Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Jason Read, Cutting Off Heads. A review of Foucault with Marx by Jacques Bidet (Zed Books: London, 2016)

Jacques Bidet’s Foucault with Marx represents yet another contribution to the eventual overcoming of an academic skirmish between advocates of Foucault and Marx, itself a smaller conflict in the larger battle of postmodernism versus Marxism. The perspective which saw Marx and Foucault as mutually opposed theoretical camps has begun to fade thanks to both the publication of Foucault’s courses and lectures, most importantly the short essay on “The Mesh of Power,” and the publication of several texts, such as the monumental collection Marx & Foucault: Lectures, usages, confrontations in France. However, the dissipation of Team Foucault and Team Marx is only a first step; it remains to be seen how Foucault and Marx are related and how their different examinations into history, modernity, and society can be brought together through their points of connection and differences.

read more

Read Full Post »

Frieder Vogelmann, Reading Practices: How to read Foucault?, Krisis, Journal for Contemporary Philosophy Issue 2, 2016

Review of: Daniel Zamora and Michael Z. Behrent, Eds. (2016), Foucault and Neoliberalism. Cambridge: Polity Press, 152 pages; and Mitchel Dean and Kaspar Villadsen (2016), State Phobia and Civil Society. The Political Legacy of Michel Foucault. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 196 pages.

Does Foucault have sympathies for neoliberalism? Is his analysis of it therefore rather an “apology” (Becker, Ewald and Harcourt 2012: 4) than a critique? Is his theoretical and political antistatism complicit in the neoliberal dismantling of the welfare state? Such are the questions that have sparked a lively discussion in the last year, mostly on various web blogs[1] but also in journals (Hansen 2015) – and in books, as the two under review here.

Set off by Daniel Zamora’s interview with the strange title “Can We Criticize Foucault?” in the journal Ballast (an English translation appeared in Jacobin),[2] the bold and sweeping accusations that not only had Foucault himself been at least uncritical, if not supportive of neoliberalism, but also that “Foucault scholasticism” (Behrent 2016 [2014]: 54) is therefore implicated in the neoliberal strategy and that this constitutes Foucault’s “political legacy”, (Dean and Villadsen 2016) seem to have touched a sensitive spot within current Foucaultian scholarship. Although Johanna Oksala (2015) is fundamentally right in her assessment that “this debate itself seems misguided,”[3] there is something to learn from this misguided debate because it brings out two questions mostly left unattended by all its participants (but see Erlenbusch 2015): How do weread Foucault? And how does Foucault read (neoliberals like Gary Becker, for example)? By way of reviewing first the English edition of Daniel Zamora’s Critiquer Foucault (2014), and second Mitchell Dean’s and Kaspar Villadsen’s monograph State Phobia and Civil Society (2016), I will argue that the questions of how we read Foucault and how Foucault reads are not sufficiently addressed.

read more

Read Full Post »

Ott, J.C.
Perceptions of the Nature of Happiness: Cultural, but Related to the Dynamics of the Human Mind and the Gratification of General Needs: Review of Laura Hyman: Happiness; Understanding Narratives and Discourses, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, ISBN: 978-1-137-32152-7
(2016) Journal of Happiness Studies, pp. 1-7. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1007/s10902-016-9720-6

In her book ‘Happiness’ Laura Hyman identifies some discourses, as defined by Foucault, about happiness among 19 middle-class respondents in the UK. A discourse is a way of thinking and communicating about some issue, and comparable to a ‘perception’ or a’ view’. The dominant ‘Therapeutic Discourse’, is based on the view that happiness is an individual and normative challenge; it is to be worked on by selfcare and self-knowledge. A somewhat contradictory discourse puts more priority on social relations, as a condition for happiness. Hyman explains the co-existence of these discourses as a consequence of individualization. Individualization puts more priority on individual responsibility, but can easily lead to a neglect of social relations. It is difficult to assess the universality of these discourses, because the sample of respondents is very homogeneous. If individualization is an important factor we might expect different discourses in more collectivistic cultures. There are, however, theoretical reasons to believe that these discourses are rather universal. We may expect that the gratification of general needs is important. If certain needs are not gratified they will get more attention, and more priority, in a discourse about happiness. The ‘Therapeutic Discourse’, more in particular, is apparently a logical consequence of the dynamics of the human mind. The characteristics of the human consciousness clearly support this discourse. We need more empirical research, about discourses in different cultures, to find out for sure! © 2016 The Author(s)

