Orbital Life on the International Space Station (2018)

Damjanov, K. and Crouch, D. (2018) ‘Orbital Life on the International Space Station’ Space and Culture First Published January 9, 2018

DOI: 10.1177/1206331217752621

Abstract
The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest object in the earth’s orbit and currently the only environment that harbors human life outside the planet. This habitable satellite operates as a sophisticated scientific laboratory and is a complex and costly technological endeavor in expanding our extraplanetary presence. The ISS constitutes a unique living space—a sociotechnical arrangement that encloses humans and nonhumans in a highly regulated and experimental setting that anticipates the orbital order of terrestrial ways of life. This article draws upon Michel Foucault’s work on power and space to frame the ISS as a form of “heterotopia” and explore it as a site in which technologically inflected inscriptions of the human incubate distinct material and social relations. It suggests that these orbital effects configure the practices underpinning the strategic spatialization of life and its governance beyond the globe.

Journal articles

Between Foucault and Agamben: An Overview of the Problem of Euthanasia in the context of Biopolitics (2017)

GÜRHAN ÖZPOLAT, “Between Foucault and Agamben: An Overview of the Problem of Euthanasia in the context of Biopolitics” (2017) 7(2) Beytulhikme International Journal of Philosophy 15

Abstract
In this paper, considering the fact that special forms of dying and killing are mostly seen in a shadowy zone or blurred boundary between life and death, I shall attempt to find a compromise between Michel Foucault (bio-politics) and Giorgio Agamben’s (thanatopolitics) considerations of biopolitics in the case of euthanasia. In this respect, believing that this article requires a historical backround, I shall start with a brief history of euthanasia and suicide in order to understand the present juridico-medico-political complex from which the sovereign power derives its philosophical underpinnings and theoretical justifications today; and show that the relationship power and death has always been very problematic. Secondly, I will focus on the meaning(s) of the disappearance of death in the context of Foucauldian biopolitics and conclude that, in contrast to Foucault’s consideration, something akin to re-discovery of death has taken place in the Western world since the mid-twentieth century. Finally, in the third and last part of the article, I will put forward that Agamben, by introducing the concept life unworthy of being lived, was successful in completing what is missing, that is the politics of death, in Foucault’s notion of biopolitics with reference to the problem of euthanasia.

Journal articles

Archive: Nudges: Better choices? (2016)

Nudges: Better choices?, The Tocqueville Review/La revue Tocqueville, Volume 37, Number 1, 2016. Special issue.

Nudges:Better choices? Introduction
Malik Bozzo-Rey, Anne Brunon-Ernst, and Arnaud Van Waeyenberge, (Membres du French Nudge Project)

Brief excerpt

Nudges en questions
L’ouvrage Nudge de Cass Sunstein et Richard Thaler1 est singulier à plusieurs titres : il est en effet rare qu’un livre écrit par des universitaires rencontre un succès public, engendre une littérature universitaire foisonnante et soit cité dans des rapports d’organisations publiques ; en d’autres termes, il est rare qu’un ouvrage suscite autant de débats. Car tel est bien la singularité de ce texte : il pense intrinsèquement le lien entre monde universitaire et monde public grâce à cette théorie des désormais fameux nudges (« coups de pouce »), ces arrangements des contextes dans lesquels sont prises les décisions afin de les influencer dans le but d’améliorer le bien-être des individus, voire de la société en général. Thaler raconte ainsi assez humblement : « Nous avions écrit Nudge dans l’espoir timide que quelques personnes avec un peu d’influence pourraient le lire et en concevoir certaines idées politiques utiles »2. Il a bel et bien réussi le tour de force de mobiliser à la fois les acteurs universitaires et les décideurs publics. La théorie des nudges est à l’origine d’un mouvement de redéfinition de la manière dont il convient d’élaborer les politiques publiques, tout d’abord limité aux pays anglophones lorsque Barack Obama nomme Sunstein à la tête de l’OIRA (Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs). David Cameron va un peu plus loin en créant, à la suite des discussions avec Thaler, la « Behavioural Insights Team », plus connue sous le nom de « Nudge [End Page 7] Unit » et dirigée par David Halpern3. D’autres pays suivront4 et la Commission européenne a créé récemment la « Foresight and Behavioural Insights Unit ». Cette succession de décisions politiques témoigne à la fois de l’engouement des décideurs publics qui voient dans les nudges « des approches simples, à bas coût, préservant la liberté de choix, fondées directement sur les enseignements de l’économie comportementale qui promet d’économiser de l’argent, d’améliorer la santé des gens et leur vie »5, mais aussi de l’émergence d’une application des sciences comportementales aux politiques publiques, les « behaviourally informed policies ».

