Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

wrong-doingMichel Foucault, Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling: The Function of Avowal in Justice,
Edited by Fabienne Brion and Bernard E. Harcourt
Translated by Stephen W. Sawyer

360 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2014

Further info

Three years before his death, Michel Foucault delivered a series of lectures at the Catholic University of Louvain that until recently remained almost unknown. These lectures—which focus on the role of avowal, or confession, in the determination of truth and justice—provide the missing link between Foucault’s early work on madness, delinquency, and sexuality and his later explorations of subjectivity in Greek and Roman antiquity.

Ranging broadly from Homer to the twentieth century, Foucault traces the early use of truth-telling in ancient Greece and follows it through to practices of self-examination in monastic times. By the nineteenth century, the avowal of wrongdoing was no longer sufficient to satisfy the call for justice; there remained the question of who the “criminal” was and what formative factors contributed to his wrong-doing. The call for psychiatric expertise marked the birth of the discipline of psychiatry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as well as its widespread recognition as the foundation of criminology and modern criminal justice.

Published here for the first time, the 1981 lectures have been superbly translated by Stephen W. Sawyer and expertly edited and extensively annotated by Fabienne Brion and Bernard E. Harcourt. They are accompanied by two contemporaneous interviews with Foucault in which he elaborates on a number of the key themes. An essential companion to Discipline and Punish, Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling will take its place as one of the most significant works of Foucault to appear in decades, and will be necessary reading for all those interested in his thought.

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Foucault-verdade-e-loucura2Thiago Fortes Ribas, Foucault: verdade e loucura no nascimento da arqueologia, Editora Universidade Federal do Paraná (2014)

Further info

Com a clareza e a profundidade conceitual necessárias ao estudo de um dos filósofos mais importantes do século XX, este livro traz à tona o tema, atual e relevante, da relação entre verdade e loucura. Como nossa cultura chegou à verdade da loucura? Como a loucura enuncia a verdade do homem? Trata-se do início da produção teórica de Michel Foucault, ou seja, do nascimento de sua arqueologia. Voltado a textos pouco estudados, como o primeiro livro publicado por Foucault, “Doença mental e personalidade”, ainda não traduzido para o português, sua leitura oferece uma contribuição para o estudo desse filósofo e para a compreensão do sentido de seu afastamento em relação ao humanismo.

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vanheuleStijn Vanheule, What we can learn from Michel Foucault on DxSummit.org The Global Summit on Diagnostic Alternatives: An Online Platform for Rethinking Mental Health

The text below is based on the author’s book: Vanheule, S. (2014). Diagnosis and the DSM – A critical Review. London & New York: Palgrave Macmillan.



As a consequence, in Foucault’s view madness is not so much a natural kind, i.e., an entity governed by natural laws, but what he calls “a reification of a magical nature.” In his view, psychiatry did not arise because medical doctors had suddenly discovered an underlying biomedical reality that could be linked to the behaviors of the so-called insane. On the contrary, psychiatry came into existence as it brought its own object into being: disciplinary practices first delineated a group of outcasts that were amenable for adaptation to society, and later defined them as proper objects for scientific study: “What we call psychiatric practice is a certain moral tactic contemporary with the end of the eighteenth century, preserved in the rites of asylum life, and overlaid by the myths of positivism”. By qualifying madness as a reification Foucault stresses that the early alienists, just like modern psychiatrists, turned their concept into an object. As a consequence ‘madness’ was no longer treated as an abstraction that can be used to make sense of reality, but as a biological or psychological reality that simply awaits clinical detection and scientific discovery. Such reification is a direct effect of adopting psychiatric discourse. Through the use of specific language, the concept under discussion is materialized, or as Nietzsche put it: “it is enough to create new names and estimations and probabilities in order to create in the long run new ‘things.’”

