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Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

An Interview with Elizabeth Grosz, Theory Culture and Society, 22 May 2017

The Incorporeal’: An Interview with Elizabeth Grosz
Elizabeth Grosz & Vikki Bell
March 2017

VB: Many congratulations on the publication of your new book The Incorporeal: Ontology, Ethics and the Limits of Materialism (Columbia University Press, 2017). The book seems to simultaneously explore a genealogy of a concept ‘the incorporeal’ while also proposing it as a concept that has both explanatory power and ethical promise. I wonder if there is a debate that is un- or under-described here but that drives the desire to explore the incorporeal and these thinkers, since genealogy in both Nietzsche and Foucault’s sense is always a purposive endeavour. Which positions are you taking a stance against, or which oversights are you seeking to correct?

EG: I wouldn’t say that it is a corrective particularly, though there are a number of positions that describe themselves as materialist that I think are problematic and would disagree with. A genealogy – an exploration of sources and sites often unrecognized or unknown – is a way of reviving things that either we have forgotten or that were never developed, elaborated or perhaps even born, things that were stillborn or fragmented. I was seeking something positive rather than undertaking a critique, implicit or explicit. From a commitment to materialism, I was interested in how to address certain questions that were reductively posited within materialisms (after all, there is no one form of materialism, but many, some conflicting with others) or not addressed at all – questions linked to explaining thinking and experience, language or representation more generally, and the self-evident immaterial conditions of materiality, such as space and time. If materialism(s) cannot account for the immaterial events we experience and articulate, then it has a clear limit that it needs to address. I see my work as an expansion of materialism more than a critique of it, though I suspect that the book may be considered idealist in the opinion of some. I am looking for an account of being-becoming that can explain the existence of incorporeal things and events – and most especially how thinking is possible, what it is, how it relates to the brain, or doesn’t, how it capable of being understood beyond any reductionism.

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Podcast

Bryan Cooke and Mark Kelly discuss Foucault, biopolitics, modernity, the role of the intellectual in politics, and Foucault, March 18, 2016

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Letzlove, portrait(s) Foucault
Adaptation de Pierre Maillet
d’après Vingt ans et après / Letzlove l’anagramme d’une rencontre de Thierry Voeltzel
mise en scène Pierre Maillet

Du mar. 28/02/17 au sam. 04/03/17
Rouen
Du mar. 25/04/17 au jeu. 27/04/17
Brest

Critiques

Présentation

Eté 1975. Un jeune homme fait du stop sur l’autoroute en direction de Caen. Le conducteur qui s’arrête a un look inhabituel : un homme chauve, avec des lunettes cerclées d’acier, un polo ras du cou et une curiosité constante pour son jeune passager. Ils échangent leurs coordonnées avant de se dire au revoir… Trois ans plus tard paraîtra un livre d’entretiens entre cet inconnu de vingt ans, Thierry Voeltzel, et ce célèbre philosophe, Michel Foucault, qui avait alors tenu à garder l’anonymat. Au cours de la conversation qui se noue entre eux, sont abordées les mutations existentielles de la jeunesse dans son rapport avec la sexualité, les drogues, la famille, le travail, la religion, la musique, les lectures… et la révolution. Quarante ans après, l’intérêt de ce document réside autant dans les expériences vécues de Thierry que dans le portrait en creux de son interviewer.

Le passage au théâtre de ces entretiens rendra donc palpable, physique et vivante l’impression directe provoquée à leur lecture. Mettre en avant la rencontre, et surtout le jeune homme. En faire le portrait avec une chaise, un projecteur diapos et deux micros. Utiliser les outils de tout conférencier, professeur, ou rencontre publique quelconque (du moins en 1975) pour mettre l’intime en lumière avec la même franchise et la même décontraction que son interlocuteur il y a quarante ans. Nous serons deux, comme dans le livre. En lumière le jeune Thierry, qui sera un garçon d’aujourd’hui et surtout du même âge. Quant à moi je me chargerai des questions. L’idée de cette forme, très autonome et très simple permettrait au spectacle de circuler le plus possible : à l’université, dans les librairies, bibliothèques, divers lieux culturels et sociaux, en appartements, mais aussi bien sûr au théâtre, dans les décors des spectacles qui joueraient au même moment, pourquoi pas… La circulation presque interventionniste de cette parole intime et libertaire me paraît juste, excitante, et permet de poser simplement par le biais d’une attention particulière à la jeunesse et au dialogue inter générationnel, la question de la liberté et de l’engagement.

Letzlove – portrait(s) Foucault, d’après « Vingt ans et après », de Michel Foucault et Thierry Voeltzel (éd. Verticales, 2013). Adaptation et mise en scène Pierre Maillet. Le Monfort Théâtre, 106, rue Brancion, Paris 15e. Tél. : 01-56-08-33-88. Du mardi au samedi à 20 h 30, jusqu’au 21 janvier. Durée : 1 h 20. Puis à Rouen du 28 février au 4 mars, et à Brest du 25 au 27 avril.

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Grégoire Canlorbe and Stephen Hicks, Capitalism versus the Philosophers, FEE: Foundation for Economic Education, 2 May 2016

Stephen Hicks is a Canadian-American philosopher who teaches at Rockford University, where he also directs the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship.

Hicks is the author of Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault, which argues that postmodernism is best understood as a rhetorical strategy of far-left intellectuals and academics in response to the failure of socialism and communism.

FEE contributor Grégoire Canlorbe sat down with Professor Hicks to discuss how philosophers confront economic freedom.

