Colin Gordon, New additions to academia.edu site, March 2015
« Le possible : alors et maintenant : The possible then and now. » A new publication in a special issue of the French journal Cultures & Conflits on the theme of the critique of criminological reason. My piece is an essay in the history of the possible, looking back at the moment of possibility in thinking about penal practices which was opened up by Foucault’s Discipline and Punish – what is was, what happened to it, and what today’s possible might look like.
The other recent piece is « Expelled questions: Foucault, the Left and the law », a chapter from a volume edited by Ben Golder and published in 2013. This challenges and corrects a widespread misconception that Foucault’s thought neglects and marginalises law.
« Interview with Michel Foucault. » A posthumously published interview from 1978, originally intended to form part of the Power/Knowledge volume. Foucault talks about his relations with Marxism, his early philosophical influences, and his dislike of the concept of power.
« Introduction to Pasquino and Procacci. » A brief piece from the journal Ideology & Consciousness in 1978, presenting some early examples of Foucault-inspired genealogy of power/knowledge and governmentality.
« Birth of the Subject. » My first long piece on Foucault, published in Radical Philosophy in 1977 – an extended, pre-translation overview of Discipline and Punish and History of Sexuality 1.
« The Philosopher in the Classroom. » A 1977 report co-written with Jonathan Rée on how post-68 radicalism was challenging the way philosophy was being taught in schools.
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Colin Gordon, « Le possible : alors et maintenant. Comment penser avec et sans Foucault autour du droit pénal etdu droit public », Cultures & Conflits [En ligne], 94-95-96 | été-automne-hiver 2014, mis en ligne le 20 février 2016. URL : http://conflits.revues.org/18899
See academia.edu site for full text
En essayant de contextualiser les enjeux des interventions de Michel Foucault à propos du droit pénal et de retrouver leur logique à l’intérieur du déroulement de son travail, ce texte tente de dégager en quoi Foucault a pu alors aider, d’un façon singulière, à ouvrir au moins pour un moment de nouvelles conceptions du possible. Pour faire ceci, il faut repérer à la fois les constantes et les éléments de déplacement dans le point de vue de Foucault sur le droit. Sous son refus notoire d’une juridification de l’analyse politique, il faut remarquer et prendre en acte une analyse historique positive, riche et complexe des engrenages entre droit, pouvoir et vérité. En reprenant en même temps les analyses (dites « prémonitoires ») de Foucault sur le néolibéralisme et ses travaux des années 1980 sur les jeux de vérité, on essaie enfin de dégager quelques pistes pour réouvrir, en notre présent à nous, une conception du possible en matière juridico-pénale.
Seeking to contextualise the issues of Michel Foucault’s interventions relating to penal law, and to trace the logic of their development through the course of his work, this paper tries to recapture how Foucault was able in a singular way to open up for his time a new sense of the possible. This involves identifying both the invariants and the areas of displacement in Foucault’s viewpoint on law. Alongside his well-known rejection of a juridified mode of political analysis, one needs to notice and retrieve a positive, rich and complex historical analysis of the intermeshing of law, power and truth. Taking up side by side Foucault’s “premonitory” analyses of neoliberalism and his research in the 1980s on games of truth, the paper concludes by seeking to elicit some heuristics to help open up, in our own, altered present, a sense of the possible in juridico-penal practice.
« Ce qui était possible alors… »
Le possible, maintenant ?
Foucault et le droit en général
Constantes et négations
La Justice est servie
Foucault et le droit en général : plaies et accusations
Foucault et le droit en général : confusions, positivités
Positivité historique et généalogique du droit
Le droit public
Les séquelles de Surveiller et Punir : les mutations du droit et de l’histoire de la gouvernementalité
Foucault en 1980-84 : droit et pénalité dans le « trip gréco-latin »
Néolibéralisme et pénalité : la prescience de Foucault ?
Penser l’actualité, avec et sans Foucault : propositions
Néolibéralismes et illégalismes
Aveu et parrhésia des intellectuels spécifiques
Foucault et Badinter : jeu des conduites, cadre du droit ?
Conclusion : le possible alors et maintenant
Indocilité et inquiétude
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Posted in Journal articles on 15 March 2015 |
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Performing Struggle: Parrhēsia in Ferguson
(2015) Law and Critique, 4 p. Article in Press.
‘The enigma of revolts.’ You can almost hear the sigh at the end of this sentence. Foucault is making a statement here, published under the title ‘Useless to Revolt’, on that ‘impulse by which a single individual, a group, a minority, or an entire people says, “I will no longer obey”’. In this short piece, I question the two sides of the enigma—how to label the revolt—is the act of rioting, such as what we witnessed in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014 ‘proper resistance’—and, how to understand the ēthos of the rioter. The label of counter-conduct, I argue clarifies the enigma as it allows us, challenges us even, to see the event as political. Counter-conduct provides a new framework for reading spontaneous and improvised forms of political expression. The rioter can then be seen as political and rational, as demonstrating ethical behavior. The ēthos of this behavior is represented as an ethics of the self, a form of parrhēsia where the rioter risks herself and shows courage to tell the truth, the story of her community.
