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Workshop “Actualités Foucault” (4th session)
Thursday, 9 April 2015, 4-6 pm

Philippe Sabot (Université Lille 3)
“Critique et culture de soi. À propos de Michel Foucault, Qu’est-ce que la critique ? suivi de La culture de soi (Paris, Vrin, 2015)”

Discussants: Henri-Paul Fruchaud & Daniele Lorenzini, scientific editors of the volume
Université Paris-Est Créteil, Campus Centre, Bâtiment i, salle des thèses
61, avenue du Général de Gaulle, 94010 Créteil (métro Créteil-Université)

vrin-15Michel Foucault, Qu’est-ce que la critique? Suivie de La culture de soi
Édition établie par H.-P. Fruchaud et D. Lorenzini
Introduction et apparat critique par D. Lorenzini et A.I. Davidson

Vrin – Philosophie du présent
192 pages – 12,5 × 18 cm
ISBN 978-2-7116-2624-3 – mars 2015

Further info

PDF Table des matières

Le 27 mai 1978, Michel Foucault prononce devant la Société française de Philosophie une conférence où il inscrit sa démarche dans la perspective ouverte par l’article de Kant Qu’est-ce que les Lumières? (1784), et définit la critique, de manière frappante, comme une attitude éthico-politique consistant dans l’art de n’être pas tellement gouverné. Ce volume en présente pour la première fois l’édition critique.

On y trouvera également la traduction d’une conférence inédite intitulée La culture de soi, prononcée à l’Université de Californie à Berkeley le 12 avril 1983. C’est le seul moment où, définissant son travail comme une ontologie historique de nous-mêmes, Foucault fait le lien entre ses réflexions sur l’Aufklärung et ses analyses de l’Antiquité gréco-romaine. Au cours du même séjour en Californie, Foucault participe aussi à trois débats publics où il est amené à revenir sur plusieurs aspects de son parcours philosophique. On en trouvera le texte à la suite de la conférence.

Margaret Bird – Inculcating an appreciation of time pressure in the young: the training of children for working life in 18th-century England
Podcast at Backdoor broadcasting

Royal Holloway University of London Department of History

Departmental Research seminars 2014/2015
24 March 2015

The rearing of children has been a topic at the centre of academic debate since the Annales historian Philippe Ariès analysed le sentiment de l’enfance in 1960.
Margaret Bird’s exploration of the tensions between respecting children as individuals and the need to hurry them into maturity for working life relates to the mercantile and manufacturing class in England. Understanding time pressure, as in expecting six-year-olds to watch the clock, formed part of their moulding as useful members of society. Time-conscious capitalism and Calvinism lay behind much of the thinking. It draws in part on the newly published diary of Mary Hardy, wife of a farmer and manufacturer.

Richard Wolin, Biopolitics and Engagement: What Foucault Learned about Power from the Maoists, Feb 28, 2012

Michel Foucault’s conception of “power-knowledge” has been one of the most influential political ideas to have arisen in recent decades. It reverses the age-old assumption that knowledge will set us free. Instead, it suggests that knowledge is more closely related to social control than it is to freedom. Foucault’s rethinking of the relationship between power and knowledge was not a purely theoretical discovery. Instead it derives from his concerted political involvement with the Prison Information Group (GIP) – an innovative group of renegade French Maoists active during the early 1970s. Richard Wolin (History, The Graduate Center, CUNY) will discuss this hitherto underresearched episode of Foucault’s past as a political activist.

Contrivers’ Review Call for Essays on Technology

Through 2015 and beyond, Contrivers’ Review will dedicate a series of articles and interviews examining technology and society from several complementary angles. Our goal is to bring together a broad range of topics and perspectives in order to build a common, interdisciplinary conversation. Broadly, we envision three themes: digital humanities, political and social theory, identity and recognition.

The issue on the social theory of technology will explore the ways in which technology exists on a continuum between an instrument or tool of subjects and societies and a seemingly autonomous historical force that shapes and determines subjects and societies.

The social theory of technology has gained momentum in recent years. Thinkers like Langdon Winner, Paul Virilio, Bruno Latour, and Bernard Stiegler—a non-exhaustive list—have contributed to our theoretical toolbox, generating new approaches out of the work of Weber, Marcuse, Foucault, and Heidegger. Nevertheless, there remains an urgent need to understand the changes driven by the pace of technological innovation. The social theory of technology seeks to place technics alongside economics, politics, and society as a major constitutive force in history.

