Foucault News

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

‘Research has become the scientific and practical raison d’être of psychology, the social and historical raison d’être of the psychologist. From the moment you become a psychologist, you research. What? What other researchers allow you to research, because you don’t (re)search in order to find, but to research, in order to have researched, to be a researcher. Go ahead and conduct research, research in general, research on the man in the street, on the neuroses of rats, on the statistical frequency of vowels in the English version of the Bible, on the sexual practices of the provincial woman (exclusively in the lower middle class), on the cutaneous resistance, blood pressure and respiratory rates of those listening to the Symphony of Psalms.

Michel Foucault, (1994) [1957] ‘La recherche scientifique et la psychologie’. In Dits et Ecrits vol. I. Paris: Gallimard, p. 156. [This passage translated by Clare O’Farrell]

Progressive Geographies

Miguel de Beistegui interview with 3am – Who are we today? Foucault: Proust: Deleuze

Miguel de Beistegui specialises in 20th century German and French philosophy, and has published books and articles in the following areas: ontology, metaphysics, aesthetics, ethics and politics. Initially specialising in the thought of Martin Heidegger, and in phenomenology in general, he has become convinced that philosophy needs to resist extreme specialisation and develop the conceptual tools to engage with our time. This means that it needs to bring together the various branches of philosophy, but also establish a dialogue between philosophy and the other disciplines, in the social as well as the natural sciences. Here he discusses Foucault and desire from a genealogical perspective, why ours is a civilisation of desire, aesthetics after metaphysics, metaphor, the hypersensible, the philosophical Proust, Deleuze and immanence, and Delueze and Heidegger.

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Colloquium
Discourse Theory: ways forward

Brussels, Belgium
​7 & 8 February 2019

Paper proposals deadline: 30 May 2018

https://www.researchcentredesire.eu/discourse-theory.html

DESIRE, the centre for the study of Democracy, Signification and Resistance is happy to invite you to submit paper proposals for the colloquium ‘Discourse Theory: Ways Forward’. The colloquium will take place on 7-8 February 2019 in Brussels. The colloquium starts on Thursday 7 February at 9.00 and ends on Friday 8 February at 17.30.

​The aim of the colloquium is to critically and constructively consider where Discourse Theory is at this moment, and to reflect on ways forward for discourse theoretical approaches to society, politics, communication and media. In particular, the colloquium will focus on five topics:

-The discursive and the material

-Discourse theoretical perspectives on political economy -Discourse theoretical perspectives on health, ageing, and the body -Populist discourses and discourses about populism -Discourse theory and visuality

We invite paper proposals on any of these five topics that are based on a post-structuralist or post-foundationalist discursive approach, broadly defined.

The deadline for paper proposals is 30 May 2018.

Please send an abstract of around 300 words to bdecleen@vub.be.

Please indicate clearly which of the five topics indicated above your paper fits with. ​If accepted, full papers of maximum 6000 words are expected by 20 December 2018.

Confirmed keynote speakers are Ruth Wodak (Lancaster University/University Vienna) and Michael Freeden (Oxford).

Other confirmed speakers are Nico Carpentier (Uppsala), Benjamin De Cleen (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Edina Doci (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Fani Giannousi (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), Jason Glynos (Essex), David Howarth (Essex), Giorgos Katsambekis (Loughborough), Pieter Maeseele (Universiteit Antwerpen), Thomas Siomos (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), Yannis Stavrakakis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki),  Savvas Voutyras (Essex), Laurens van der Steen (Universiteit Antwerpen), Ilija Tomanic-Trivundza (Ljubljana), Andreja Vezovnik (Ljubljana), and Jan Zienkowski (Université Saint Louis Brussel).

The colloquium program committee consists of the chairs of the five institutional members of DESIRE: Benjamin De Cleen (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, colloquium coordinator), Nico Carpentier (Uppsala University), Ilija Tomanić Trivundža (University of Ljubljana), Jason Glynos (University of Essex), Yannis Stavrakakis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki).

The local organizing committee consists of Benjamin De Cleen (coordinator), Karel Deneckere and Jana Goyvaerts (Vrije Universiteit

Brussel) and Pieter Maeseele (Universiteit Antwerpen).

