Foucault News

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

Gordon Hull (2022) How Foucault Got Rid of (Bossy) Marxism, Critical Review,

DOI: 10.1080/08913811.2022.2121516

Foucault distanced himself from Marxism even though he worked in an environment—left French theory of the 1960s and 1970s—where Marxism was the dominant frame of reference. By viewing Foucault in the context of French Marxist theoretical debates of his day, we can connect his criticisms of Marxism to his discussions of the status of intellectuals. Foucault viewed standard Marxist approaches to the role of intellectuals as a problem of power and knowledge applicable to the Communist party. Marxist party intellectuals, in his view, had developed rigid and universal theories and had used them to prescribe action, which prevented work on the sorts of problems that he uncovered—even though these problems were central to the development of capitalism.

Keywords: Althusser, anticolonialism, communism, Fanon, Foucault, Marx, Marxism, Rancière, Parti Communiste Français

One thought on “Gordon Hull, How Foucault Got Rid of (Bossy) Marxism (2022)

  1. dmf says:

    this was excellent thanks, also from that issue (and unlocked):
    “I agree with Colin Koopman (2019, 23) that such “a method is not a guaranteed way of achieving a goal; it is not a foolproof recipe; least of all is it a surefire algorithm. A method is simply a way of proceeding.” The problematization of government by complexity qua wicked problems, then, displaces theory’s preferred method of the exegesis of key texts and thinkers. Unfamiliar actors who were, first and foremost, involved in practical projects may offer greater traction in making sense of emergent political practices and the complicated historical storylines with which they are enmeshed.”


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