Author Keywords
Capitalism; Discourse; Enlightenment; Gratification of needs; Happiness; Hedonic level of affect; Human needs; Individualization; Life-satisfaction

Index Keywords
clinical article, consciousness, empirical research, happiness, human, human tissue, individualization, narrative, neglect, perception, responsibility, social interaction, theoretical model

Read Full Post »

bouveresse Editor: I posted up a review of this book earlier. It is attracting quite a bit of attention in France hence the repost. See the links at the end of this post

Jacques Bouveresse, Nietzsche contre Foucault Sur la vérité, la connaissance et le pouvoir. Agone, 25/01/2016

Avant-propos de Benoit Gaultier et Jean-Jacques Rosat.

Et si Nietzsche, dont Foucault s’est tant réclamé, parlait souvent contre lui ?

La plupart des expressions typiques de Foucault dans lesquelles le mot « vérité » intervient comme complément – « production de la vérité », « histoire de la vérité », « politique de la vérité », « jeux de vérité », etc. – reposent sur une confusion peut-être délibérée entre deux choses que Frege considérait comme essentiel de distinguer : l’être-vrai et le tenir-pour-vrai. Or peu de philosophes ont insisté avec autant de fermeté que Nietzsche sur cette différence radicale qui existe entre ce qui est vrai et ce qui est cru vrai : « La vérité et la croyance que quelque chose est vrai : deux univers d’intérêts tout à fait séparés l’un de l’autre, presque des univers opposés ; on arrive à l’un et à l’autre par des chemins fondamentalement différents », écrit-il dans L’Antéchrist. Foucault, alors qu’il n’a jamais traité que des mécanismes, des lois et des conditions historiques et sociales de production de l’assentiment et de la croyance, en a tiré abusivement des conclusions concernant la vérité elle-même.

Sur la vérité, l’objectivité, la connaissance et la science, il est trop facilement admis aujourd’hui – le plus souvent sans discussion – que Foucault aurait changé la pensée et nos catégories. Mais il y a dans ses cours trop de confusions conceptuelles entre vérité, connaissance et pouvoir, trop de questions élémentaires laissées en blanc – et, tout simplement, trop de non-sens pour qu’on doive se rallier à pareille opinion. Quant au nietzschéisme professé par Foucault, il repose sur une lecture trop étroite, qui ne résiste pas à une confrontation attentive avec les textes, notamment ceux du Nietzsche de la maturité.

À l’écart aussi bien des panégyriques que des verdicts idéologiques, le philosophe Jacques Bouveresse, professeur au Collège de France, lit Nietzsche et Foucault à la hauteur où ils doivent être lus : avec les mêmes exigences intellectuelles qu’il applique à Wittgenstein et à Musil, et une libre ironie qu’il fait sienne plus que jamais.

Sommaire : I. L’objectivité, la connaissance et le pouvoir (conférence, 2000) ; II. Remarques sur le problème de la vérité chez Nietzsche et sur Foucault lecteur de Nietzsche (essai inédit, 2013-2015) : 1. Ce qui est connu doit-il être vrai ? ; 2. La connaissance sans vérité et la vérité sans vérité ; 3. La vérité pourrait-elle n’être pas la cause de la connaissance, mais son effet ?; 4. La volonté du vrai et la volonté de la distinction du vrai et du faux ; 5. Nietzsche, la « preuve de force » et la « preuve de vérité » de la foi ; 6. La volonté de savoir et la volonté de croire ; 7. La recherche de la connaissance véritable et de la vérité vraie ; 8. Peut-il y avoir une histoire de la vérité ? ; 9. Le concept d’« alèthurgie » : la vérité et ses manifestations.

