Archive for the ‘Journal articles’ Category

Steve Matthewman, Michel Foucault, Technology, and Actor-Network Theory,Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology, Volume 17, Issue 2, Spring 2013, Pages 274-292

DOI: 10.5840/techne201317210
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While Michel Foucault’s significance as a social theorist is undisputed, his importance as a technological theorist is frequently overlooked. This article considers the richness and the range of Foucault’s technological thinking by surveying his works and interviews, and by tracking his influence within Actor-Network Theory (ANT). The argument is made that we will not fully understand Foucault without understanding the central place of technology in his work, and that we will not understand ANT without understanding Foucault.

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Robin James, Neoliberal Noise: Attali, Foucault, & the Biopolitics of Uncool, Culture, Theory, and Critique 52 (2):138-158 (2014)

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Is it even possible to resist or oppose neoliberalism? I consider two responses that translate musical practices into counter-hegemonic political strategies: Jacques Attali’s theory of “composition” and the biopolitics of “uncool.” Reading Jacques Attali’s Noise through Foucault’s late work, I argue that Attali’s concept of “repetition” is best understood as a theory of neoliberal biopolitics, and his theory composition is actually a model of deregulated subjectivity. Composition is thus not an alternative to neoliberalism but its quintessence. An aesthetics and ethos of “uncool” might be a more viable alternative. If and when they function as bad, unprofitable investments, uncool practices like smoothness (predictable regularity) can undercut neoliberal imperatives to self-capitalization. I consider both the impact of neoliberalism on music, and how the study of music can advance theories of neoliberalism.

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Annmaria Shimabuku, Schmitt and Foucault on the Question of Sovereignty under Military Occupation, Política común, Volume 5, 2014

1. A Violation or Production of Sovereignty?

This essay examines the geopolitical underpinnings of Carl Schmitt’s well-known definition of the sovereign as “he who decides the exception” (Political Theology 5) mainly through The Nomos of the Earth (1950). It is in this later work, written after Schmitt had borne witness to the liberation movements of Europe’s colonial territories alongside Germany’s defeat in both world wars, that he contextualized the historical formation of sovereignty in terms of the colonization of the New World and occupatio bellica within Europe from the 16th century onward. In reading The Nomos of the Earth, one cannot help but sense nostalgia for days past—a romanticization of the jus publicum Europaeum that grounds his critique of a new global (dis)order characterized by the transnational flow of capital and concomitant espousal of universal human rights moderated respectively by the American dollar and U.S. military as “world police.” His vitriolic critique of “American imperialism” that violates the sovereignty of postwar European and postcolonial states certainly carries political clout for critics of American Empire (“Modern Imperialism in International Law” 31). However, what exactly is this violated sovereignty? Is this a violation of the traditional form of territorial sovereignty, or a violation of a new form of sovereignty that has given way to an order of globalization? If so, what are its contours?

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Jacobs, F., Claringbould, I., Knoppers, A.
Becoming a ‘good coach’
(2014) Sport, Education and Society, . Article in Press.

The purpose of this paper was to gain insight into how coaches problematized their coaching practices and the process in which they engaged to become what they perceived to be better coaches using a course based on critical reflective practice. We assumed that constant critical self-reflection would enable coaches to move closer to their individual idea of a ‘good coach.’ Scholars and coaches collaborated to develop course content. The course was built on principles of rational-emotive education. We drew on Foucault’s conceptualization of self-constitution or modes of subjectivation and confessional practice and Knaus’ approach to teaching for our analytical framework. Thirty-five coaches participated in this study. The data consisted of semistructured interviews, field notes, open-ended questionnaires and focus group. The results are presented per mode of change or transformation. We explored how coaches wanted to transform their coaching practice (ethical substance), how they defined a good coach (mode of subjection), how they worked on change (ethical work) and how they transformed themselves (telos). To gain further insight into this process, we also examined narratives of three coaches as they described why and how they changed. The practice of critical reflection seemed to meet the needs of the coaches involved in the study. They used it to continually examine their behavior and their normalized taken-for-granted beliefs and to transform themselves in the direction of their idea of a ‘good coach.’ Ontological reflection was seen as a tool and a process that requires continual practice.

