How Michel Foucault Got Neoliberalism So Wrong, An Interview With Daniel Zamora. Interview by Kévin Boucaud-Victoire. Translation By Seth Ackerman, Jacobin, 09.06.2019
In the emerging neoliberalism of the 1970s, Michel Foucault saw the promise of a new social order, more open to individual autonomy and experimental ways of living. That’s not how things turned out.
n a new book coming out in English next year from Verso, sociologist Daniel Zamora and philosopher Mitchell Dean retrace Michel Foucault’s post-1968 intellectual journey, in which a flirtation with leftist radicalism gave way to a fascination for neoliberalism.
In this interview with the French website Le Comptoir, Zamora reflects on the intellectual turmoil of 1970s France and how Foucault’s response to it prefigured so much of our political world today.
The self-proclaimed heirs of Foucault are highly diverse; they range from left-libertarians to Chamber of Commerce officials, and include social democrats and the vestiges of the French “second left.” How do we explain this? How do we situate Foucault?
First of all, I think some intellectuals have a questionable habit of imposing their own agenda on certain philosophers. Placing yourself under the authority of some great figure of intellectual life to legitimize your own ideas is a common practice, but it has been pushed to a particularly bizarre degree in the case of Foucault.