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Sergio Resende Carvalho,Ricardo Rodrigues Teixeira, Politics of life itself and the future of medical practices: dialogues with Nikolas Rose (Part 3), Interface – Comunicação, Saúde, Educação
On-line version ISSN 1807-5762
Interface (Botucatu) vol.21 no.60 Botucatu Jan./Mar. 2017

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1807-57622016.0848

Extract

This is the third and last interview with Nikolas Rose which we sought to explore important aspects of his wide academic production. At the first interview1 we explore aspects about State, Public Policy and Health and their relation with the concept of governmentality. On the second2 on we discussed the role of psy’s knowledge and practices in the government of conduct. I this last one we had the opportunities to reflect with Rose on his current researches about the transformations of life sciences, biomedicine, neurosciences relating those changes with the clinical practices and their impact upon the Health Systems.

POLITICS OF LIFE ITSELF AND A NEW STYLE OF THOUGHT

After affirming that ‘the truth discourse of contemporary genomics no longer sees genes as the hidden entities that determine us” and that new technologies had open ‘“the gene” to knowledge and technique at the molecular level”, you affirm that we are entering a new ‘style of thought’ (ways to think, see and intervene) where the molecularization of vitality is central to it, that at this molecular level life itself has become open to politics, that biology is not destiny but opportunity. Can you detail this idea for us?

Well, there are two parts to that question. The first part is about determinism and biological determinism. So let me start by saying a little bit about that. I suppose genetics is the clearest example of the retreat of biological determinism. Genetic determinism, the idea that the complement of genes with which an individual is born shapes inescapably their capacities, both physical and mental, has if not completely disappeared at least become significantly weakened. We know that this idea that the gene is like a single unit of DNA and all the genes are stretched out like beads on a string on the chromosomes and that each gene determines a particular protein which creates a particular characteristic. We know that this idea has been disproved by developments in genomics following the human genome project. So now we know that humans do not have 100 000 or perhaps even 300 000 genes that were hypothesized. They have about 20 to 25 000 coding sequences, and that these sequences are spread across many parts of the genome, they can be read in many different ways and what’s crucial is not so much the genes, but how they are activated. Secondly, we know, and this is now becoming a cliché of what’s called epigenetics, we know that what’s crucial is not the DNA that you are born with, but how this is activated or de-activated across a lifetime in a process called methylation which enables the DNA sequence to produce its effects. We know that these epigenetic processes are shaped in all sorts of ways by the relationship between the organism and its milieu. In fact, developmental geneticists have known this known this for many decades, but now this has become a much more salient way of trying to understand how genes are expressed in organisms across a lifetime. All these and many other developments suggest that genetic determinism, as a general programme for understanding not only biological organisms but their destiny is no longer the style of thought that characterises contemporary genetics.

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Special Section: Foucault and religion: Critical engagements (2017), Critical Research on Religion, Volume 5, Issue 2, August 2017

Contents

A genealogy of critique: From parrhesia to prophecy
Tom Boland, Paul Clogher
First Published February 10, 2017; pp. 116–132

Reexamining Foucault on confession and obedience: Peter Schaefer’s Radical Pietism as counter-conduct
Elisa Heinämäki
First Published May 7, 2017; pp. 133–150

Pastoral power, sovereignty and class: Church, tithe and simony in Quebec
Bruce Curtis
First Published July 28, 2017; pp. 151–169

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Stevens, Jeremy and Fuller, Glen. Journalistic challenges of the public and private: Exploring professional and ethical norms [online]. Australian Journalism Review, Vol. 39, No. 1, Jul 2017: 113-125.

Authors’ note: This article develops the idea of ‘commentary as method’. ‘Commentary’ is derived from Foucault’s Discourse on Language and related texts and reworked into a method for engaging with ‘commentary’ texts assembled into large corpus of materials (i.e. via ‘big data’ methods).

Abstract:
Journalism has been described as a “profession in a permanent process of becoming” (Deuze and Witschge, 2017, p. 13). This paper investigates a decade of commentary (2006-2015) from news media industry “grey literature” that engages with the ongoing rearticulation of professional norms. We focus on the ethical challenges resulting from changes in part wrought by social media-based communications technologies. Our archive consists of 1156 articles published through US-based Poynter Institute, Nieman Lab and Nieman Reports. Using a “hybrid methodology” (Lewis, Zamith, and Hermida, 2013), we carried out a close reading discourse analysis of the commentary. Our initial goal was to understand the shift in the character of discourse from one organised around a single set of changes (“the digital”, “the internet”, and so on) to a more multi-dimensional appreciation of such changes. The character of critical commentary itself changes at various points in the archive to engage with problems that are now familiar. These include commentary about the verification of information and the “truth”, sourcing techniques, the blurring of public and private spheres and changing behaviours of publicity. Indeed, these ethical and professional challenges for journalists are not new for the most part. Our key finding is that there is a struggle to rearticulate “traditional” norms in order to adapt to the shifting dynamics of online networked media and their ethical and professional implications. In an era of ongoing change, this normative reflex demands further attention.

