Foucault News

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

Nicholas Heron, What Is a Minister? Toward a Theory of the Instrumental Cause, CR: The New Centennial Review, Vol. 15, No. 3, 2015, pp. 135–166

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The problem of the relationship between politics and religion in modernity, Michel Foucault once suggested, is not the problem of the relationship between the emperor and the pope (the political-theological problem of Caesaropapism); it is the problem of that ambiguous figure who, significantly enough, retains the same name across both spheres: the figure of the minister (Foucault 2007, 191-2). Within the context of Foucault’s own oeuvre, this curious remark, which seems to present almost the key to his reflections on “pastoral power” (and hence, by extension, to the larger genealogy of “governmentality,” of which the former is but a part), remained entirely without continuation.

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