Meanwhile this notion of reification slowly became recognized as a problem in psychiatry. What is more, DSM-based diagnosis in particular was at last accused of promulgating such reification, thus giving rise to what Steven Hyman, a former president of the US National Institute of Mental Health, calls “an unintended epistemic prison.” Indeed, while the diagnostic categories of the DSM are nothing but conventional groupings of symptoms or “heuristics that have proven extremely useful in clinical practice and research”, people still tend to think of them as real entities. For example, reification is evident when people think of ‘ADHD’ or ‘schizophrenia’ as underlying diseases that give rise to characteristic symptoms, while in fact these labels are nothing but umbrella terms used to designate a collection of symptoms commonly associated with the condition. Reification produces the added problem of the so-called disorders being understood as quasi-material conditions that cause symptoms, while in fact they only indicate that a (certain) minimal number of category-specific symptoms have been observed in an individual. In other words, DSM diagnoses do not explain anything beyond this idle descriptive classification, yet people tend to invest belief in them as real entities, which is clearly absurd.

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Stijn Vanheule, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, associate professor at Ghent University (Belgium), and psychoanalyst in private practice (member New Lacanian School for Psychoanalysis). He is the author of the books The Subject of Psychosis: A Lacanian Perspective (2011) and Diagnosis and the DSM: A critical Review (2014), and of multiple papers on Lacanian and Freudian psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic research into psychopathology, and clinical diagnosis.

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MF_HSL’Usage des plaisirs et Le Souci de soi de Michel Foucault. Regards critiques 1984-1987
coédition PUC – IMEC, Juillet 2014
Dossier coordonné par Luca Paltrinieri.

Textes choisis et présentés par Philippe Artières, Jean-François Bert, Sandra Boehringer, Philippe Chevallier, Frédéric Gros, Luca Paltrinieri, Judith Revel.

Collection Regards critiques.

Avec L’Usage des plaisirs et Le Souci de soi, Michel Foucault reprend, après huit ans de silence, le fil interrompu d’une histoire de la sexualité. Entre-temps, toutefois, le projet a changé profondément : il ne s’agit plus seulement d’étudier les concepts et les normes qui règlent la sexualité, mais aussi les formes et les modalités du rapport à soi par lesquelles les individus se constituent et se reconnaissent comme sujets. La première réception des deux ouvrages témoigne ainsi d’un double étonnement : la découverte d’un nouveau registre de la pensée foucaldienne qui se tisse autour de la subjectivation et l’inexistence, dans les sociétés anciennes, d’une « sexualité » comme ensemble de pratiques humaines définissant l’identité homosexuelle ou hétérosexuelle.

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fejesAndreas Fejes and Katherine Nicoll (editors) Foucault and a Politics of Confession in Education, Routledge, forthcoming 2015

Publisher’s page

PDF flyer

In liberal, democratic and capitalist societies today, we are increasingly invited to disclose our innermost thoughts to others. We are asked to turn our gaze inwards, scrutinizing ourselves, our behaviours and beliefs, while talking and writing about ourselves in these terms. This form of disclosure of the self resonates with older forms of church confession, and is now widely seen in practices of education in new ways in nurseries, schools, colleges, universities, workplaces and the wider policy arena.

This bookbrings together internationalscholars and researchers inspired by the work of Michel Foucault, to explore in detail what happens when these practices of confession become part of our lives and ways of being in education. The authors argue that they are not neutral, but political and powerful in their effects in shaping and governing people; they examine confession as discursive and contemporary practice so as to provoke critical thought.

International in scope and pioneering in the detail of its scrutiny of such practices, this book extends contemporary understanding of the exercise of power and politics of confessional practices in education and learning, and offers an alternative way of thinking of them. The book will be of value to educational practitioners, scholars, researchers and students, interested in the politics of their own practices.


