Foucault News

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

Reason of state is not an art of government according to divine, natural, or human laws. It doesn’t have to respect the general order of the world. It’s government in accordance with the state’s strength. It’s government whose aim is to increase this strength within an extensive and competitive framework…

Political rationality has grown and imposed itself throughout the history of Western societies. It first took its stand on the idea of pastoral power, then on that of reason of state. Its inevitable effects are both individualization and totalization. Liberation can come only from attacking not just one of these two effects but political rationality’s very roots.’

Michel Foucault. (2000) [1980]. ‘Interview with Michel Foucault’. In J. Faubion (ed.). Tr. Robert Hurley and others. Power The Essential Works of Michel Foucault 1954-1984. Volume Three. New York: New Press, pp. 317, 325.

One thought on “Foucault quote: Political rationality

  1. Foucault expanded on the simultaneously totalizing and individualizing function of the modern state in “The Subject and Power”, which is one of the best introductory pieces to Foucault’s philosophical projects, in my opinion.

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