A really useful and informative post by Stuart Elden on the history of the reception of Foucault’s lectures on neoliberalism, in the light of recent activity on this front. He comments ‘Foucault’s mode of reading texts often makes it look like he is agreeing with arguments, when he is really trying to reconstruct them, to understand their logic, and so on’.

Progressive Geographies

FoucaultI’ve been away, but several people have been sending me links to a recent string of articles on Foucault’s supposed sympathies to neoliberalism. The start of the debate – in English at least – was the translation of an interview with Daniel Zamora at Jacobin. The interview relates to a book entitled Critiquer Foucault: Les années 1980 et la tentation néolibérale which has just been published. Clare O’Farrell rounds up the key pieces at Foucault News.

The book is a collective work, edited by Zamora. I’ve not read it yet, and suspect that very few of those commenting on it have either. Anything said now is necessarily provisional.

The first thing that struck me was the question – is this news? Foucault’s 1979 lectures on neoliberalism – the misnamed The Birth of Biopolitics – have been widely available for a decade. They were first published in French…

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