Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Anthony Alessandrini, “Rescuing the Revolution from Its Outcomes”, Journal of the Society for Contemporary Thought and the Islamicate World, March 23 2017

Part of a Book Symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi’s Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, University of Minnesota Press, 2016, 272 pp., $27.00 US (pbk), ISBN 9780816699490.

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Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi’s Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment is an exemplary book in a number of ways, but perhaps first and foremost because of what the book does not do. While it represents the most extensive and sympathetic consideration in English of Michel Foucault’s writings on the events leading up to and culminating in the Iranian Revolution, Ghamari-Tabrizi does not fall into the commonplace critical practice of arguing whether Foucault was “right” or “wrong” about the revolution and its aftermath. More admirably, Foucault in Iran is not satisfied with performing the subtler but still ultimately familiar work of simply asking what Foucault’s writings on Iran can do for us in analyzing our contemporary context. Instead, the book performs Ghamari-Tabrizi’s scrupulous allegiance to what he finds most valuable in Foucault’s work: his insistence upon recognizing “the singularity of the revolution” and the concomitant need “to liberate it from the constraints of universalist narratives” (75). By doing so, he manages to contribute not only a new and significant understanding of Foucault’s late work on ethics, but also an important re-historicizing of the Iranian Revolution for an audience that very likely needs this re-telling. It is on this notion of singularity as Ghamari-Tabrizi reads it out of Foucault’s work, as well as out of the revolution itself, that I will thus focus on in my contribution to this roundtable

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In the Shadow of Dictatorship: Foucault in Brazil

Review of Heliana de Barros Conde Rodrigues, Ensaios sobre Michel Foucault no Brasil: Presença, efeitos, ressonâncias  (Lamparina 2016), 176 pages

Reviewed by Marcelo Hoffman, Theory Culture and Society, 22 March 2017

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Michel Foucault visited Brazil five times from 1965 to 1976 yet the details of his overall presence in the country have remained largely unexplored even in Brazil. Heliana Conde’s Ensaios sobre Michel Foucault no Brasil has the great merit of introducing readers to these details through a reliance on wide range of sources, including interviews with his interlocutors and the archives of the former secret police. While her book covers various aspects of Foucault in Brazil up to his effects and resonances in our present, she compellingly illuminates how the military dictatorship cast a long and ominous shadow over each of his visits to the country.

Foucault, Brazil, dictatorship, oral history, militancy, power, resistance

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Michel Foucault, Dire vrai sur soi-même Conférences prononcées à l’Université Victoria de Toronto

Vrin – Philosophie du présent
296 pages – 12,5 × 18 cm
ISBN 978-2-7116-2749-3 – mars 2017

À la fin du premier semestre 1982, Michel Foucault prononce à l’Université Victoria de Toronto un cycle de conférences intitulé Dire vrai sur soi-même. Le thème de ces conférences, s’inscrivant dans le cadre du projet d’une généalogie du sujet occidental moderne, est la formation historique de l’herméneutique de soi. Après avoir analysé le type très particulier de connaissance de soi et de rapport à soi qui caractérise l’askêsis gréco-romaine, où il s’agit pour le sujet d’établir avec lui-même une relation de possession et de souveraineté, Foucault étudie le renversement qui conduit, aux premiers siècles du christianisme, et tout particulièrement dans les communautés monastiques, à la naissance d’une herméneutique de soi conçue comme l’exploration et le déchiffrement par le sujet de sa propre intériorité. Pour définir ce renversement, Foucault introduit ici une distinction inédite entre deux formes d’ascèse, l’une tournée vers la vérité, l’autre tournée vers la réalité. Parallèlement aux conférences, Foucault conduit à Toronto un séminaire consacré à l’étude détaillée de textes des auteurs anciens sur lesquels s’appuient ses analyses de la culture de soi antique. Il y présente également une esquisse des différentes significations de la notion de parrêsia dans l’Antiquité, qui allait devenir le thème principal de ses derniers travaux. Ces conférences et ce séminaire sont publiés ici pour la première fois, dans une édition critique.

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Geraldine Muhlmann Journalism for Democracy, Polity, 2010

Editor: There are some very interesting remarks on Foucault, Bourdieu and journalism in the first chapter

Journalists are commonly denounced from all sides – a shameful, deceitful trade, a profession sold out to the powerful which gives a biased and misleading picture of the world. Behind the condemnation one can often detect a desire for reform, a feeling that good journalism is too important for the health of democracy to be left to languish among the tabloids. Yet the discussion rarely gets beyond the well-worn formulas of free speech and the Fourth Estate. The question of the political significance of journalism is never seriously addressed, and the question of what journalism should be is rarely posed.

This important new book by Géraldine Muhlmann addresses these gaps in our understanding and goes a long way to filling them. Putting aside the hasty diatribes against journalism, Muhlmann asks the fundamental questions: what should journalism be? What ideals should it serve? What do seeing and showing the world mean today? What direction should journalism take in order to emerge from its current crisis?

Drawing on a rich tradition of philosophical thought, Muhlmann breathes new life into the old debate about journalism and its role today. Avoiding the twin pitfalls of destructive criticism and naive celebration, she sees a double task for a reinvigorated journalism: to allow space for conflict but also to foster unity within the political community. In the practice of journalism we see the enigma of democracy itself: the coexistence of two stages, one of action and one of representations, the latter offering a symbolic resolution to the conflicts that animate the former.

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Patricio Lepe-Carrión, El contrato colonial de Chile, Sciencia, racismo, nación Abya Yala, 2016

PDF cover and table of contents

En los orígenes de la nación chilena se ocultan una serie de elementos raciales que pueden remontarse a muchos años antes de su establecimiento formal como institución política. Las ideas de “raza” y “racismo” son el eje central sobre el cual el autor intenta analizar dichas retóricas de inferiorización, provenientes tanto de la ciencia, de la política, como de las prácticas culturales de los siglos XVII, XVIII y principalmente del XIX.

Se trata de un trabajo transdisciplinario,. que se fundamenta en una revisión crítica de fuentes primarias de la época y de una extensa literatura secundaria proveniente de la historia de la cultura, de la ciencia, la antropología social y cultural, así como de la filosofía.

No se trata de una obra de historia, ni menos de antropología, solo es un intento por pensar o cartografiar nuestro pasado colonial (y poscolonial) como un ejercicio de conceptualización que nos permita cuestionar aquello que se denomina “identidad chilena”.

Serie pensamiento de colonial

Parte I

Colonialidad del poder en el reino de Chile

Capítulo I

Civilización y barbarie: la diferencia colonial

Capítulo II

La construcción del sujeto colonial en el Chile del siblo XVII

Parte II

Taxonomías Proto-Raciales de la Ilustración

Capítulo III

Epoca clásica, y el no lugar en la instrumentalización política de los saberes científicos

Capítulo IV

La historia natural en el orden y clasificación etnoracial de la humanidad

Capítulo IV

Clasificación racial en la filosofía ilustrada. El caso de Immanuel Kant

Parte III

Nobleza y plebe: residuos simbólicos durante la pos-colonia

Capítulo VI

Biopolítica borbónica en Chile: el discurso antropolótico sobre la ociosidad, el vagabundaje, y su objetivación en el mestizaje

Capítulo VII

El color de las clases sociales chilenas

Capítulo VIII

Imaginando la nación

Capítulo IX

Dimensión simbólica de las clases sociales: escenificación y apariencia


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lorey_state_of_insecurity Eric Wilson, Precarious Politics, The Blackstone Review, December 2016

Review of State of Insecurity: Government of the Precarious. by Isabell Lorey, Verso, 2015

Using Foucault’s notion of self-governance, Lorey helps to demonstrate how the hustler internalizes the imperative to hustle. Self-governance implies the ways in which a population is made, through a variety of state- and work-disciplinary mechanisms, and comes to make, through self-discipline, itself into a subject. Neoliberal self-governance takes place under conditions where the burden of life has been shifted from the state to individuals who are made to appear solely responsible for their lives, their successes or failures, their employment or imprisonment. This transition produces precarious subjects who are increasingly called upon to live lives of constant precarious labor, to manage their precarity at all times, to constantly hustle, at work and at home. In this way, precarity becomes a way of life, a condition that not only structures employment, but also structures the governing of the self. The uncertainty produced by neoliberalism looms within the texture of daily life, informing not only conscious decisions about how to allocate resources for an uncertain future but also unconscious thoughts and behaviors. It is the production of radically isolated individuals who are driven by one imperative: to pursue security in a world of financial, political, environmental, and humanitarian crises.

The individual hustler, hustling, working multiple jobs, learning to love and identify with exploitative conditions, all appear variously in this moment of neoliberalism.

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werbinKenneth C. Werbin, The List Serves: Population Control and Power, Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, 2017

See also this link

Preface by: Geert Lovink. Edited By: Miriam Rasch. Cover design: Katja van Stiphout. DTP: Leonieke van Dipten. EPUB development: Leonieke van Dipten. Printer: Print on Demand. Publisher: Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, 2017. ISBN: 978-94-92302-15-1, paperback, 182 pages.

About the book:
Inspired by taxonomist Jack Goody’s theorizing of ‘ancient lists’ as ‘intellectual technologies’, this book analyzes listing practices in modern and contemporary formations of power, and how they operate in the installation and securing of the milieus of circulation that characterize Michel Foucault’s conception of governmentality. Propelling the list’s role in the delimitation and policing of risky and threatening elements from out of history and into a contemporary analysis of power, this work demonstrates how assemblages of computer, statistical, and list technologies first deployed by the Nazi regime continue to resonate significantly in the segmenting and constitution of a critical classification of contemporary homo sapiens: the terrorist class, or homo sacer.

Author: Kenneth C. Werbin is an Associate Professor of Digital Media and Journalism at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford Campus. His research focuses broadly on questions surrounding digital and social media, commodification and surveillance. His work has been published in notable journals including Media Culture and Society, The Canadian Journal of Communication, The International Review of Information Ethics, Fibreculture and The Journal of Canadian Studies. His current Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada funded research engages digital storytelling methods to raise awareness amongst young adults about digital privacy through the co-creation of a series of 21st-century digital learning materials.

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