Professeur au Collège de France, Jacques Bouveresse a publié de nombreux ouvrages de philosophie du langage et de la connaissance mais aussi sur des écrivains comme Robert Musil et Karl Kraus. Il est aussi l’un des principaux commentateurs français de Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Pour visiter la page consacrée à Jacques Bouveresse sur le site du Collège de France

Critiques, comptes rendus et essais

Autour de Jacques Bouveresse blog. Ce blog est là pour diffuser les informations (audio/video/livres/articles) autour des travaux du philosophe Jacques Bouveresse

La vérité en question, Le Monde diplomatique

Actu philosophia

Bouveresse, Opération vérité, Libération


Ouvertures, le temps du citoyen magazine

Strass de la philosophie blog

Émissions • Les Nouveaux chemins de la connaissance • Nietzsche contre Foucault par Jacques Bouveresse, France Culture, audio podcast

Librairie Tropiques. Includes two videos of debates

Read Full Post »

María Alejandra Energici Sprovera, El self emprendedor. Sociología de una forma de subjetivación Ulrich Bröckling (2015). Santiago: Ediciones Universidad Alberto Hurtado. Revista Persona y Sociedad, Vol. XXIX / Nº 3 septiembre-diciembre 2015 / 131-136

Full PDF available

La pregunta por el sujeto ha tomado especial relevancia en los últimos años, principalmente porque permite pensar la complejidad en las sociedades contemporáneas, es decir, preguntarse por el sujeto es una manera de abrir preguntas, más que de dar respuestas. Asimismo, esta obra abre interrogantes sobre los modos en que nos relacionamos con nosotros mismos y sobre la forma en que dicha relación es mediada socialmente.

Este libro aborda precisamente los procesos de subjetivación, y en especial una forma particular de subjetivarse, en tanto self emprendedor: Deber y querer ser emprendedor es también un modo de concebirse y de orientarse a sí mismo y a los otros: es decir, se trata de una forma de subjetivación. El actuar emprendedor designa menos un estado de cosas que un campo de fuerza: es una meta a la que apuntan los individuos, una medida según la cual juzgan su actividad, un ejercicio cotidiano que cultivan y un generador de verdad, ante el cual se reconocen. (p. 13)

read more

Read Full Post »

Colin Gordon, Review Article: The Cambridge Foucault Lexicon, History of the Human Sciences 2016, Vol. 29(3) 91–110

Also on academia.edu

Leonard Lawlor and John Nale (eds) The Cambridge Foucault Lexicon. New York:Cambridge University Press, 2014. 741 pp. £99.99. ISBN: 9780521119214 (hbk)

This big and potentially influential volume is one sign among others of Michel Foucault’s ongoing elevation to classic status within the history of recent thought. The publishers say that the 117 entries in this volume are written by ‘the world’s leading scholars inFoucault’s thought’. Some of the 72 contributors certainly fit that billing. Alongside many established experts, there are also younger scholars whose renown lies, hopefully, in the near future; this mix gives a range of generational perspectives which is to be welcomed.The contributors are comprised overwhelmingly of philosophers working in the USA and Canada, plus a handful from western Europe, and two Australians. Foucault’s creative impact has long extended across a far wider global and intellectual community than is adequately represented here. The mass presence of philosophers doubtless reflects the commercial fact that academic reference works targeted at the university library market generally need a definite primary departmental focus. Nevertheless, it is a pity that a few more contributions have not been provided to this lexicon by some of those academics based in geography,history,politics,criminology,sociology,anthropology or classics who have engaged with, used or tested Foucault in their fields.This might have also diminished a tendency, perhaps compounded by the legacy of a past generation of commentaries focused on Foucault’s earlier books, to produce an overall emphasis which underplays Foucault’s public and political engagements.

read more

Read Full Post »

ecologiesA review of Projective Ecologies, edited by Chris Reed and Nina-Marie Lister. 2014. ISBN: 1940291127. ACTAR, Harvard Graduate School of Design. 314 pages. Buy the book.

Review by Anne Trumble

Several months ago, I reviewed Landscape Imagination, a collection of essays by James Corner, a professor at University of Pennsylvania and the landscape architect who designed New York City’s celebrated High Line. Composed over twenty years, his essays examine the many factors hindering the advancement of the cultural medium of landscape. One factor Corner repeatedly addresses is the hoary old dichotomy between nature and culture still pervasive in landscape architecture—the belief in a pristine nature separate from humans.


Projective Ecologies aims to recover a critical sense of ecology for the design professions because they operate at the intersection of nature and culture—particularly landscape architecture, since its medium holds unique environmental, social, and existential opportunities and responsibilities. Emerging from a multi-year research initiative at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, Reed and Lister drew on Foucault’s The Archaeology of Knowledge to present three “parallel genealogies,” or intellectual traditions, dealing with the concept of ecology: natural sciences, the humanities, and design.

read more

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: