Foucault News

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

de Andrade, H.S., Carvalho, S.R., de Oliveira, C.F.
Leituras do governo neoliberal do Estado e da saúde
(2022) Physis, 32 (1), art. no. e320116

DOI: 10.1590/S0103-73312022320116

Brazilian Public Health has often analyzed neoliberalism as a phenomenon of emptying the role of the State and a threat to public and universal health. Taking Foucault’s governmental thought as a subsidy, we discuss neoliberalism as a profound metamorphosis, not only of the State, but of health production. As a permanent update of liberalism, the neoliberal government changes the boundaries between public and private and produces new forms of normality, risk and subjectivity, progressively subordinate to the truth of the logic of the economy and the market. This economic rationality creates new ideals of health, inspired by management techniques of corporations, and produces new biological, sanitary, psychological truths. Restricted to “successful self-entrepreneurs”, health may become a moral and economic choice in relation to individual behavior and risk, making the State not responsible and creating a type of economic citizenship devoid of solidarity. However, the game around non-corporate health institutions and practices remains open. It is up to us to question the “responsible” and “safe” life forms that were invented for us and to develop other governmentalities that are less excluding and unequal compared to those that we have naturalized and practiced. © 2022, Institute de Medicina Social da UERJ. All rights reserved.

Author Keywords
Government; Neoliberalism; Public Health

Index Keywords
article, citizenship, government, morality, public health, solidarity

Document Type: Article
Publication Stage: Final
Source: Scopus

Talcott, Samuel. 2022. “Vectors of Thought: François Delaporte, the Cholera of 1832 and the Problem of Error” Philosophies 7, no. 3: 56.

This paper resists the virality of contemporary paranoia by turning to “French epistemology”, a philosophical ethos that embraces uncertainty and complexity by registering the transformative impact of scientific knowledge on thought. Despite its popular uses describing phenomena of communication today, the idea of virality comes from biomedicine. This paper, therefore, investigates the extent to which an epidemiological concept of viral transmission—the disease vector—can comprehend and encourage new possibilities of thought beyond paranoia. Briefly, I attempt to analyze thought as a vector. I pursue this by examining Delaporte’s important, but neglected, study of the 1832 Parisian cholera epidemic. First elucidating his reconstruction of the ways tentative epistemological progress intertwined with and supported projects of working-class and colonial control. My vectorial analysis then considers how his argument infects contemporary readers with doubts that undo the bases of paranoia. I pursue this analysis further via a methodological examination of Delaporte’s study as both carrier of predecessors’ methods and host in which they alter, becoming newly infectious. I conclude by reflecting on this formulation of thought as disease vector and what Delaporte’s singular treatment of the problem of error reveals about an ethos committed to registering the impact of knowledge on thought.

Keywords: paranoia; knowledge; health; Canguilhem; Foucault


Duke University Press, 2021

In an interview conducted a month or so before his death, Foucault took up the notion of problématisation that had structured The Use of Pleasure. This time the context is not Foucault’s scholarly attention to “the conditions in which human beings ‘problematize’ what they are, what they do, and the world in which they live” (Use of Pleasure, tr. Robert Hurley, Vintage, 1990, 10), but the person of Foucault himself. He had been discussing his refusal to engage in polemics, and he tells Paul Rabinow (in words that ring with utopian fervor today), that his disdain for polemic is related to his way of “approaching political questions”:

It is true that my attitude isn’t a result of the form of critique that claims to be a methodical examination in order to reject all possible solutions except for the one valid one. It is…

View original post 1,312 more words

Romanowski, M.H.
Controlling higher education from a distance: using Foucault’s governmentality to better understand accreditation
(2022) Cogent Education, 9 (1), art. no. 2073631

DOI: 10.1080/2331186X.2022.2073631

The Internationalization of Higher Education (IHE) has expanded significantly in quantity, scope, and complexity over the past two decades, advancing into a complex system able to influence and control numerous aspects of higher education. IHE has led to international ranking and university reputation concerns, increasing interest in accreditation among non-US universities. For many non-US universities, acquiring academic accreditation for programs is a top priority. However, accreditation as a top-down mandate creates close supervision from outside higher education. This non-empirical essay draws upon Foucault’s concept of governmentality to identify the mechanisms used by accreditation to control higher education institutions and programs and explains how these mechanisms monitor, influence, and maintain control of academic programs. The discussion illustrates how accreditation under the facade of quality assurance and improvement uses standardization and accountability coupled with various mechanisms to wield control over higher education institutions and programs. © 2022 The Author(s). This open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 license.

