Jacques Bidet, Foucault with Marx
Translated by Steven Corcoran, Zed Books, 2016
The first synthesis of Foucauldian and Marxist theory, constituting a twenty-first century paradigm shift in political and philosophical thinking.
With this timely commitment, Jacques Bidet unites the theories of arguably the world’s two greatest emancipatory political thinkers. In this far-reaching and decisive text, Bidet examines Marxian and Foucauldian criticisms of capitalist modernity.
For Marx, the intersection between capital and the market is crucial, while for Foucault, the organizational aspects of capital are what really matter. According to Marx, the ruling class is identified with property; with Foucault, it is the managers who hold power and knowledge that rule. Bidet identifies these two sides of capitalist modernity as ‘market’ and ‘organization’, showing that each leads to specific forms of social conflict; against exploitation and austerity, over wages and pensions on the one hand, and against forms of ‘medical’ and work-based discipline, control of bodies and prisons on the other.
Bidet’s impetus and clarity however serve a greater purpose: uniting two souls of critical social theory, in order to overcome what has become an age-long separation between the ‘old left’ and the ‘new social movements’.