Foucault News

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

Ilott, Luke. “Generalizing Resistance: The Coalition Politics of Foucault’s Governmentality Lectures.” The Review of Politics, 2022, 1–25.


This article interprets Michel Foucault as a thinker of political coalition. While Foucault is often associated with a localist “micro-politics,” he also sought to help dispersed struggles “generalize” themselves into bigger, cohesive movements. Foucault gave his fullest account of the politics of generalization in manuscripts and drafts associated with two courses at the Collège de France, entitled Security, Territory, Population (1978) and The Birth of Biopolitics (1979), which are well known to political theorists for their discussions of “governmentality.” Intellectual historians have recently generated controversy by proposing that Foucault used his governmentality lectures to flirt with neoliberal positions. By reconstructing Foucault’s coalitional project in the late 1970s, this article offers an alternative contextualist account of his purposes, while encouraging political theorists to reappraise the lectures as the basis for a Foucauldian theory of large-scale alliance politics.

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