Author bios Acknowledgements Part 1 – Introduction 1. An emergence of confession in education Part 2 – A politics of confession in assessment 2. Confession and subjectifications in school performance evaluations 3. Fabricating the teacher’s soul in teacher education 4. Assessing confession in shaping the professional 5. Confessions of an individual education plan 6. Visualization, performance, and the figure of the researcher

Part 3 – A politics of confession in dialogue 7. On confessional dialogue and collective subjects 8. Guiding adults: researching the ANT-ics of confessing 9. Confessional talk in parenting Part 4 – A politics of confession in State programmes 10. Is giving voice an incitement to confess? 11. Are we constructing Lutherans, people with values or US citizens? 12. Subjectivity, youth unemployment and culture of self 13. Historicizing Chinese self-reflection as a technology of confession Part 5 – A politics of confession as Care of the self 14. Reflections on lifelong learning and the making of the self in 15. Living the present otherwise.


Andreas Fejes is Professor in Adult Education Research at the division for education and adult learning at Linköping University, Sweden.

Katherine Nicoll is Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Stirling, Scotland.


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brossat2Alain Brossat, Abécédaire Foucault, Préface de Stéphane Nadaud, Editions Demopolis


Cet Abécédaire Foucault n’est pas un essai sur la pensée de Foucault mais bien plutôt un cheminement avec Foucault. En adoptant le principe de l’abécédaire, il ne s’agit pas de passer en revue les principales notions à l’œuvre dans le travail de Foucault mais plutôt de tenter de rendre le lecteur sensible à la puissance d’une pensée constamment animée par le souci de l’actuel (le présent tel qu’il est, pour nous, en question). En croisant et combinant des textes animés par le souci d’entrer dans la discussion foucaldienne contemporaine, toujours plus animée, et d’autres qui sont portés par l’inspiration foucaldienne sans se rattacher à une quelconque orthodoxie, cet ouvrage s’efforce de mettre en évidence la façon dont une pensée forte comme celle de Foucault peut agir sur ses lecteurs en les incitant à se tenir à la hauteur des enjeux aussi bien philosophiques que politiques de leur époque. Aux antipodes du commentaire de texte(s) érudit, cet abc… destiné à être lu dans tous les sens vise, entre autres, à convaincre le lecteur que la philosophie vive est tout sauf un soporifique – un stimulant destiné à intensifier la pensée, en vente libre, sans effet indésirable….

With thanks to Alexandre Klein for this news

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caillat François Caillat (dir.) Foucault contre lui-même , Paris: PUF, 2014

Maison d’Edition


Dans sa vie privée, autant que dans son œuvre ou dans son rapport à la politique, Foucault n’a cessé de rompre avec lui-même.
Dans sa vie privée, Foucault quitte sa région natale très jeune, il change son patronyme et travaille dur pour intégrer l’ENS de Paris. Aussitôt entre les murs de la rue d’Ulm, il s’y sent mal et quitte la France, voyage à travers l’Europe, sans se fixer. Même quand il intègrera le Collège de France, il ne cessera de se définir contre l’institution. Dans son œuvre, il réécrit ses livres quand il les réédite, se dit « enfant de cœur du structuralisme » avant de dire qu’il n’a jamais été structuraliste, renie certains de ses livres. Il s’intéresse au marxisme puis, quelques années plus tard, au néolibéralisme et soutient des mouvements politiques (mouvements gays, maoïsme…), puis les critique, parfois très durement. Foucault, comme il l’a dit lui même, n’aura cessé de s’arracher à lui-même, de se « déprendre », de sans cesse se construire contre ce qu’il a été et ce qu’il a fait.

Ce livre montre comment la rupture est au centre du travail de Foucault et de sa vie, à travers des réflexions sur l’histoire, les mouvements homosexuels, la théorie, la domination, les institutions, l’Université, etc. Loin de se limiter toutefois à un commentaire académique de Foucault, il repense l’héritage de Foucault afin d’élaborer de nouveaux problèmes théoriques et de nouvelles politiques de lutte contre les mécanismes de la domination.

Table des matières

Se déprendre, François Caillat

Que signifie penser? Geoffroy de Lagasnerie

Percevoir l’intolérable, Arlette Farge

Apprendre à fuir (à propos des modes relationnels), Leo Bersani

Savoir trancher, Georges Didi-Huberman

A propos des auteurs

François Caillat est réalisateur. Agrégé de philosophie, il a réalisé de nombreux documentaires et plusieurs films sur de grandes figures intellectuelles comme Le Clézio ou encore Julia Kristeva. Il a notamment réalisé Foucault contre lui-même, diffusé sur Arte en juin 2014.

