Below John Protevi on the New APPS: Art, Politics, Philosophy, Science blog
For other comments on the subject of gun control in the USA also referring to Foucault, see also post by Firmin DeBrabander on The New York Times opinion pages.
A Foucaultian analysis of framing gun violence as a public health issue
Doug Henwood, author of the wonderful book Wall Street, editor of the Left Business Observer, and blogger at LBO-News, recently broadcast a phone interview with Mark Ames, author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine and Beyond, on the history of rampage killings, up to and including the Newtown massacre. Toward the end of the interview Henwood claims that right wing anti-gun control fits explicitly into their coherent political philosophy of competitive / possessive individualism, but that neoliberal Democrats can’t admit their neoliberalism (that is, their own competitive individualism) and so flounder about looking for a rationale for their gun control efforts.
The mention of neoliberalism reminded me that a week or two ago I briefly discussed Bernard Harcourt’s seminar in which François Ewald, alongside Gary Becker himself, discussed Foucault’s reading of Becker’s human capital theory. Ewald is a specialist in social risk management and has written extensively on the history of insurance in France.
Bringing the two together I’m going to try to work out a Foucaultian reading of the strategy in which Democrats pose gun-control legislation under the rubric of handling public health or public safety risks.