There are many areas where a theoretical engagement of technology might be productive. Areas that we anticipate contributions include:

  • “Technology” as a theme in Marx, 18th century, etc. (biographical and historical studies)
  • “Technology” and Economics, Sociology, etc (intersectional studies or disciplinary overviews)
  • “Technology” and the Body, Gender, Morality, Autonomy, etc (conceptual studies)
  • “Technology” in Latour, Stiegler, etc (archaeological studies)
  • Post-Humanism, Social speed, Education, the Market, Media (topical studies)

Definitive answers to these questions are unlikely to be forthcoming. This issue of Contrivers’ Review is meant to spark a discussion.

Contributions on the topic of technology are not restricted to these questions. We invite and desire a wide range of perspectives. Essays should be between 1,500 and 3,000 words. Please send us a query letter at editors@contrivers.org. For more information, please refer to our masthead.


Fumi Sakata The Biosocial as a technology of Biopower (2015)

Call for Abstracts

MANCEPT Workshops in Political Theory, 1-3 September 2015
‘Resistance and Power beyond Foucault’

Manchester Centre for Political Theory,
University of Manchester, UK

Convener: Guilel Treiber, Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven (Guilel.Treiber@hiw.kuleuven.be)

The nature of political power is changing. The state is no longer the only, or even the main player in the complex mechanisms of power structures at the beginning of the 21st century. Foucault’s oeuvre has a crucial role in analyzing these changes and emphasizing the productive element of power against the idea that power (and the state as its embodiment) fulfills a merely repressive function. Resistance, as a counter-part to power, is changing as well. However, the academic analysis of resistance has remained constrained within the framework of strike and protest, both essentially practices of resistance to repressive state power. What would be a resistance to a productive power, and what could the relation between the two be?

Resistance seems to refuse clear-cut conceptualization. This may be due to the plurality of possible ways in which one can conceive the term, but also to the contextual and practical character of resistance. In fact, resistance is always specific; it is, in other words, always resistance to something, within a certain historical framework. This has led to the development of a series of competing notions, from ‘deconstruction’ to ‘performativity’, from ‘counter-hegemony’ to ‘counter-conduct’, all of which aim at theorizing resistance and clarifying its relation to power. Additionally, empirical analysis of different forms of resistance remains painfully descriptive, avoiding a critical analysis and appraisal of its multiple new forms and practices.

Power and resistance are not two separate phenomena. If we accept Foucault’s analysis of power, even in its most basic intuition, that power is historically bound, then we will need to re-conceptualize resistance as a counter-power. This may mean that power and resistance do not stand in a merely ‘action-reaction’ relation to each other, whereby power is repressive and resistance liberating; or whereby power is predominant and resistance happens in the restrictive space that a totalizing form of power leaves. If we agree with Foucault, that resistance is as productive as power, what would be the implications on our understanding of politics, what forms would resistance then take?

This workshop aims at encouraging discussion between different perspectives on resistance and power (not exclusively limited to a Foucauldian perspective). Propositions engaged with one of the two following themes (or other related issue) are encouraged :

1) Resistance beyond the state: Protest and strike are heavily state-centered forms of resistance. They focus mainly on demands put to sovereign power. Can power be resisted in such a way? What would a resistance that does not focus on power as though it is emanating from one fixed point look like?

2) Different forms of resistance to power: Civil disobedience, whistle-blowing, ‘illegal’ forms of digital resistance such as Pirate Bay or Anonymous, veganism are all examples of contemporary resistance: are they inherently different from previous forms of resistance? Do they embody different ways to resist to different forms of power? What do they require from the individual or communities resisting?

Call for abstracts: Abstracts of about 400-600 words on all topics mentioned above for the MANCEPT workshops should be sent to Guilel.Treiber@hiw.kuleuven.be The deadline for submitting abstracts is MAY 15, 2015. Applicants will be informed about acceptance by the JUNE 01, 2015. Final papers should be sent by August 2015 (date to be specified later), so that they are circulated between the workshop’s participants.

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