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Lectures de Michel Foucault

3 volumes originally published by ENS editions, now available in their entirety as open access at Open Edition books

Les interventions et discussions réunies dans les trois volumes des Lectures de Michel Foucault sont issues de trois rencontres. La première, organisée à l’initiative de l’association Autrement dit, de l’association pour le centre Michel-Foucault et du Centre de recherches en rhétorique, philosophie et histoire des idées (CERPHI – ENS Fontenay / Saint-Cloud) eut lieu à Chauvigny les 31 mai, 1er et 2 juin 1996. La seconde était organisée à Fontenay-aux-Roses par le Centre de recherche sur la pensée politique italienne (CERPPI – ENS Fontenay / Saint-Cloud) le 14 décembre 1996, à l’occasion de la parution du cours de 1976 au Collège de France « Il faut défendre la société ». Enfin la troisième rencontre, consacrée aux Dits et écrits, était organisée conjointement par le CERPHI et le Centre de synthèse. Elle s’est déroulée à Paris le 23 octobre 1997.

Lectures de Michel Foucault, 1
À propos de « Il faut défendre la société »
Textes réunis par Jean-Claude Zancarini
2001 – ISBN 2-9021126-80-8 – 118 pages

Lectures de Michel Foucault, 2
Foucault et la philosophie
Textes réunis par Emmanuel da Silva
2003 – ISBN 2-84788-017-8 – 138 pages

Lectures de Michel Foucault. Volume 3
Sur les Dits et écrits
Pierre-François Moreau (dir.)

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bernardyJörg Bernardy, Warum Macht produktiv ist. Genealogische Blickschule mit Foucault, Nietzsche und Wittgenstein, Wilhelm Fink, 2015

Further info

Informationen zum Buch

Im alltäglichen Denken und in den Medien ist Macht meist negativ besetzt. Dass Macht auch produktiv wirkt, wird dabei oftmals vergessen.

Der historische Wandel von der traditionellen Souveränitätsmacht zu den subtilen Mechanismen moderner Disziplinargesellschaften ist ein Beispiel für die produktive Seite von Macht. Im Zentrum dieses Wandels stehen der Beginn der modernen Leistungsgesellschaft und die wachsende Ungleichheit der Vermögensverteilung. Um die Produktivität von Macht zu verstehen, spürt das vorliegende Buch die stilistischen und ästhetischen Mittel der genealogischen Erzählungen von Foucault und Nietzsche auf. Die Genealogie ist eine Blickschule des Denkens, die von berühmten Denkern wie Rousseau, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Freud, Wittgenstein und Foucault in ihren Gesellschaftsdiagnosen auf je unterschiedliche Weisen angewandt wurde. Der hierfür typische Blick auf den Menschen in seiner Gesellschaft und Kultur ist sichtverändernd und erfordert bestimmte Techniken ästhetischer Vorstellungskraft.

English summary
Power often is characterized as destructive and negative. The fact that power is productive seems to be forgotten in such contexts. The historical change from traditional power structures of sovereignty to the subtle mechanisms of modern disciplinary societies gives a very good example for the productivity of power. In the core of this historical transition you find the beginning of modern achieving society which also means a disparity in the allocation of wealth. This book follows the genealogies of Foucault and Nietzsche to show the literary and philosophical implications of how productivity of power can be thought and expressed in a philosophical frame (Nietzsche, Foucault and Wittgenstein). The most important tool is the “genealogical look”, a technique of thought which has been applied by many great thinkers such as Rousseau, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Freud, Wittgenstein and Foucault.

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michelJohann Michel, Ricoeur and the Post-Structuralists Bourdieu, Derrida, Deleuze, Foucault, Castoriadis, Translated by Scott Davidson, Rowman & Littlefield, 2014

publisher’s page
French original edition

In this important and original book, Johann Michel paves the way for a greater understanding of Paul Ricoeur’s philosophy by exploring it in relation to some major figures of contemporary French thought—Bourdieu, Derrida, Deleuze, Foucault and Castoriadis.

Although the fertile dialogue between Ricoeur and various structuralist thinkers is well documented, his position in relation to the post-structuralist movement is less-widely understood. Does Ricoeur’s philosophy stand in opposition to post-structuralism in France or, on the contrary, is it in fact a unique variation of that movement? This book defends the latter statement. Michel speaks of post-structuralisms in the plural form and engages them in a dynamic confrontation between Ricoeur and his contemporaries in the French intellectual scene. The result is a better understanding of Ricoeur’s thought and also of the distinctive issues that emerge through confrontation between Ricoeur and each of these post-structuralist thinkers.

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dardotPierre Dardot and Christian Laval, The New Way of the World: On Neoliberal Society, Verso 2014

Publisher’s page

Exploring the genesis of neoliberalism, and the political and economic circumstances of its deployment, Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval dispel numerous common misconceptions. Neoliberalism is neither a return to classical liberalism nor the restoration of “pure” capitalism. To misinterpret neoliberalism is to fail to understand what is new about it: far from viewing the market as a natural given that limits state action, neoliberalism seeks to construct the market and make the firm a model for governments. Only once this is grasped will its opponents be able to meet the unprecedented political and intellectual challenge it poses.