For PhD students, a masterclass is organized on Wednesday 6 February 2019. See https://www.researchcentredesire.eu/masterclass-discourse-theory.html

Ettlinger, N., Algorithmic Affordances for Productive Resistance (2018) Big Data & Society, January-June: 1-13

DOI: 10.1177/2053951718771399

Abstract
Although overarching if not foundational conceptualizations of digital governance in the field of critical data studies aptly account for and explain subjection, calculated resistance is left conceptually unattended despite case studies that document instances of resistance. I ask at the outset why conceptualizations of digital governance are so bleak, and I argue that all are underscored implicitly by a Deleuzian theory of desire that overlooks agency, defined here in Foucauldian terms. I subsequently conceptualize digital governance as encompassing subjection as well as resistance, and I cast the two in relational perspective by making use of the concepts ‘‘affordance’’ and ‘‘assemblage’’ in conjunction with multiple subjectivities and Foucault’s view of power as productive as well as his view of resistance as an ‘‘antagonism of strategies’’ in his late scholarship on resistance, ethics, and subjectivity. I offer examples of salient modes of what I call ‘‘productive’’ resistance (as opposed to resistance by way of avoidance, disruption or obfuscation), and from a Foucauldian perspective I explain how each mode targets and subverts technologies of repressive power to produce new elements of the digital environment and construct new truths. I conclude by recognizing the agency embodied in resistance as an end in itself, but I also consider that modes of productive resistance can have extrinsic value as they affect the fluid interaction among elements of the digital environment, potentially disrupting the presumed structure of dominance and dependence, and opening our conceptualization of algorithmic life to hopeful possibilities for change.

A Photo Journey Through Italy’s Abandoned Nightclubs – Noisey By Laura Petillo, translated by Cristina Politano, May 14 2017

Discotex, a new documentary project, offers an audiovisual glimpse into the cathedrals from the glory days of Italian vinyl.
[…]
Melillo’s journey is probably best summarized as a study in understanding a location as an extension of a different space. She argues that these nightclubs are heterotopias, and paraphrases the philosopher Michel Foucault: “Different spaces are […] alternate locations, a type of challenge to the mythical and real simultaneity of the spaces in which we live.” You can still ignore reality at a discotheque, even if it’s abandoned. Discourse runs dry; only music resounds. That music is gone, but Discotex offers a chance to rediscover the sound of it, if only for a few seconds.

Source: A Photo Journey Through Italy’s Abandoned Nightclubs – Noisey

The Call for Panels and Roundtables of the 2018 Australian Anthropological Society conference, to be held 4-7 December at the Cairns campus of James Cook University,  has been extended till the 23rd of May.

We welcome proposals that engage directly or indirectly with the conference theme – Life in an Age of Death.

Conference website: https://www.aasconf.org/2018/

If you have any questions, please email admin@aasconf.org

Life in an age of death

During the first decades of the twenty-first century, the proliferation of life as a generative possibility has become marked by the spectre of death, closure, denial and ends. Ours is an era of precarity, extinction, militarised inequality, a seemingly boundless war on terror, the waning legitimacy of human rights, a rising consciousness of animal cruelty and consumer complicity in killing and suffering, and the global closure of decolonial and socialist windows of emancipation. Artificial intelligence and post-human technology-flesh interventions have become sources of existential threat to be secured against, rather than means of freeing, or otherwise expanding life. Mbembe (2003) first developed the notion of necropolitics in relation to ‘assemblages of death’, zones where technology, economy and social structures bind together to reproduce patterns of extreme violence. Following Foucault, he envisaged a distribution of the world into life zones and death zones. While we can readily identify zones of life and death on these terms, the imaginaries of death have increasingly colonised life zones.

This conference seeks to embrace this moment in history in all its roiling complexity, challenge, and specificity. It asks what accounts for this current interest in the spectre of Death in the anthropological imagination? What sorts of life—social, cultural, technological, creative—emerge in spaces pregnant with death and other life-ending spectres? What new horizons of fear, hope and possibility emerge? What kinds of new social formations, subjectivities and cultural imaginaries? What social and cultural forms might an affirmative biopolitics, where the power of life is regained from the spectre of death, take? What new strategies of engagement, activism and refusal?

 

Salazar, P.-J.
The Alt-Right as a Community of Discourse
(2018) Javnost, pp. 1-9. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/13183222.2018.1423947

Abstract
This paper suggests ways to examine the American Alt-Right as a community of discourse. It relies on Michel Foucault’s notion that discourse is marked by external procedures of prohibition, division and will to truth, and it shows how the Alt-Right owes its powerful emergence in the public sphere to these procedures. It concludes with a brief recall that internal procedures also shape a community of discourse, by giving its actors access to commentary, providing the community with a sense of shared authorship and leading to a “fellowship” of discourse. This paper was researched and written before the Charlottesville fracas (12 August 2017) that propelled the Alt-Right into the limelight, and further obscured its discursive construction.

