Deleuze’s Foucault: on the possibility of an outside of knowledge/power
(2021) History and Theory, 60 (4), pp. 20-35.
During 1985 and 1986, Gilles Deleuze directed a seminar on Michel Foucault’s work at the University of Paris 8 at Vincennes/St. Denis. The course was divided into three parts, one dedicated to each of the three levels on which, according to Deleuze, Foucault’s concept of thinking unfolds: knowledge, power, and subjectivation. As I will show, Deleuze’s attempt to reconstruct Foucault’s perspective on the history of thought is highly enlightening, although, at some crucial points, it raises doubts regarding the plausibility of the hypotheses that Deleuze attributed to Foucault. In particular, in the third part, which focuses on subjectivation, it is not clear whether Deleuze was attempting to relate Foucault’s concept or to expose his own ideas on the topic. The displacements, which Deleuze introduced into Foucault’s perspective, are particularly interesting, since they are symptomatic of broader epistemological problems that philosophical thought currently faces in attempting to articulate a consistent perspective of the possibility of an “outside” of power or, in Foucault’s formulation, knowledge/power. © 2021 Wesleyan University
Gilles Deleuze; knowledge/power; metaphilosophy; Michel Foucault; subjectivation