Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

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

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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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psychopathology-at-schoolValerie Harwood and Julie Allan. Psychopathology at school: Theorizing mental disorders in education, Routledge (2014)

Further info

Psychopathology at School provides a timely response to concerns about the rising numbers of children whose behaviour is recognised and understood as a medicalised condition, rather than simply as poor behaviour caused by other factors. It is the first scholarly analysis of psychopathology which draws on the philosophers Foucault, Deleuze, Guattari and Arendt to examine the processes whereby children’s behaviour is pathologised. The heightened attention to mental disorders is contrasted with education practices in the early and mid-to-late twentieth century, and the emergence of a new conceptualization of childhood is explored.

Taking education as a central component to the contemporary experience of growing up, the book charts the ways in which mental disorders have become commonplace in childhood and youth, from birth through to college and university, but also offers examples of where professionals have refused to pathologise children’s behaviour. The book examines the extent of the influence of psychopathology on the lives of children and young people, as well as the practices that infiltrate education and the possibilities for alternative educational responses that negate the diagnosis of mental disorder. Psychopathology at School is a must read for anyone concerned about the growing influence of psychopathology in education and will be of particular interest to educated readers and to scholars, students and professionals in education, psychiatry, psychology, child studies, youth studies, nursing, social work and sociology.

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chevallierPhilippe Chevallier, Michel Foucault. Le pouvoir et la bataille, Presses Universitaires de France, 2014

Further info

Le pouvoir n’est pas ce dont certains se saisissent un beau matin, pour ensuite le perdre ou le céder au gré des événements. À la lisière de nos vies, le pouvoir s’exerce et se risque sans cesse. Telle fut la grande leçon de Michel Foucault, marquant la fin des rêves – ceux de la révolution, de la transgression, de la prophétie – et le retour du sérieux en philosophie.
Le pouvoir réserve bien des surprises à celui qui se risque à en faire l’analyse. À la fois fort et faible, sûr de sa fin et équivoque, tenace mais réversible, le pouvoir semble perpétuellement menacé par autre chose que l’opposition réfléchie à son exercice. Comment rendre compte de ce paradoxe du pouvoir sans s’interroger sur son lieu d’émergence, ou – si l’on veut conjurer les chimères de l’origine – sur sa limite ? Quel est cet autre du pouvoir, qui à la fois le sous-tend et le met en péril, et hante l’écriture du philosophe ? Cet autre, nous l’appellerons : la bataille. C’est de cette région obscure autour du pouvoir, peu explicitée par Foucault et pourtant présente dans son œuvre, que nous tenterons d’approcher.

Table des matières

1. La question du pouvoir comme vigilance première du philosophe
1.1. L’éclipse du pouvoir dans le « dernier » Foucault : évaluation critique
1.2. L’ontologie critique de nous-mêmes
1.2.1. Le présent
1.2.2. L’ontologie
1.2.3. La critique
1.3. Le pouvoir sans dehors

2. Le pouvoir ou la bataille ?
2.1. Un indice : l’étude historique des formes judiciaires de la vérité
2.2. Un changement d’hypothèse
2.2.1. Il faut défendre la société (1976)
2.2.2. « Le sujet et le pouvoir » (1982)
2.3. Comment lire un événement ?
2.3.1. L’écriture de l’histoire : enjeu et méthode
2.3.2. L’événement entre régularité et irrégularité
2.3.3. L’archive de l’infamie

3. De deux manières de dire la vérité
3.1. La vérité politique de l’histoire
3.2. La vérité des batailles
3.3. De la patience entendue comme une certaine forme de l’urgence

Épilogue : On a raison de se soulever

A propos de l’auteur
Philippe Chevallier est docteur en philosophie. Il est notamment l’auteur de Michel Foucault et le christianisme (ENS éditions, 2011) et a dirigé avec Antoine de Baecque le Dictionnaire de la pensée du cinéma (Puf, 2012). Il travaille à la Bibliothèque nationale de France.

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New Series: Continental Philosophy in Austral-Asia. Rowman & Littlefield International

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Continental philosophy left home in the second half of the twentieth century, to migrate to the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. It has established itself in the Anglophone world as a minor tradition in philosophy programmes, but also in cultural studies, literature, film, gender studies, sociology and politics programmes. Continental philosophy has been particularly well adapted to attempts to interrogate the socio-historical situation of European colonisation of the new worlds. From Foucault to Deleuze and Guattari to Derrida, Spivak, Agamben, Butler and beyond, continental approaches to philosophy have been able to explore, with apparently less cultural chauvinism, the specificity of the habitats in which thought finds itself. Through this adaptation, continental thought has also been taken up in novel and distinct ways. Not only has geographical displacement enabled continental philosophy to shed new light on antipodal modes of cultural and political life, it has also subjected continental philosophy itself to various kinds of critical pressure.

