Foucault News

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

Welsh, J.
Governing Academics: The Historical Transformation from Discipline to Control
(2016) International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, pp. 1-24. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1007/s10767-016-9228-4

Given the transformation in the government of academic life over recent decades, the article attempts to derive a political critique of the changing psychosocial conditions of academic life via a historical juxtaposition with the nomos of the labour camp in Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. The aim is to address the need to think beyond normative disciplinary power, to explore a distinctly capitalist governmentality in relation to Foucault’s genealogy of power and to elaborate the techniques and practices of an emergent ‘meta-disciplinary’ technology of labour control in academia. Therefore, a broadly Foucauldian analysis on these questions will be undertaken, and augmented with Marxian and post-Freudian insights into the role of capital accumulation dynamics, in order to texture the conventional presentation of governmental rationality. The result is a metonymic presentation of the ‘camp’ as a physiological structure of capitalist Modernity, whose imprint can be discerned in numerous social and institutional settings, in this case Academia and the Gulag. From this outcome, insights into the transformation of living and labouring in academia, and the effects on psychological and intellectual well-being stemming from the new complex of control can be derived. The piece concludes with some thoughts on strategies of intellectual survival in academia, on counter-conducted techniques of subjectification and on possible means of resistance in the meta-disciplinary idiom. © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media New York

Author Keywords
Camp; Governmentality; Gulag; Labour; Meta-disciplinary; Society of control; University

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