as an operation of the outside: in all his work Foucault seems haunted by this theme of an inside which is merely the fold of the outside, as if the ship were a folding of the sea. – Gilles Deleuze, Foucault (2006: 81) This note could be even shorter than it has to be if a prevalent perspective on our brief were adopted. Broadly, that brief evokes the relation between law and surveillance in Foucault’s work. The standard perspective would render that relation in terms of law’s abjection. A compendious instance comes with the “expulsion thesis” (see Golder and Fitzpatrick 2009: chapter 1). This thesis has it that Foucault expelled law from a modernity formed by and in a conglomerate of disciplinary powers and a biopower made operative through the managed governing of whole populations. More precisely, with the expulsion thesis law is entirely if functionally subsumed within this conglomerate. It has no autonomous existence. Foucault did say as much (e.g. 1981:89 — all unnamed references will be to Foucault). And this does pose an obvious problem for what will be our contrary argument, and especially so in relation to surveillance since Foucault does vividly instance surveillance as subsuming the juridical (2001a:73)

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