By responding to environmental, social, cultural and political contexts specific to the countries of Austral-Asia, and by virtue of their distance from the traditions, priorities and hierarchies of the North Atlantic world, philosophers in this region have become known for their original and surprising interpretations and articulations of the ‘continental’ tradition. Taking seriously the commitment to historicity and place found in that tradition, authors in this series challenge the centrality of European culture and shapes of life. They ask how continental philosophy comes to terms with the places that were rendered according to — but that also and in every case exceed and confound — the constraints of European imagination. They ask how the various social and political impasses in which Austral-Asian countries have become entrenched owe their provenance to European modes of thought and of life. They ask how continental philosophy may help to think beyond such impasses, for example: How does continental philosophy assist thinking about the relationship between colonising and indigenous peoples? Or about mutual responsibilities in a multicultural society? Or about our responsibilities to non-human others? How does continental philosophy respond to the challenges to imagination posed by the fragile ecologies of Australia, New Zealand and island nations in Asia that will be most affected by global warming? How does the world conceived according to European traditions of thought and language compare with the non-European worlds of Asia and the Pacific?

This series will seek to show the vicissitudes of European thought in the dreams it had for itself, once it left home to seek its fortune… and to become, perhaps, wiser, or at least more circumspect about its own purity. Far from an exercise in parochialism, then, “Continental Philosophy in Austral-Asia” presents new critical perspectives on philosophical methodologies practiced globally, thereby opening continental philosophy to novel imperatives and trajectories.

The series is developed in collaboration with members of the Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy (ASCP), which was established in 1995 to recognise and support the burgeoning interest in Continental Philosophy in Australian Universities. The ASCP came to include philosophers working in New Zealand, and continues to attract international members and to develop networks with scholars in the broader Asian region. The Society also traverses disciplinary boundaries, serving scholars working with continental philosophy in the fields of English, Cultural Studies, Sociology, Political Theory, and Fine Art. Like the Society, the book series aims to represent the multifaceted and interdisciplinary ways in which continental philosophy is used in Australasia. And also like the Society, the book series will support and promote high quality work of early-career and established scholars alike.

Simone Bignall, P. Diego Bubbio, Joanne Faulkner and Paul Patton

If you would like to submit a proposal, please follow this link to use the RLI proposal form, and send the completed proposal to Joanne Faulkner at j.faulkner@unsw.edu.au.

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horneEmily Horne and Tim Maly, The Inspection House: An Impertinent Field Guide to Modern Surveillance, Coach House Books, September 2014.

Further info

Note also: Sept 21 | Emily Horne & The Inspection House at Word on the Street – Toronto

In 1787, British philosopher and social reformer Jeremy Bentham conceived of the panopticon, a ring of cells observed by a central watchtower, as a labor-saving device for those in authority. While Bentham’s design was ostensibly for a prison, he believed that any number of places that require supervision—factories, poorhouses, hospitals, and schools—would benefit from such a design. The French philosopher Michel Foucault took Bentham at his word. In his groundbreaking 1975 study, Discipline and Punish, the panopticon became a metaphor to describe the creeping effects of personalized surveillance as a means for ever-finer mechanisms of control.

Forty years later, the available tools of scrutiny, supervision, and discipline are far more capable and insidious than Foucault dreamed, and yet less effective than Bentham hoped. Shopping malls, container ports, terrorist holding cells, and social networks all bristle with cameras, sensors, and trackers. But, crucially, they are also rife with resistance and prime opportunities for revolution. The Inspection House is a tour through several of these sites—from Guantánamo Bay to the Occupy Oakland camp and the authors’ own mobile devices—providing a stark, vivid portrait of our contemporary surveillance state and its opponents.

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silvaLíngua(gens) em Discurso – A Formação dos Objetos
Organizadoras: Ismara Tasso e Érica Danielle Silva
Editora: Pontes
Coleção Linguagem&Sociedade (v. 7)
Ano de publicação: 2014.

Com o objetivo de subsidiar teórica e metodologicamente pesquisadores e estudiosos do campo epistemológico do discurso, esta coletânea reúne, com singular empenho dos autores, inéditas e substanciais discussões e reflexões acerca da formação dos objetos. Sob tal conjuntura, cada capítulo prima, por sua natureza teórica e analítica, demonstrar a emergência e formação de enunciados para além da articulação das palavras, compreendendo que os objetos não se formam nas realidades materiais anteriores aos discursos, mas são por eles produzidos no conjunto de práticas que arquitetam seu aparecimento, sua manutenção e sua coexistência. O tratamento desse funcionamento discursivo, cujas vertentes teóricas tem seus expoentes em Foucault, Pêcheux, Courtine, Bakhtin, Orlandi, Charaudeau e Maingueneau, possibilitou a organização da obra em duas partes. Na primeira, estão reunidos os textos que abordam as categorias de Acontecimento, espaços de memória, política(s) e mídia. E, na segunda parte, os capítulos estão amparados na investigação sobre a produção de discursos sobre o corpo, inscrita em práticas de subjetivação, no domínio da biopolítica. Organizam-se, portanto, a partir de três eixos − Práticas de subjetivação, biopolítica e corpo.

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