Foucault News

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

Steven Ogden, Political Theology as Transformative Opposition, Political Theology network, October 7, 2021

The idea of opposition then is not about establishing a negative position for its own sake. Instead, to embody opposition here is to draw a line, and this line constitutes a limit-experience. It as if to say, ‘enough is enough.’ So, this opposition is an ending and a beginning.

This article explores the role political theology has in relation to strongman politics. Using insights from the work of Michel Foucault, I argue that theology has a role to play in embodying opposition to political violence. In particular, I explore the multivalent nature of opposition. Overall, political theology has a critical role in problematizing political violence. It also has a prophetic role in fostering counter-discourses and counter-practices of resistance. These nuances are interrelated.

Resistance takes many forms. In this article, however, I focus on the idea of opposition as representing a particular nuance of resistance. The idea of opposition then is not about establishing a negative position for its own sake. Instead, to embody opposition here is to draw a line, and this line constitutes a limit-experience. It as if to say, ‘enough is enough.’ So, this opposition is an ending and a beginning. As such, this oppositional gesture is inherently transformative. In other words, opposition acts as limit to violence and, in so doing, it prefigures transformative possibilities.

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