Author Keywords
Alt-Right; discursivity; fascism; Michel Foucault; racism; Richard Spencer; supremacism; United States


John Iliopoulos, The History of Reason in the Age of Madness: Foucault’s Enlightenment and a Radical Critique of Psychiatry Bloomsbury Academic, 2017

The History of Reason in the Age of Madness revolves around three axes: the Foucauldian critical-historical method, its relationship with enlightenment critique, and the way this critique is implemented in Foucault’s seminal work, History of Madness. Foucault’s exploration of the origins of psychiatry applies his own theories of power, truth and reason and draws on Kant’s philosophy, shedding new light on the way we perceive the birth and development of psychiatric practice. Following Foucault’s adoption of ‘limit attitude’, which investigates the limits of our thinking as points of disruption and renewal of established frames of reference, this book dispels the widely accepted belief that psychiatry represents the triumph of rationalism by somehow conquering madness and turning it into an object of neutral, scientific perception. It examines the birth of psychiatry in its full complexity: in the late eighteenth century, doctors were not simply rationalists but also alienists, philosophers of finitude who recognized madness as an experience at the limits of reason, introducing a discourse which conditioned the formation of psychiatry as a type of medical activity. Since that event, the same type of recognition, the same anthropological confrontation with madness has persisted beneath the calm development of psychiatric rationality, undermining the supposed linearity, absolute authority and steady progress of psychiatric positivism. Iliopoulos argues that Foucault’s critique foregrounds this anthropological problematic as indispensable for psychiatry, encouraging psychiatrists to become aware of the epistemological limitations of their practice, and also to review the ethical and political issues which madness introduces into the apparent neutrality of current psychiatric discourse.

Table of contents

Introduction

1. What is Enlightenment?

2. The Historical Critique of Phenomenology

3. Foucault’s Epistemology: Sujectivity, Truth, Reason, and the History of Madness

4. Is Foucault and Anti-Psychiatrist?

5. Hysteria at the Limits of Medical Rationality

6. Foucault and Psychoanalysis: Traversing the Enlightenment

Conclusion

Bibliography

Index

Reviews

“Grounded in a deep knowledge of Foucault’s oeuvre, The History of Reason in the Age of Madness establishes remarkable continuity from his early, under discussed, Introduction to Kant’s Anthropology to his final articles on the Enlightenment. In addition to seriously advancing our comprehension of major works such as the History of Madness John Iliopoulos’ clear and lucid prose sheds new light on reason, rationalism and madness as well as on anthropology and psychiatry. A highly valuable undertaking.” –  Sverre Raffnsøe, Editor-in-chief of Foucault Studies and Professor of Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark,

“’The History of Reason in the Age of Madness offers a remarkably fresh and convincing interpretation of Foucault’s complex and often misunderstood relation with Enlightenment philosophy and psychiatry. It successfully challenges the still prevalent view that Foucault’s thinking resolutely opposes these movements, cogently arguing that such a reductive view would contradict one of the basic aims of Foucault’s writings which is to expose the ambiguity of all phenomena, their susceptibility to ongoing critique, modification and radical transformation. This important work is a must for scholars of Foucault, critical psychiatry and Enlightenment studies.’” –  Kevin Inston, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry, University College London, UK,

Connor Richards: Demonstrating Politics Through Music – Daily Utah Chronicle, November 17, 2017

Extract

The tradition of using music to make social commentary is being kept alive by American post-metal band ISIS. Post-metal, as a genre, is described by ISIS frontman and lyricist Aaron Turner as being a “thinking man’s metal.”

The 2004 album Panopticon draws heavily on the works of English philosopher Jeremy Bentham and French sociologist Michel Foucault to comment on the prevalence of surveillance in modern society.

Working off Foucault’s idea that surveillance turns humans into objects of observation rather than subjects of communication, Panopticon offers a gloomy take on “life reduced to ticks” through government surveillance and invasions of privacy. This is seen in the song “Backlit.” “Always object, never subject. Can you see us? Are we there? … Always upon you, light never ceases. … Thousands of eyes, gaze never ceases.”

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68, année philosophique ? (1/4) : Deleuze, Foucault, Derrida: les « nouveaux » philosophes
LES CHEMINS DE LA PHILOSOPHIE par Adèle Van Reeth, 23/04/2018
podcast

La philosophie française est étroitement associée à l’événement de MAI 68. Preuve en est : Les mots des philosophes descendent dans la rue et se retrouvent placardés aux murs! Frédéric Worms nous éclaire.

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