Contributions d’Arlette Farge, Geoffroy de Lagasnerie, Leo Bersani, Georges Didi Huberman, Didier Eribon.

With thanks to Alexandre Klein for this news

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PPCspine22mmTony McHugh, Faces Inside and Outside the Clinic. A Foucauldian Perspective on Cosmetic Facial Modification. Ashgate, 2013

publisher’s page

Drawing on studies of surface topography, image editing, and diagnostic and surgical experience, Faces Inside and Outside the Clinic addresses the notion of ‘truth’ in what are considered to be ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ faces, whether in clinical cosmetic procedures or in specific sociocultural contexts outside the clinic. With attention to the manner in which the human face – and often the individual herself or himself as a consequence – is physically defined, conceptually judged, numerically measured and clinically analysed, this book reveals that on closer inspection, supposedly objective and evidential ‘truths’ are in fact subjective and prescriptive.

Adopting a Foucauldian analysis of the ways in which ‘normalising technologies’ and ‘techniques’ ultimately preserve and expand upon an increasing array of ‘abnormal’ facial configurations, Faces Inside and Outside the Clinic shows that when determining ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ faces, what happens inside the clinic is inextricably linked to what happens outside the clinic – and vice versa. As such, it will be of interest to scholars and students of social, cultural and political theory, contemporary philosophy and the social scientific study of science, health and technology.

  • Contents: Foreword, Nikki Sullivan; Introduction: the human face is…; Surfaces and depths in and of the face; Re-visioning faces in time and space; Technologies and techniques of and for the face; The face of an-other as oneself; Conclusion; References; Index.
  • About the Author: Tony McHugh is a research associate in the Department of Media, Music, Communication, and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University, Australia, and has three decades of diagnostic and surgical teaching experience at the University of Sydney, Australia.
  • Reviews: ‘This book is excellent in every dimension: originality, significance, scope of argument…demonstrating that medical knowledge is always situated and showing the relevance of Foucault’s work to our understanding of the contemporary patient as medical subject.’
    Arthur Frank, University of Calgary, Canada

‘Much has been written from outside the clinic about the body and the technologies that are employed to refashion it. This remarkable volume however is written by a surgeon from inside the clinic. The result is an authoritative but compassionate study of the face, its ontological complexity and its diverse cultural meanings.’
Bryan S. Turner, The City University of New York, USA

‘This is a fascinating account of the face and its surgical modification by an oral plastic surgeon and scholar of Foucault. The angle of vision McHugh brings to the subject of cosmetic surgery is unique and imaginative; it is both theoretically sophisticated and grounded in the embodied experiences of patients and surgeons both inside and outside the clinic.‘
Victoria Pitts-Taylor, Queens College and Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA

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bertJean-François Bert, Jérôme Lamy (dir.), Michel Foucault : un héritage critique, Paris, CNRS Éditions, 2014, 416 p., ISBN : 9782271081469.


Présentation de l’éditeur

Les écrits de Michel Foucault sont stratifiés, hiérarchisés, entre les livres, les entretiens et les cours au Collège de France, mais ils sont surtout disséminés dans leurs usages. Désormais, et en plus de l’histoire des sciences et de la philosophie, les « effets » Foucault sont palpables sur la théorie de la littérature et du cinéma, l’histoire culturelle et sociale, les théories du genre, la pensée politique, les sciences de gestion…

C’est dans ce chantier ouvert que se situe cet ouvrage. Il s’agit pour Jérôme Lamy, Jean-François Bert et leur équipe de spécialistes de resituer et d’analyser une pensée empruntant des questionnements à d’autres champs, de la psychologie à l’économie, de la science politique à la géographie, tout en ne se réclamant pas de ces sciences humaines et sociales. Pour comprendre la position de Foucault, les grands axes méthodologiques qu’il a parcourus sont retracés, telle l’archéologie, l’épistémè, la problématisation. Les concepts, des ouvrages maintenant classiques aux cours et à l’histoire de la sexualité, sont également revisités. Cette lecture critique des écrits et des usages de Foucault permet de le confronter aux analyses les plus récentes en sciences sociales, comme les postcolonial studies, ou de suivre les dialogues engagés (parfois à distance) avec des auteurs comme Norbert Elias, Michel de Certeau et Pierre Bourdieu.

