The fifteenth annual meeting of the Foucault Circle

University of Richmond
Richmond, Virginia

March 20-22, 2015

We seek submissions for papers on any aspect of Foucault’s work, as well as studies, critiques, and applications of Foucauldian thinking.

Paper submissions require an abstract of no more than 750 words. All submissions should be formatted as “.doc” attachments and sent via email to program committee chair Zachary Fouchard (zfouchard@gmail.com) on or before Monday, January 5th, 2015. Indicate “Foucault Circle submission” in the subject heading. Program decisions will be announced during the week of January 19th.

All abstracts should be prepared for anonymous review.

The meeting will begin Friday evening with an informal welcome session. Morning and afternoon paper sessions will be held on Saturday, followed by a business meeting and dinner. The conference will conclude with paper sessions on Sunday morning. Presenters of individual papers will have approximately 35 minutes for paper presentation and discussion combined; papers should be a maximum of 3000 words (15-20 minutes, preferably 15).

Logistical information about lodging, transportation, and other arrangements will be available after the program has been announced.

For more information about the Foucault Circle, please see our website:

or contact our Coordinator, Dianna Taylor: dtaylor@jcu.edu

lemm-vatterVanessa Lemm, and Miguel Vatter (eds.) The Government of Life: Foucault, Biopolitics, and Neoliberalism, Fordham University Press, July 2014

ISBN: 9780823255979

Further info

See below description for details of book launch at University of NSW


Foucault’s late work on biopolitics and governmentality has established him as the fundamental thinker of contemporary continental political thought and as a privileged source for our current understanding of neoliberalism and its technologies of power. In this volume, an international and interdisciplinary group of Foucault scholars examines his ideas of biopower and biopolitics and their relation to his project of a history of governmentality and to a theory of the subject found in his last courses at the College de France.

Many of the chapters engage critically with the Italian theoretical reception of Foucault. At the same time, the originality of this collection consists in the variety of perspectives and traditions of reception brought to bear upon the problematic connections between biopolitics and governmentality established by Foucault’s last works.

Book Launch
Friday 3 October 2014, 3-5pm, Morven Brown Building, 310, University of NSW
PDF of invitation

Editorial Assistant wanted, Parrhesia 

The Editorial Board of Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy is looking for an Editorial Assistant. This is a voluntary unpaid position. Since 2005, Parrhesia has provided an open-access venue for cutting-edge work in critical philosophy, and the appointment of an Editorial Assistant will allow us to make its publication a more efficient and streamlined process.

The position involves the management of article and review essay proposals, coordination of the peer review process, overseeing of production, and issue proofreading. It will likely involve 3 to 5 hours of work per week, though this will vary depending on the moment in the publishing cycle. The appointment will begin as soon as possible, and will initially be for one year (with the possibility of renewal).

The ideal person is likely an early post-graduate student in philosophy or a cognate discipline, with a particular interest in open-access publishing. Web design skills would be a plus, but are not necessary. This is an unpaid position. Any interested applicants should apply to Dr Jon Roffe jonathan.roffe@unimelb.edu.au, briefly explain who they are and why they are interested in the role, and attach a brief CV.

Coll, S.
Power, knowledge, and the subjects of privacy: understanding privacy as the ally of surveillance
(2014) Information Communication and Society. Article in Press.

The aim of this article is to argue that privacy, rather than serving only as a countermeasure against surveillance, can also be seen as its ‘partner-in-crime’. Normative statements made by governments and companies on privacy can be regarded as a tool of governance in service of informational capitalism. Initially defined as a fundamental freedom, privacy has become a precondition for a blossoming economy in the context of the information society. The notion of privacy, as a critique of information society, has been assimilated and reshaped by and in favour of informational capitalism, notably by being over-individualized through the self-determination principle. To develop this idea, this article builds on the results of a study on the loyalty programmes run by the four biggest retailers of Switzerland and on the Foucauldian concept of biopower. Indeed, sexual liberation and the development of scientific knowledge on sexuality, the democratization of privacy, and the emergence of scientific discourses about privacy are processes that show intriguing similarities. Like sexuality, privacy has become a ‘power-knowledge’ related to moral standards defining what privacy should be. It produces ‘subjects of privacy’ who are supposed to take care of it according to the official conception of privacy advocates and of the legislature. Finally, we suggest understanding the conception of privacy as a terrain of power struggle between the promoters of an informational capitalism based on surveillance of citizens and consumers, and those who would prefer to promote privacy as a common good leading society to more democracy and freedom.