Extract

Grégoire Canlorbe: According to French philosopher Michel Foucault, the rise of economic freedom after the 18th century coincides with the deployment of new techniques of control operating at local level through prisons, factories, schools, and hospitals. Economic policy, then, is the product of a new practice of power, present at all levels of society, whose aim is to “rationalize the problems posed to [society] by phenomena characteristic of a set of living beings forming a population: health, hygiene, birthrate, life expectancy, race.”

How would you sum up the main strengths and weaknesses of Foucault’s analysis?

Stephen Hicks: There’s a libertarian streak in Foucault that sometimes appeals to me, and of course he’s right that the rise of centralized and controlling bureaucracy is one feature of the modern world. I think Foucault can often be good psychologically and insightful philosophically, but ultimately he’s weak as a historian.

As a start on this huge topic, I’ll just say two things here. One is that the modern era is characterized by at least three types of social philosophy. The great debate between free-market liberalism and socialism highlights two of the three types. The third type is bureaucratic centralization, and that social philosophy cuts across the free-market/socialist debate.

The idea that society can be organized centrally with concentrated power used in all of the ways that Foucault diagnoses — that paradigm of technocratic efficiency is often committed to neutrally and can then be applied in either market or governmental contexts. One can envision and find examples of private factories, corporations, and government bureaucracies applying those techniques.

So the question of both history and philosophy is whether the hegemonic-controlling-power model best fits with the theory and practice of modern free-market capitalism or with the theory and practice of modern collectivism-socialism.

The other point I’ll make quickly is that Foucault consistently embraces a Nietzschean understanding of power as fixed and zero-sum. In that model, power may be constantly evolving, but it is also constantly agonistic and antagonistic. Hence the consistent undercurrent of cynicism in any Foucauldian discussion of power.

That contrasts to those understandings of power that recognize some forms of it — cognitive, economic, personal-relational, for example — as potentially generative and increasing, resulting in a net growth.

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Interview with Stuart Elden by Dave O’Brien (podcast) on the New Books Network

In relation to Foucault’s Last Decade Polity Press 2016

Why did Michel Foucault radically recast the project of The History of Sexuality? How did he work collaboratively? What was the influence of Antiquity on his thought? In Foucault’s Last Decade (Polity Press, 2016) Stuart Elden, Professor of Political Theory and Geography at the University of Warwick explores these, and many more, questions about the final years in a rich intellectual life. The book combines detailed studies of Foucault’s recently collected lecture series with archival material and his publications, to give an in depth engagement with the changes and continuities in his thought during the last decade. Addressing questions associated with key terms, such as governmentality, as well as confession, the self, power, truth telling, and many other core ideas and themes, the book will be essential reading for anyone interested in this most important of Western thinkers.

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Michel Foucault, Prisons And The Future Of Abolition: An Interview, Critical Theory, JUNE 25, 2016

Active Intolerance: Michel Foucault, the Prisons Information Group, and the Future of Abolition” explores the Prison Information Group (GIP), an organization founded by notable academics, including Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze, to expose the deplorable conditions of the French Prison system.

“Little information is published on prisons,” Foucault announced on behalf of the GIP. “It is one of the hidden regions of our social system, one of the dark zones of our life. We have the right to know; we want to know.”

In this interview, I spoke with the book’s editors, Perry Zurn and Andrew Dilts, about the legacy and lessons of the GIP.

Eugene Wolters: What was the GIP?

Perry Zurn: The GIP (or Le Groupe d’information sur les prisons, the Prisons Information Group) was a prison activist organization in France, conceived of in 1970 and operational well into 1973. Beyond this simple description, the GIP can be characterized in a number of competing ways.

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Orazio Irrera, « Michel Foucault et les critiques de l’idéologie. Dialogue avec Pierre Macherey », Methodos [En ligne], 16 | 2016;

DOI : 10.4000/methodos.4667

Texte intégral

Orazio Irrera – On a l’habitude un peu hâtive de dire que lorsque Foucault critique l’idéologie, il s’adresse surtout à la conception althussérienne de l’idéologie. Mais en suivant votre argumentation, il semble plutôt que Foucault et Althusser ont tenté tous les deux d’échapper à une conception représentationnelle et seulement négative (donc non productive) de l’idéologie. Pour cette raison, à votre avis, serait-il utile de distinguer parmi les critiques de Foucault entre celles qui sont adressées à l’idéologie comme système de représentation, donc comme « reflet et transposition », ou encore comme rationalisation (Althusser lui aussi semble critiquer cette conception de l’idéologie) et celles qui sont plutôt adressées à la manière dont Althusser cherche, pour sa part, à surmonter cette idée représentationnelle de l’idéologie à travers une conception positive de l’idéologie, entendue comme agent effectif du processus de reproduction sociale ? Pourquoi, face aux efforts déployés par Althusser pour sauver la notion d’idéologie, Foucault tient-il, au contraire, cette notion comme étant non-amendable – ce qui revient à jeter le bébé avec l’eau du bain ? Est-ce que toutes les critiques que Foucault adresse à l’idéologie ont pour lui le même poids, ou est-ce qu’il y en a une qui, à un certain moment, se révèle plus importante ou plus décisive que les autres et qui aurait enfin persuadé Foucault qu’il n’est pas possible de se servir de cette notion ?

Pierre Macherey – Il me semble, c’est une hypothèse que je propose à la discussion, que la manière tranchante utilisée par Foucault pour aborder la question de l’idéologie est le symptôme d’un embarras.

Mots-clés : Foucault, Althusser Louis, idéologie, Macherey Pierre

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