Un inventaire aussi rigoureux qu’éclairant.


Jean-François Bert est maître d’enseignement et de recherche à l’université de Lausanne, IRCM.

Jérôme Lamy est chercheur à l’université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.

Compte rendu de Alexandre Klein

Trente ans après sa mort, l’ombre imposante du philosophe Michel Foucault (1926-1984) plane encore sur de nombreuses recherches, particulièrement dans le domaine des sciences humaines et sociales (SHS). Pour certains, il y serait même devenu omniprésent1. En effet, des travaux politiques ou juridiques aux recherches sur le genre ou la prison, en passant les études postcoloniales, l’anthropologie, l’ethnologie, la sociologie, l’architecture, l’histoire, les cultural studies, la philosophie ou les STS, celui qui appela à user de son œuvre comme d’une boîte à outils fait aujourd’hui l’objet d’usages multiples, se voyant même parfois usé jusqu’à la corde. Si nul ne doute du succès certain de la pensée de Foucault, reprise et citée abondamment, tant pour être critiquée, encensée, que justement commentée, rares sont ceux qui peuvent prétendre à une vue globale des emprunts, déplacements, transferts, usages, utilisations ou hommages auxquels ses travaux et réflexions sont soumis. Il convenait donc, au-delà de la présentation des possibles usages contemporains de la pensée et des concepts foucaldiens, de se situer par rapport à ce corpus devenu aujourd’hui un pôle méthodologique incontournable, notamment pour les SHS morcelées de la fin du XXe siècle et du début du XXIe siècle.


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zevnikZevnik, Luka, Critical Perspectives in Happiness Research: The Birth of Modern Happiness, Springer, 2014

Publisher’s page

  • Explores the concept of modernization as the collective pursuit of happiness
  • Places the concept of happiness into a historical and cultural context
  • Analyses the relationship of modern consumer culture with happiness in contemporary western societies
This book presents an interdisciplinary exploration of the origins of happiness in the modern Western culture and makes the argument that happiness is not universal but is instead a culturally and historically specific experience, characteristic only to the Western world. It begins with an overview of the main research approaches to happiness and then studies the important but elusive theme in the context of culture and relations of power. The second part of the book analyses the social, religious, ethical and political processes that lead to the emergence of the experience of happiness, including consumer culture in contemporary societies. It presents an analysis of the medieval Christian experience which concludes that the modern experience of happiness only emerged in the 17th and 18th century, when the ideal of human existence increasingly started to be pursued in the present life. In its conclusion, this book explores the concept of modernization as the collective pursuit of happiness.

Keywords »Anthropology of Well-Being – Art of Living – Basic Parameters of Happiness – Critical History of Happiness – Cultural Construction of Happiness – Cultural Neuroscience – Culture and Relations – Empirical Happiness Research – Ethnocentrism and Happiness – Eudaimonic Well-Being – Foucault and Happiness – Happiness Studies and Life Satisfaction – Happiness and Consumer Culture – Happiness and Culture – Happiness and Medieval Theology – Happiness and Pastoral Power – Interdisciplinary Approach to the Study of Happiness – Middle Ages and Happiness – Neoroscience of Happiness – Origins of Happiness in the Western Culture – Positive Timeless Universal Experience – Public and Communal Happiness – Pursuit of Happiness – Sin and Salvation – The Birth of Modern Happiness – Understanding of Happiness

Dr. Luka Zevnik is assistant professor at University of Ljubljana. He is interdisciplinary oriented and has presented conference papers and published on happiness and emotions, popular culture, consumer culture, experience, cultural studies and neuroscience.

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