Author Keywords
Big Data; biopower; Foucault; loyalty programmes; sociology; surveillance/privacy

DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2014.918636

Bye, J.
Foucault and the use of critique: breaching the self-evidence of educational practices
(2014) International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. Article in Press.

This paper poses methodological questions about the role and limits of Foucault’s concept of governmentality in education research. Firstly, it argues for the utility of governmentality as a means of exploring questions of power regardless of domain or scale. Secondly, it explores the boundary between the tasks of formulating critique and articulating reform agendas while working within the Foucauldian ethos. It does this via the examination of a research project which used Foucault’s concept of governmentality to observe the ways young people are regulated and shaped through education and training at a senior college in Australia. The goal of the examination is to shift the focus from the original findings, which highlighted the powerful effects of governing agendas, to a closer examination of their points of failure in local contexts. This shift takes up Foucault’s idea that government is unpredictable and that within the complexity of the assemblages which make government possible, the possibility for unanticipated outcomes and indeed points of failure, is always present. The paper argues that the change of focus is productive and provides a more complex understanding of the interplay between government and resistance. A focus on points of failure of the regulatory and normative aspects of government is taken up with a view to considering the possible links between this aspect of governmentality critique and the development of emergent rather than imposed reform agendas, inspired by local examples of resistance and transgressive practices.

Author Keywords
critique; Foucault; governmentality; resistance; senior colleges

DOI: 10.1080/09518398.2014.916003

Try this quick quiz – who said what? -, Lacan, Derrida or Foucault? on the French Embassy’s site in the USA.

vatterMiguel Vatter, The Republic of the Living: Biopolitics and the Critique of Civil Society, Fordham University Press,June 2014

ISBN: 9780823256020

Further info

Details of workshop on book below description.

This book takes up Foucault’s hypothesis that liberal “civil society,” far from being a sphere of natural freedoms, designates the social spaces where our biological lives come under new forms of control and are invested with new forms of biopower. In order to test this hypothesis, its chapters examine the critical theory of civil society — from Hegel and Marx through Lukacs, Adorno, Benjamin, and Arendt—from the new horizon opened up by Foucault’s turn to biopolitics and its reception in recent Italian theory.

Negri, Agamben, and Esposito have argued that biopolitics not only denotes new forms of domination over life but harbors within it an affirmative relation between biological life and politics that carries an emancipatory potential. The chapters of this book take up this suggestion by locating this emancipatory potential in the
biopolitical feature of the human condition that Arendt called “natality.” The book proceeds to illustrate how natality is the basis for a republican articulation of an affirmative biopolitics. It aims to renew the critical theory of civil society by pursuing the traces of natality as a “surplus of life” that resists the oppressive government of life found in the capitalist political economy, in the liberal system of rights, and in the bourgeois family.

By contrast, natality offers the normative foundation for a new “republic of the living.” Finally, natality permits us to establish a relation between biological life and contemplative life that reverses the long-held belief in a privileged relationship of thinking to the possibility of our death. The result is a materialist, atheological conception of contemplative life as eternal life.


The Research Unit in European Philosophy at Monash University is holding a workshop on Miguel Vatter’s new book The Republic of the Living: Biopolitics and the Critique of Civil Society (Fordham University Press, 2014)

Featuring: Miguel Vatter (UNSW), Catherine Mills (Monash) and Jessica Whyte (UWS).

Wednesday, October 8, 2-4 pm Menzies Building, N602

For room booking purposes RSVP to Alison.Ross@monash.edu by Wednesday October 1


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