See e-flux for an edited extract from the book

Reviews

  • The New Way of the World is the best modern realization of Foucault’s pioneering approach to the history of neoliberalism. It wonderfully explores the European roots and branches of the neoliberal thought collective over the twentieth century, and warns that unthinking misrepresentations of its political project as espousing ‘laissez-faire’ has had the effect of allowing the Left to submit to its siren song.”
  • “To understand these debates [on neoliberalism], the book by Christian Laval and Pierre Dardot on the ‘neoliberal society’ offers us analytical keys. This monument of scholarship draws on the history of ideas, philosophy and sociology.”
  • “Extremely scholarly, this book is an insistent invitation to push theoretical and social critique of the present order beyond the standard analyses.”


With thanks to Colin Gordon for this news

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indiaU. Kalpagam, Rule by Numbers: Governmentality in Colonial India. Lexington Books, 2014

Publisher’s page

Description
This book examines aspects of the production of statistical knowledge as part of colonial governance in India using Foucault’s ideas of “governmentality.” The modern state is distinctive for its bureaucratic organization, official procedures, and accountability that in the colonial context of governing at a distance instituted a vast system of recordation bearing semblance to and yet differing markedly from the Victorian administrative state. The colonial rule of difference that shaped liberal governmentality introduced new categories of rule that were nested in the procedures and records and could be unraveled from the archive of colonial governance. Such an exercise is attempted here for certain key epistemic categories such as space, time, measurement, classification and causality that have enabled the constitution of modern knowledge and the social scientific discourses of “economy,” “society,” and “history.” The different chapters engage with how enumerative technologies of rule led to proliferating measurements and classifications as fields and objects came within the purview of modern governance rendering both statistical knowledge and also new ways of acting on objects and new discourses of governance and the nation. The postcolonial implications of colonial governmentality are examined with respect to both planning techniques for attainment of justice and the role of information in the constitution of neoliberal subjects.

With thanks to Chathan Vemuri  and Colin Gordon for this news

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Jacques Bouveresse, Le désir, la vérité et la connaissance : la volonté de savoir et la volonté de vérité chez Foucault. In Claudine Tiercelin (dir.) La reconstruction de la raison. Dialogues avec Jacques Bouveresse, Collège de France, 2014.

Full text of chapter

1. Ce qui est connu doit-il être vrai ?

1Pour vous donner une idée du problème dont j’ai choisi de vous parler, il sera utile, je crois, de commencer par vous dire quelques mots d’une question plus classique et plus ancienne, en citant le début d’un petit article d’Elisabeth Anscombe, intitulé « Necessity and Truth », qui a été publié pour la première fois dans le Times Literary Supplement du 14 février 1965 :

Ce qui est connu doit être vrai ; par conséquent, on peut facilement avoir l’impression que seul le nécessairement vrai peut être connu. C’est probablement la racine de la conception des Grecs selon laquelle la connaissance est la connaissance de ce qui est vrai de façon immuable. De nos jours, un étudiant débutant apprend très tôt à critiquer le passage de « Ce qui est connu est nécessairement vrai » à « Seul ce qui est nécessairement vrai est connu » ; la première proposition est correcte seulement en ce sens que, si une chose n’est pas vraie, alors ma certitude qu’elle est le cas – nécessairement – n’est pas une connaissance ; et de cela rien ne résulte qui impose une restriction quelconque aux objets de la connaissance.

Effectivement, la faute logique qui est impliquée dans le raisonnement est d’une espèce suffisamment élémentaire pour pouvoir être facilement reconnue. Mais cela n’a pas empêché certains philosophes traditionnels d’éprouver des difficultés sérieuses à résoudre le problème, surtout quand la question se posait à propos de Dieu, dont il peut sembler légitime de supposer que les seuls objets possibles pour sa connaissance devraient être des choses non seulement vraies, mais nécessairement vraies. Elisabeth Anscombe, dans son article, s’est intéressée spécialement à l’attitude que saint Thomas d’Aquin a adoptée à l’égard de cette difficulté :

Suite

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kelly-politicsMark G. E. Kelly, Foucault and Politics. A Critical Introduction, Edinburgh University Press, Nov 2014

Further info

A clear and critical account of Foucault’s political thought: what he said, how it’s been used and its influence today

This book surveys Michel Foucault’s thought in the context of his life and times, utilising the latest primary and secondary materials to explain the political implications of each phase of his work and the relationships between each phase. It also illustrates how his thought has been used in the political sphere and examines the importance of his work for politics today.

One of the most prominent theorists in the contemporary humanities and social sciences, Foucault is known as a radical thinker who disturbs our understanding of society. He also presented a moving target, continually changing his concerns and his apparent position. So, until now, comparatively little attention has been given to his politics.

Key Features

  • Engages with Foucault’s entire corpus, from his first works right up to his posthumously published Collège de France lectures and the unabridged version of the History of Madness
  • Looks at the theoretical reception of Foucault’s thought and how it has been applied to real-world problems
  • Student-friendly text boxes highlight and explain key ideas

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