Foucault News

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

Siisiäinen, L.
Foucault and Gay Counter-Conduct
(2016) Global Society, pp. 1-19. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/13600826.2016.1144567

In his late work, Michel Foucault elaborates on the notion of resistance in a meticulous fashion, introducing the more precise concept of counter-conduct. This article contributes to this topical discussion within a specific framework: the gay mode of life. First, the article underlines the fundamental role of relatedness, which is characterised in terms of existential sharing and participation, and also as an affective dynamics of traversal. Second, what is addressed and elaborated is Foucault’s idea of “becoming homosexual” or “becoming gay”. Gay or queer relations, due to their very manner of existence, flee as well as pervasively disrupt the functioning of those discourses, institutions and apparatuses through which governmental power conducts our conduct. The article claims that gay/queer counter-conduct in Foucault’s sense not only intersects with, but also significantly differs from care of the self and parrēsia, that is, the central form of counter-conduct in late Foucault. There is no need to construct any hierarchic setting, in which one set of counter-conductive practices would be deemed as pre-eminent, and the other one as secondary or subjugated. Instead, we can see the different modalities as interrelated and mutually supplementary.

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