Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Alberto Comparini, Between Philosophy and History: On Guido Mazzoni’s “Theory of the Novel”, Los Angeles Review of Books, April 15, 2017

BETWEEN 1995 AND 2010, Guido Mazzoni worked on three books: a study of modern poetry (Sulla poesia moderna, 2005); a collection of poems (I mondi [Worlds], 2010); and, finally, a theory of the novel (Teoria del romanzo, 2011).


In Mazzoni’s analysis, the novel emerges as a “game of truth.” In 1984, under the pseudonym “Maurice Florence,” the French philosopher Michel Foucault contributed an entry titled “Michel Foucault” to a dictionary of philosophers. In that entry, the term “game of truth” is used to describe the “discursive practices that define what is true and what is false, what form the discourse of truth must take, and who and what the subject and object of knowledge are.” Mazzoni is similarly concerned with the “structures of sense that still shape our discourses today,” namely those of mimesis (imitation) and concept (reflection), whose separation was ratified by Plato in Books II, III, and X of the Republic. Theory of the Novel can be read as a history of mimesis, whose rise coincides with the development of modern aesthetics, according to which truth can be represented in a medium different from that of the concept. In the absence of both meaning and telos from history, it is only the mimetic novel — not the concept — that is still capable of depicting the complexities of human consciousness as well as of society at large. It is a “genre in which one can tell absolutely any story in any way whatsoever.”

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Quentin Molinier, La « French Theory » du spectateur, Nonfiction.fr, 2015

Compte rendu: Christian Ruby, Spectateur et politique. D’une conception crépusculaire à une conception affirmative de la culture ?, La Lettre Volée, 2014

Résumé : Qu’est-ce qu’être spectateur aujourd’hui ? Et quel est son rôle, son destin politique ? L’auteur montre en quoi les réflexions de Gilles Deleuze, Jean-François Lyotard, Michel Foucault, Marie-José Mondzain et Jacques Rancière peuvent nous aider à dépasser la vision désenchantée et nostalgique qu’un certain nombre d’intellectuels continuent d’entretenir à l’égard d’une figure éminente et centrale de la société du spectacle.

En ces temps de festivités cannoises, il n’est pas inutile de se demander qui sont les vrais « acteurs » de l’industrie cinématographique d’aujourd’hui. A savoir les spectateurs ! Sans eux, sans ces arpenteurs intrépides des salles obscures, ni film ni recette et encore mois d’investissements, de débats, paillettes, critiques, polémiques, journalistes survitaminés, stars endimanchées, tapis-rougisées… Bref, pas de spectacle (dans tous les sens du terme) sans spectateurs. Et tant pis pour le truisme, si du même coup on se donne les moyens d’apprécier les qualités spécifiques du spectateur, ce personnage incontournable de la grande fable culturelle moderne, dont chacun de nous adopte un jour ou l’autre, avec plus ou moins d’assiduité, les traits et les postures.


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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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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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cover_issue_703_en_usFoucault News
Number 22: January 2017:
Foucault and Roman Antiquity: Foucault’s Rome

Editor’s note: I have now returned to the journal, of which I was one of the co-founders, as part of an expanded editorial team. An interview with another of the three founding editors of the journal, Stuart Elden, also appears in this issue, as does a review of his latest book. The opening editorial states:

With this issue of Foucault Studies, a new and markedly expanded editorial team takes over. While Sverre Raffnsøe, Alain Beaulieu, Barbara Cruikshank, Knut Ove Eliassen, Marius GudmandHøyer, Johanna Oksala and Alan Rosenberg continue on the editorial team, Foucault Studies is delighted to welcome Thomas Götselius, Daniele Lorenzini, Hernan Camilo Pulido Martinez, Clare O’Farrell, Rodrigo Castro Orellana, Eva Bendix Petersen and Dianna Taylor as co-editors.

Table of contents

Special Issue on Foucault and Roman Antiquity: Foucault’s Rome

Introduction: Foucault’s Rome
Richard Alston

Lucan, Reception, Counter-history
Ika Willis

Foucault, Sovereignty, and Governmentality in the Roman Republic
Dean Hammer

The Augustan Principate and the Emergence of Biopolitics: A Comparative Historical Perspective
Shreyaa Bhatt

Foucault’s Empire of the Free
Richard Alston

Time for Foucault? Reflections on the Roman Self from Seneca to Augustine
James I. Porter

From Race War to Socialist Racism: Foucault’s Second Transcription
Verena Erlenbusch

Foucault and Weber on Leadership and the Modern Subject
Tahseen Kazi

Protestation and Mobilization in the Middle East and North Africa: A Foucauldian Model
Navid Pourmokhtari

Cuvier’s Situation in the History of Biology
Lynne Huffer

Foucault and Intellectual History: An interview with Stuart Elden on his book Foucault’s Last Decade (Polity Press, 2016)
Antoinette Koleva

Julian Reid on Foucault – applying his work on war, resilience, imagination and political subjectivity
Kristian Haug

Book Reviews
Stuart Elden, Foucault’s Last Decade (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2016), 272pp, pb £17.99, ISBN: 9780745683928
Kurt Borg

Paul Colilli, Agamben and the Signature of Astrology. Spheres of Potentiality (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2015), i-xx, 214 pp. hard cover, $85.00 (US) ISBN: 978-1-4985-0595-6
Alain Beaulieu

Peter Sloterdijk, Philosophical Temperaments: From Plato to Foucault, trans. Thomas Dunlap (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013), ISBN: 978-0231153737
Jonathan G. Wald

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Michel Foucault (2016)

Philippe Raynaud, Michel Foucault, Commentaire 2016/1 (Numéro 153)

Premières lignes
Dirigée par Frédéric Gros avec le concours de quelques bons spécialistes, l’édition de la Pléiade présente la plupart des livres publiés du vivant de Foucault ou revus par lui avant sa mort (à l’exception regrettable de ses premiers travaux sur la « maladie mentale »), ainsi qu’un choix judicieux d’articles, de conférences et d’interviews qui permettent de mieux comprendre les sources philosophiques…

Plan de l’article
Nietzsche et Heidegger
Histoire de la folie
Naissance de la clinique
Les Mots et les Choses
Mai 1968
Philosophe et historien

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