Foucault News

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

Daniele Lorenzini and Martina Tazzioli, Critique without ontology Genealogy, collective subjects and the deadlocks of evidence, Radical Philosophy, 2.07 (Spring 2020)

Open access

In the past few years, the number of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean Sea has dramatically increased due to the strengthening of border controls and a deliberate politics of migration containment put into place by the EU in cooperation with third countries. In 2018, according to UN Refugee Agency [UNHCR] estimations, an average of six migrants died at sea every day, trying to cross the Mediterranean from Libya. These figures do not take into account the so-called ‘ghost shipwrecks’, that is, the number of people who died in ships that simply sank without being detected by the authorities. During these years, the Mediterranean Sea as a space of governmentality has been the object of multiple readjustments.

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Our aim in this paper is to defend, develop and redeploy this specific, Nietzschean-Foucauldian mode of critique. In fact, the idea that (debunking) critique is pointless and that it should be replaced by the task of bringing evidence, with a view to describing (and possibly denouncing) things as they are, risks, we argue, obscuring the crucial role that critique can still play in contemporary society as a movement of contestation of the regimes of truth that govern us – and of transformation of the truth-power-subjects nexus on which they rely.

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