Il nous semble en effet désormais peu contestable que les sciences comportementales proposent un cadre d’analyse intéressant quant à la compréhension des processus de décision et offrent de nombreuses potentialités afin d’améliorer la qualité et l’effectivité des décisions prises par les décideurs lorsqu’ils mettent en place une politique publique6. Toutefois ce recours au nudge n’est pas sans poser de nombreuses questions quant à la légitimité et l’utilisation de ces « sciences ». A cet égard, et bien que le nudge soit étudié et utilisé depuis plusieurs décennies par les décideurs politiques et les universitaires outre-Atlantique, il commence seulement à être abordé en Europe. Plus particulièrement en France, si ce n’est le French Nudge Project7 qui dirige ce numéro spécial, peu de groupes de recherche revendiquent explicitement leur intérêt pour les nudges. Il était donc temps d’apporter une réflexion sur les fondements philosophiques de la théorie du nudge mais également sur les enjeux éthiques qu’il crée et les conséquences politiques et juridiques que son utilisation implique.

Deux remarques liminaires permettent de bien contextualiser l’ambition de ce numéro.

Premièrement, le nudge, apparaît comme le nouvel avatar de l’ « envahissement du droit par les normes »8. En effet, parmi les transformations profondes qui affectent le droit contemporain et plus largement les modes de gouvernance, on observe aujourd’hui un essor inédit de la « norme »9. Ces dispositifs de normalisation tendent de plus en plus à concurrencer, compléter voire remplacer les dispositifs juridiques classiques fondés sur des règles et contribuent à installer un mode de régulation caractéristique des « sociétés de contrôle », qui prend progressivement le pas…

Journal articles Special Issues

CFP: Foucault and Benjamin (2018)

CALL FOR PAPERS

materiali foucaultiani journal / Associazione italiana Walter Benjamin

Foucault and Benjamin

Materiali foucaultiani journal and the Italian Association “Walter Benjamin” launch a call for papers dedicated to a comparison between Walter Benjamin and Michel Foucault.

MF journal proposes to open up new research pathways that jointly crisscross the works of Benjamin and Foucault, beyond the philosophical differences between the two authors. Indeed, we contend that despite their different philosophical horizon and conceptual constellations, both Benjamin and Foucault equip us with powerful tools for undertaking a critical analysis of our present time. In both cases, such a critique is carried on through a refusal of the concept of “progress” and of an understanding of history conceived as a linear and incessant process, as an accumulation of events taking place in an empty and heterogeneous time. Although in different ways, Benjamin and Foucault situate their work within a triangulation between philosophical thought, historical past and present which escapes the modern understanding of contemporaneity, as an epoch unrelated to the others. In Foucault, “contemporary reality” is the term which conveys/refers to in the best way to such a triangulation, designating the way in which, through a series of genealogical analyses, it is possible to produce and boost critical movements that transform the present. For Benjamin as well, a history which does not account for those who write it, and which separates the past from the present moment, is unavoidably the triumphing history of the winners. Therefore, according to Benjamin, the task of the historian consists in reconnecting past and present, through an understanding of contemporaneity that has considerable convergences with Foucault.

We welcome articles that shed light on the possible convergences between Benjamin’s thought and Foucault’s one, essays that develop the relationship between past, present and philosophical thought, as well as contributions that retrace new and different contact points between the two authors with the purpose of bringing to the fore the present relevance of their philosophical work.

