Foucault News

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

Problematic statues and ‘race war’
by Blake Smith, Washington Examiner, June 18, 2020

What we are in the habit of calling “identity politics,” and particularly political movements based on (somewhat contradictory) appeals to racial solidarity and anti-racism, depend on a “certain way of making historical knowledge work within political struggle.” So argued Foucault in Society Must Be Defended, a 1976 book based on a lecture series about “political historicism.” Many on the American Right hold Foucault, along with his French postmodernist contemporaries, partly responsible for the emergence of identity politics. It would be more accurate to say that Foucault was one of the first, and sharpest, analysts of the way identity-based political movements appeal to history and ignite what he called “race war.”

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