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Roberts, J.L.
Obsessional subjectivity in societies of discipline and control
(2017) Theory and Psychology, 27 (5), pp. 622-642.

DOI: 10.1177/0959354317716308

Abstract
Drawing on the work of the later Foucault, especially that concerning disciplinary power and bio-power, as well as Deleuze on the emergence of “societies of control,” this article traces the trajectory of obsessional subjectivity from its emergence as a firmly psychiatric category within a disciplinary matrix (i.e., monomania) toward its contemporary position within the bio-political sphere (i.e., obsessional neurosis and obsessive–compulsive disorder) in societies of control. It is argued—pursuant to Lacanian formulations—that obsessional neurosis simultaneously contributes to the efficacy of the workings of bio-power in imagining, vis-à-vis university discourse, a psychologized and psycho-biographical subject knowable and traceable, while also conferring an openness in being that would surmount the dysfunctionality inhering in repetitious thinking and doubt. The aim of this essay is to discern the structural dimensions of mechanisms of obsessional subjection as they implicate certain changing forms of power, and specifically that of our current predicament in the West, in a world where desire and the production of knowledge are governed through bio-power. © 2017, © The Author(s) 2017.

Author Keywords
consciousness; history; philosophy; psychotherapy; theory

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Brioni, S.
A station in motion: Termini as heterotopia
(2017) Italian Studies, 72 (4), pp. 443-454.

DOI: 10.1080/00751634.2017.1370792

Abstract
Drawing on Michel Foucault’s definition of heterotopia, the article analyses the filmic and literary representation of Stazione Termini, Rome’s main train station. The Fascist architectural project, which mirrors an idea of the nation as homogeneous, monolithic, and white, begins to be challenged in the post-World War II representations of Termini which depict the station as the place where liminal and unexpected experiences can occur and accepted moral codes of behaviour are put into question. The article then focuses on the recent representation of Termini as a key place of contact with and among immigrants. While migration literature describes the station as a place of belonging, other contemporary representations of Termini depict it as a non-place, revealing the fear of a globalised world. The representation of Termini either as an isolated place in the urban geography of Rome or as a place that mirrors the multicultural reality of present-day Italy highlights a tension between different ways of practicing the same space. © 2017 The Society for Italian Studies.

Author Keywords
Colonial legacy; Heterotopia; Migration; Non-place; Rome; Train station; Urban geography

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Schweber, L.
Jack-in-the-black-box: Using Foucault to explore the embeddedness and reach of building level assessment method
(2017) Energy Research and Social Science, 34, pp. 294-304.

DOI: 10.1016/j.erss.2017.08.005

Abstract
Environmental policy in Western countries is marked by extensive reliance on voluntary self-regulation, designed to influence market behavior. In many instances, these policy tools fail to deliver on their promise, while nonetheless influencing professional and user behavior. This paper draws on Foucault’s theory of governmentality and the Sociology of Standards to explore the effect of voluntary policy tools. Whereas most research focuses on the effect of tools on either intended outcomes or formal policies, this paper considers their effect on the people who directly engage with them. The paper uses the case of the Building Research Establishments Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) to consider the embeddedness and reach of policy tools across communities of practice. The contribution of the paper lies in its focus on the way in which organizational features of BREEAM contribute to its effect on the definition of green building and peoples’ engagement with them. Theoretically, the focus on organizational aspects of governing techniques draws attention local variations in the power/knowledge effect of techniques, thereby contributing to a relatively neglected aspect of governmentality. The paper concludes with reflection on the relevance of this approach for research into other types of policy tools and technical standards. © 2017

Author Keywords
BREEAM; Building environmental assessment methods; Governmentality; Policy tools; Standards; Voluntary governance

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Gerdin, G.
‘It’s not like you are less of a man just because you don’t play rugby’—boys’ problematisation of gender during secondary school physical education lessons in New Zealand
(2017) Sport, Education and Society, 22 (8), pp. 890-904.

DOI: 10.1080/13573322.2015.1112781

Abstract
Despite clear messages from current physical education (PE) curricula about the importance of adopting socially critical perspectives, dominant discourses of gender relating to physical activity, bodies and health are being reproduced within this school subject. By drawing on interview data from a larger ethnographic account of boys’ PE, this paper aims to contribute to our understanding of boys’ experiences of gendered discourses in PE, particularly by acknowledging boys not only as docile or disciplined bodies but also as active subjects in negotiating power relations. In the analysis of the data, particular emphasis is placed on whether the boys recognise the influence of gendered discourses and power relations in PE, how they act upon this knowledge and how they understand themselves as gendered subjects through these particular discourses/power relations. Using Foucault’s (1985. The use of pleasure: The history of sexuality, vol. 2. London: Penguin Books) framework related to the ‘modes of subjectivation’, this paper explores boys’ problematisation of dominant discourses of gender and power relations in PE. In summary, these boys perform gendered selves within the context of PE, via negotiation of gendered discourses and power relations that contribute to an alternative discourse of PE which creates spaces and opportunities for the production of more ethical and diverse masculinities. © 2015 Taylor & Francis.

Author Keywords
Boys; Foucault; gender; masculinity; physical education

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