In particular, we welcome contributions that find thematic constellations which are common to Benjamin and Foucault, although tackled from different standpoints, as for instance the following ones:

  • The relationship between the history and the present
  • The history of the present
  • Political power, economic power and religion
  • Reading of the poetics of Charles Baudelaire
  • Elaboration of the concept of modernity
  • Space and metropolis
  • Critique of capitalism
  • Critical comparison with the Frankfurt School

Abstracts of about 1000 words (in English, Italian or French) should be sent by February 15, 2018 to: redazione@materialifoucaultiani.org

Calls for papers Journal articles Special Issues

Archive: Freedom, Responsibility, and the ‘American Foucault’ (2004)

Réal Fillion, Freedom, Responsibility, and the ‘American Foucault’, Philosophy and Social Criticism, Volume: 30 issue: 1, page(s): 115-126
January 1, 2004

https://doi.org/10.1177/0191453704039400

Abstract
Foucault’s work is rich enough to sustain multiple readings. I argue in this paper for the continued construction and maintenance of what I have called the ‘American Foucault’, whose principal preoccupation is with the question of how to be free within our contemporary political constraints and possibilities. (Such a Foucault can be found in the works of American writers such as W. E. Connolly, Todd May, and Thomas Dumm.) Appreciation of Foucault’s contribution to an understanding of freedom is too often hampered, however, by the insistence on the part of many of the most influential of Foucault’s critics (and some of his defenders) that his particular mode of thinking is ultimately too irresponsible. It is thought that Foucault’s refusal to account for the grounds of his work vitiates his overall project. I argue that, if we distinguish between the ‘account-ability’ demanded by his critics and the ‘response-ability’ that his work permits, we will be in a better position to appreciate the timeliness of his conception of freedom.

Keywords accountability, critique, Foucault, freedom, genealogy, responsibility, theory

Journal articles

The End of a Line: Care of the Self in Modern Political Thought (2017)

The End of a Line: Care of the Self in Modern Political Thought
Alexandre Lefebvre, Genealogy 2017, 1(1), 2;

doi:10.3390/genealogy1010002

Open access

Abstract
This article examines the reasons why Foucault thought that morality based on the care of the self died out in the modern age. I pay special attention to his contention that modern political thought was a key player in bringing about this demise. The essay consists of two parts. In Part One, I overview Foucault’s conception of the care of the self and situate it within his later work on ancient philosophy and culture. In Part Two, I turn to his remarks on the incompatibility between the ancient tradition of the care of the self and an ascendant modern political philosophy based on the notions of rights and the juridical subject. To conclude, I suggest that while Foucault may have overstated this compatibility he opened the door to consider how the care of the self could be taken up in the context of modern and contemporary political theory.

Keywords: Foucault; care of the self; political theory; rights; human rights

Journal articles

Foucault on Power and Government (2016)

Paul Patton, Foucault on Power and Government
Full text available on academia.edu

Abstract:
Foucault’s lectures in 1976 open with the statement of an intellectual crisis. They proceed to a series of questions about the nature of power and the ways that he has conceived of it up to this point: what is power? How is it exercised? Is it ultimately a relation of force? Only some of these questions are answered in the course of these lectures. His answer to the conceptual questions about the nature of power and the appropriate means to analyze it is not forthcoming until after the discovery of ‘governmentality’ in 1978 and his lectures on liberal and neoliberal governmentality in 1979. This talk aims to retrace his answers to these questions in the light of the published lectures and to examine the consequences of these answers for his overall approach to the analysis power, and for his analysis of liberal and neoliberal governmental power.

Issue: 3-4
Page Numbers: 57-76.
Publication Date: 2016
Publication Name: Sociological Problems (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences), Special Issue edited by Antoinette Koleva, Kolyo Koev, Michel Foucault: New Problematizations

This paper will appear, translated into Bulgarian and in a paper-printed version, in a special issue of the journal Sociological Problems {Социологически проблеми}, a publication of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, dedicated to the 90th anniversary of Michel Foucault. This special issue’s editors are Antoinette Koleva
and Kolyo Koev

Journal articles