Foucault News

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

Wendy Luna, Emancipating Intellectual Property from Proprietarianism: Drahos, Foucault, and a Quasi-Genealogy of IP, Genealogy 2018, 2(1), 6;
doi:10.3390/genealogy2010006

Abstract
This paper argues that Peter Drahos undertakes a partial Foucauldian genealogy by emancipating intellectual property (IP) from proprietarianism. He demonstrates the dominance of proprietarianism in IP by drawing sample practices from trademark, copyright, and patent laws, and then seeks to displace the proprietarian dominance with instrumentalism, which reconstitutes IP as a “liberty-intruding privilege.” Ironically, despite doing a genealogy, Drahos does not eradicate sovereignty altogether as Michel Foucault insists, but instead determines IP as a “sovereignty mechanism” that has a “sovereignty effect.” After explaining what Foucauldian genealogy is, the paper will explain how Drahos undertakes a genealogy of IP, while highlighting the limitations of Drahos’ analysis from a Foucauldian perspective.

Keywords: Michel Foucault; Peter Drahos; (quasi-)genealogy; intellectual property/IP

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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