Author Keywords
accountability; accreditation; Foucault; governmentality; higher education; quality assurance; standardization

Dominique Lecourt, author of the classics of Marxist philosophy of science Marxism and Epistemology Bachelard, Canguilhem, Foucault and Proletarian Science?, among many others, died in Paris on 1 May 2022. Here, Roger-Pol Droit remembers his life and work. Also included [on the Verso page] is a newly translated essay of Lecourt’s on Foucault’s The Archaeology of Knowledge.

Obituary for Dominique Lecourt by Roger-Pol Droit
Translated by David Fernbach. Originally published in Le Monde, Verso Books site, 1 June 2022.

Born in Paris on 5 February 1944, the philosopher Dominique Lecourt died at Lariboisière Hospital in Paris on 1 May 2022. He was the author of a copious body of work, with some forty volumes mainly centred on the relationship between philosophy and scientific or medical thought, but also a figure in publishing and cultural institutions who has left his mark on recent decades.

Lecourt studied under three major philosophers. Louis Althusser was his teacher at the École Normale Supérieure, leading him first to become involved in the Maoist struggles of the 1960s and 1970s, and later to be Louis Althusser’s legal representative after the murder of his wife in 1980. Georges Canguilhem, doctor and philosopher, supervised his dissertation on Gaston Bachelard’s L’Epistémologie historique and presented this first book, published by Vrin in 1969. Finally, François Dagognet, also a doctor and philosopher, directed his thesis, L’Ordre et les Jeux, published by Grasset in 1981.

See also Obituary: Dominique Lecourt (February 5th, 1944 – May 1st, 2022)
Tiago Santos Almeida
Transversal: International Journal for the Historiography of Science 2022 (12): 1-3

Special Issue: Michel Foucault and the Historiography of Science, Transversal: International Journal for the Historiography of Science, No. 12 (2022)

From the Editors
Michel Foucault and the Historiography of Science
Marlon Salomon

Dossiers (Issue-specific topics)
Number and Things
Foucauldian Contributions to the Work of Ian Hacking
María Laura Martínez

Heterotopia as a Reconstruction of the History of Ideas
Michel Foucault’s Archeology and its Appropriation by Ian Hacking
Débora Bráulio Santos

L’État, C’est Moi?
Towards an Archaeology of Sovereignty in the Western Episteme(s)
Daniel R. Quiroga-Villamarín

Foucault and the “Noble Sciences”
From Aufklärung to “Dignity” in Philosophy
Jorge Alberto Rocha

“The Use of Pleasure” of learning
A Foucauldian Perspective on the Role of Scientific Pedagogy in the Historiography of Science
André Fantin, Ivã Gurgel

Foucault and Starobinski
A Critical Relationship or The Living Eye vs. “Gazing at Death”
Malika Sager

Michel Foucault as a Forerunner of the 20th Century Sociology of Knowledge
Tanzilia A. Burganova, Rinat M. Nugayev

Meredith TenHoor, Care Beyond Biopolitics, e-flux Architecture, May 2022

Nicole Sonolet, Plan of the grounds and buildings of l’Eau Vive hospital, Soisy-sur-Seine, France, 1960s. Source: Archives of Nicole Sonolet, collection of Christine de Bremond d’Ars.

What would it mean to design buildings that exceed the economic accountings of liberal biopolitics, that instead offer an entirely different rationale for supporting health? In the years that Michel Foucault conceptualized the term biopolitics, he was part of a constellation of researchers and architects who developed care praxes that defined the value of life and its maintenance through a desire-based calculus. The welfare state institutions of architect Nicole Sonolet in particular—mental hospitals, public housing complexes, and new village typologies built mainly in postwar France and postcolonial Algeria from the 1950s to the 1980s—were designed not only to support, but to center the needs of people often excluded from design processes. Sonolet’s mental health centers for residents of Paris’s 13th arrondissement in particular were key projects for discovering a design practice tied to the provision of care for its own sake.

