Foucault News

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

Jennifer R. Rust (2020) Political Theology, Pastoral Power, and Resistance, Political Theology, Published online: 31 Dec 2020

DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2020.1866813

Foucault’s genealogy of pastoral power as “a power of care” challenges us to think of modern medical institutions and practices in terms of political theology by emphasizing their continuities with older ecclesiastical practices. Both ecclesiastical and medical forms of pastoral power generate forms of resistance or “counter-conduct” with theological and biopolitical implications. Foucault’s prescient remarks on the relationship between forms of religious counter-conduct and modern movements to resist vaccines and other public health measures raise questions about the legacy of pastoral power in the contemporary world and the limits of rhetorical appeals to science and medical rationality.

Foucault, political theology, governmentality, pastoral power, sexuality, public health, counter-conduct, biopolitics

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