Author Keywords
Coach education; Evaluation; Good coach; Reflection; Transformation

DOI: 10.1080/13573322.2014.927756

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Chloë Taylor, Birth of the Suicidal Subject: Nelly Arcan, Michel Foucault, and Voluntary Death, Culture, Theory and Critique, Published online: 23 Jul 2014

DOI: 10.1080/14735784.2014.937820


Michel Foucault argues that it is not sex but death that is the true taboo in the modern, biopolitical era. The result is that regular death has been privatised and institutionalised, wars are waged in the name of life, capital punishment has become a scandal, and suicide has become a problem for sociological and psychiatric analysis rather than law. In contrast to the dominant view, Foucault portrays suicide not as a mark of pathology but as a form of resistance (tragic or pleasurable) to disciplinary power, and argues for an aestheticisation of voluntary death as part of a beautiful life. Through a reading of the writings of Québecoise author Nelly Arcan, this essay presents but also critiques and expands upon Foucault’s accounts of suicide, exploring the thesis that the pathological model of suicide produces the subjects that it intends to treat.

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Szto, C., Gray, S.
Forgive me Father for I have Thinned: surveilling the bio-citizen through Twitter
(2014) Qualitiative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, . Article in Press.

The Biggest Loser (TBL) is a reality weight-loss television show that aims to address the notion of an ‘obesity epidemic’ by instructing viewers about how to be responsible for their own health. The popular American show, produced by the National Broadcasting Company, has become a televised confessional for contestants, whereby participants are asked to reflect on their health struggles and express general disgust, disappointment and/or hope about their changing physical state. This study observes that many viewers take their cue from the contestants and use social media to confess their own health sins and ask for redemption. The goal of this study was to provide insight into how viewers of TBL make sense of and interact with the information (re)produced by the television show by analysing viewer engagement through Twitter. Drawing on the work of Michel Foucault, the authors argue that Twitter facilitates the ability to create a public record of personal transgressions, obedience and transformation, which are necessary confessional processes for the production of ‘good’ bio-citizens. Viewers of TBL were observed to facilitate their own captivity and regulation in the Obesity Clinic, an invisible structure that invites individuals to adhere to normative concepts of behaviour. This analysis concludes by arguing for the cancellation of TBL due to the dangerous precedent it creates for both its contestants and viewers.

Author Keywords
Biggest Loser; confession; obesity; surveillance; Twitter

DOI: 10.1080/2159676X.2014.938245

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Thomas Bolmain, Ni Foucault ni Lacan. De la Loi, entre éthique et finitude Meta: Research in Hermeneutics, Phenomenology, and Practical Philosophy, Vol. VI, no. 1, June 2014:198-240

Full PDF (in French)


After highlighting Foucault’s ambivalent position with regards to psychoanalysis, this paper first shows that Foucault’s critical thought, insofar as it finds its condition of possibility in modern philosophy understood as a theoretical discourse on human finitude, must imperatively be complemented in the vicinity of psychoanalytical praxis-discourse: the ethical and political issue of the finished and desiring subjectivity can thus be examined anew. On the basis of the historicization of the Lacanian Law undertaken in La volonté de savoir, the paper therefore concludes that a philosophical anthropology which is able to heave up to today’s decisive issues for the social critique and the politics of emancipation should build upon the Foucaldo-Lacanian critique of “modern” philosophical anthropology, but should not fear to confront it with radical criticism in return.

Keywords: Foucault/Lacan ; Theory/Practice ; Critique/Finitude ; Ethics ; Subjectivity ; Desire ; Law ; Philosophical Anthropology ; Radical Politics

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