Some of CERFI’s funding was also funneled to Michel Foucault. His 1973–1974 research seminar “Recherche sur l’institution hospitalière à la fin du XVIIIe siècle, généalogie des équipements collectifs” (“Research on the Institution of the Hospital at the End of the Eighteenth Century: Genealogy of Public Amenities”), was partially funded by the group, and it was in the course of this seminar—and conversations with architects and architectural historians (though not Sonolet)—that he developed the term biopolitics. Seminar participants—Blandine Barret-Kriegel, the architects Bruno Fortier and François Béguin, and Foucault’s niece Anne Thalamy—analyzed architectural plans, medical proclamations, and state records in order to elaborate a history of the belief that architecture was one of several dispositifs or apparatuses capable of producing health-effects in the body of the population.

de Heredia, M.I.
Reversing “Liberal” Aspirations: A View from “Citizen’s” Movements in Africa
(2022) Global Society

DOI: 10.1080/13600826.2022.2052022

Since Tahir Square, a series of movements and uprisings have spread around Africa. Redefining themselves as “citizens” movements to emphasise their “rights”, one of the most significant characteristics is their tendency to couch their aspirations in terms that resonate the liberal moral order. Yet in so doing they also create a new subjectivity and redefine democracy, development and human rights. With the cases of Y’en a Marre in Senegal, and LUCHA in DRC, the article analyses this rearticulation, not as reproducing the dominant discourse, but as a reversed discourse that critiques and a challenges the status quo. Following Foucault’s approach, the paper embraces the circular, contradictory and tactical nature of discourses, but expands it with African political theory and resistance theory to articulate resistance as acts that attack and subvert power at the same time that creates new subjectivities. © 2022 University of Kent.

Author Keywords
African citizens movements; coloniality; resistance theory

Alain Brossat, Hétérotopies, communautés, lieux de vie, Ici et ailleurs, jeudi 9 juin 2022

La crise du présent se condense dans celle de l’habitabilité du monde. Moins que jamais, nous ne savons où habiter, comment habiter ni avec qui habiter. Habiter, selon la tradition philosophique occidentale, c’est infiniment davantage qu’occuper un lieu, avoir une maison ou un logement, y installer ses meubles, y passer son temps, y dormir. C’est s’établir en un emplacement particulier, dans le monde, y trouver sa place et y définir ses relations avec l’environnement fait d’autres êtres humains, d’autres vivants et de choses plus ou moins inertes. Ce n’est pas nécessairement s’installer dans un territoire ou le découper – dans la mesure où le territoire, comme espace d’appropriation, c’est avant tout l’affaire de l’Etat. Mais les sujets humains, quels qu’ils soient, n’accèdent à la vie qualifiée qu’en occupant un espace – en l’habitant, que ce soit sur un mode ou un autre, sédentaire ou nomade. On peut se décréter « citoyen du monde » et passer sa vie à arpenter la Planète, à s’y déplacer. Mais ce sera encore une manière de l’habiter. On ne saurait être entièrement acosmique, sans monde à habiter – ou bien alors dans un état extrême d’arrachement, de désorientation, de désaffiliation, de déperdition – proche de la mort, en vérité. Regardez Robinson sur son île : perdu, coupé du monde, seul, jusqu’à sa rencontre avec Vendredi – mais il l’habite, son île, et comment !

C’est précisément dans cette brèche de l’utopie qu’est apparu et a rapidement prospéré le motif de l’hétérotopie, mis en circulation par Michel Foucault, à partir des années 1960. L’hétérotopie, c’est, par opposition à l’utopie, un espace autre, réellement existant et dont la propriété est d’être doté d’une qualité critique ou d’une propriété d’opposition, de résistance, face aux formes dominantes du réel et du présent. Dans ses modes d’apparition pratiques, l’hétérotopie, c’est toujours un objet ou un lieu, mais ceci de manière infiniment variable – il n’y a pas de substance de l’Hétérotopie, en soi, il y a des hétérotopies et qui sont toujours « en situation », c’est-à-dire qui incarnent la différence et l’altérité par rapport aux formes dominantes (« majeures ») du réel de façon infiniment variable.

Jessop, B.
State theory (2022) Handbook on Theories of Governance, pp. 77-88.

This chapter reviews some scholarly approaches to governance inspired by different accounts of the state and state power and proposes a new approach based on the strategic-relational approach. It assesses the unproductive distinction between state-centric and society-centric perspectives, evaluates whether a governance-centric perspective is a feasible alternative, and then proposes an approach to state power building on the work of Gramsci and Foucault. It defines state power in terms of “government + governmentality in the shadow of hierarchy” and relates this to the idea of metagovernance and collibration. The chapter ends with five remarks on the scope for mutual dialogue and enrichment between a state-theoretical agenda on governance and a governance-theoretical agenda on the state. © Christopher Ansell and Jacob Torfing 2022.

%d bloggers like this: