Foucault News

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

ACCESS Vol 41 2021
IN MEMORIAM Jim Marshall
Nesta Devine, Elizabeth Gresson, Mark Olssen, Ruth Irwin, Eve Coxon, Ho-Chia Chueh & Richard Heraud

As the Dean of Education at the University of Auckland, Jim made a succession of excellent hires, building an extraordinary Faculty of Education that competed with Illinois for honours by producing world class research. During this period, he threw his weight behind the new Indigenous Research Institute, which Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Graeme Smith began in the Faculty of Education, and which eventually became its own independently funded institute attached to the Māori Department in the Faculty of Arts.

Following his close reading of Foucault and with attention to the relationship between power and policy, Jim developed his critique of the concept of busnocratic rationality which anticipated the development of New Public Management. He was very interested in how students internalise these banal operations of power through techniques such as physical and intellectual excellence, the gym, revealing the self through ‘reflection’ and ‘truth’.

“Technologies of domination act essentially on the body, and classify and objectify individuals. The key to technologies of the self is the belief, now common in Western culture, that it is possible to reveal the truth about one’s self. By telling the truth about one’s sexuality, where the “deepest” truth is embedded in the discourse and discursive practices of sexuality, individuals become objects of knowledge, both to themselves and to others. In telling the truth, one knows oneself and is known to others in a process which is both therapeutic and also controlling.” (Marshall, 1996, p. 271)

Collective obituary for James D. Marshall (1937–2021)

Michael A. Peters, Colin Lankshear, Lynda Stone, Paul Smeyers, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Roger Dale, Graham Hingangaroa Smith, Nesta Devine, Robert Shaw, Nesta Devine, Bruce Haynes, Denis Philips, Kevin Harris, Marc Depaepe, David Aspin, Richard Smith, Hugh Lauder, Mark Olssen, Nicholas C. Burbules, Peter Roberts, Susan L Robertson, Ruth Irwin, Susanne Brighouse, & Tina Besley
Published online: 15 Jul 2021 , Educational Philosophy and Theory, DOI: 10.1080/00131857.2021.1948399

His work on ‘A Critical Theory of the Self ‘was intellectually outstanding: he focussed on Foucault and Wittgenstein – two of the greatest intellectuals of our times: one a deeply conservative Austrian counter-Enlightenment thinker; the other, a French intellectual, a Nietzschean ‘Communist’ who historized Marx. Actually, both of them were among the most brilliant thinkers of the century. It’s an interesting combination and Jim was one of the first to combine them in his work. Without being too academic can I say that Jim managed to embrace with consummate ease both sides of analytic and continental philosophy. It showed his flexibility as a thinker, his openness and his ability to embrace new ideas – from the heart of analytic philosophy inaugurated by Russell, Wittgenstein and Frege to Foucault, one of the most left-wing thinkers of his time. That’s a huge shift in thinking. He was a philosophical authority on moral education and the punishment of children. He wrote a prodigious amount on science and educational theory, on neoliberal reforms to education, on policy analysis, and on a whole range of philosophers including Dewey, Rorty, Wittgenstein, Foucault, R.S. Peters. The corpus of his work stretched over many themes in education and philosophy with both a practical and theoretical bent. I did a rough count: Jim produced some 27 books and over 200 academic papers, often for blue-ribbon journals. But this was far from Jim’s mind as he remarked, ‘It’s all runs on the board’. ‘We will leave the counting of our published papers to the officials once we are dead.’ He was consumed by the process of writing and regarded it very seriously but he was never one to push his own barrow. He was modest and self-effacing. He was a generous man when it came to authorship, more intent on mentoring others than grabbing the stage for himself. And he demonstrated his commitment to collegiality through the many collaborations and research partnerships he initiated and was part of, especially with junior colleagues. I published two papers with him and Miles Shepheard in 1981 when we were completing our Masters; Miles in Education and I in Philosophy.

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