Counter-conduct; Ferguson; Parrhēsia; Resistance; Riots
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Where is an author?
(2015) City, 19 (1), pp. 5-43.
If you’re reading these words on a digital device, we are not alone: our encounter as author and reader is taking/making place in and through an uneven, evolutionary planetary digital infrastructure of cognitive production, measurement and monetization. Five and a half millennia after symbolic discourses of literacy and authorship co-evolved with the first urban revolution, the material, embodied phenomenological encounters of planetary urbanization have arrived at the precise moment of explosive contingency in the scalar nexus between cities and literacy. ‘What is an author?’, Foucault asked in a brilliant lecture in Paris in February 1969. Today, if we put Foucault’s question into an intertextual dialogue with contemporary critical urban theory as well as earlier elements of Comte, Marx and Kant, we gain fresh insight into the ways reading and writing are being reconstituted through partially automated constellations of quantification and commodification of human consciousness. Foucault’s genealogy of the ‘author function’ has become an increasingly contested and lucrative circuit of accumulation as Marx’s concept of the ‘general intellect’ has materialized through the transnational urban networks of what is now widely described as ‘cognitive capitalism’. The growth and evolutionary adaptation of socially networked cultures of reading, viewing, sharing and writing are now performing a new neo-Kantian time-space construction of sense perception in a planetary version of Harvey’s ‘urbanization of consciousness’, putting individual authors into constitutive conversation with global knowledges once imagined by Comte as the ‘Great Being’ of collective intergenerational inheritance of post-theistic human knowledge.
cognitive capitalism; cyborg; Foucault; general intellect; planetary urbanization
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Thinking About Theory in Educational Research: Fieldwork in philosophy
(2015) Educational Philosophy and Theory, 47 (2), pp. 173-191.
This article responds to and reflects upon the articles in this special issue. Specifically, it deals with the usage of theory in each of the articles, what we might see, as examples of re-descriptive usage in autonomous theorizing. The articles utilize different theories and varying intellectual resources—Foucault and Deleuze (Richard Niesche), Bourdieu (Carmen Mills), Levinas (Sam Sellar) and Butler (Christina Gowlett)—to analyse the topic of the My School website and associated new accountabilities in Australia schooling. This article argues that their usage of the My School website must be seen as a condensation symbol to signify a broader neo-liberal agenda in Australian schooling that has global as well as national elements to it. The fact that the social today is no longer straightforwardly homologous with the nation also challenges ‘methodological nationalism’ and suggests the pressing need to ‘deparochialize’ theory in research and reject a reading of Northern theory as universal. The article uses the provocations of these articles to reflect upon the necessity of theory in educational research more generally, and to consider its usage in research with different purposes, while accepting that theory should be endemic in all stages of research. Theory serves a different purpose in research with different goals; quantitative correlational research demands theory to move to explanation, interpretive research requires theory to strengthen interpretation and plausibility, while critical research utilizes theory to uncover the hidden as a step towards emancipation. These articles implicitly suggest alternative forms of accountability and politics, but I argue in conclusion that, additionally, we need a broader politics that will move us towards a non-utopian post neo-liberal social imaginary.
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Gibson, K.E., Dempsey, S.E.
Make good choices, kid: biopolitics of children’s bodies and school lunch reform in Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution
(2015) Children’s Geographies, 13 (1), pp. 44-58.
In recent debates surrounding childhood nutrition and US school lunch reforms, the child’s body serves as a contested battleground in a destructive politics of blame over obesity and diabetes. Scalar discourses of the body play a significant role in constructing food-related problems and their solutions. We illustrate our claims through a critical analysis of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution; a celebrated national television program centered on chef Oliver’s attempts to address childhood nutrition through school lunch reform. Informed by Foucault’s biopolitics, our analysis highlights how moralizing scalar discourses of the body frames nutrition as an individual problem of personal choice. Food politics, when played out at the scale of young bodies, masks class divisions, marginalities, and governmental policies that structure access to nutritious food in the US school lunch system. Increased attention to biopower, scalar politics, and the political economy of childhood nutrition in the space of US public schooling challenges naturalized ideologies of food choice that regulate and delimit change to the scale of the body.
biopower; childhood nutrition; media discourse; scalar politics; school lunch reform
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Therapy and the aesthetics of the self
(2015) British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 11 p. Article in Press.
Post-structuralists argue that personal identity is a function of societal power dynamics. This becomes especially problematic for persons recruited into problem-saturated identities. In this paper, inspired by Foucault’s call for us to ‘create ourselves as a work of art’ (p. 262), I explore the therapeutic value of an aesthetic approach to identity. Instead of orienting to the client as one to be known and understood, we might envisage his or her life as an open-ended, never quite finalised oeuvre. Identity is therefore conceptualised not as something one ‘is’, but as a creative performance. A therapeutic case is presented to highlight some of the possibilities and challenges associated with such an approach.
aesthetics of experience; Foucault; multiplicity; narrative therapy; therapy; values
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