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Knowledge Ecology

beeple-1[Image: Mike Winkelmann]

In my dissertation summary, I linked the works of Evan Thompson, Pierre Hadot, Peter Sloterdijk, and Michel Foucault in terms of each philosopher’s emphasis on what we could call skillsof perception and action, each suggesting a view of philosophy as practice. In Pierre Hadot’s workWhat is Ancient Philosophy?, for example, we finda view of the history of philosophy as a history of practices of self-transformation and self-overcoming (up to and including considerations of just who the”self” is that is overcome).

Despite the implications of histitle, Hadot sees the emphasis on practice as also prevalent in modern philosophical figures, including Descartes, Kant, and Montaigne. In principle, we couldtake a practice view of anytradition of philosophical thought, as many of Hadot’s commentators have done. This is largely the same approach that Peter Sloterdijk takes. InThe Art of Philosophy,Sloterdijk introduces us to his method…

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Progressive Geographies

I’ve now finished work on Foucault: The Birth of Power – the corrections to the proofs have been sent off. In the past several weeks I’ve been working hard on Shakespeare, and have got several chapters into draft state. I’m going to have to take a break from this work in the autumn-winter, with teaching and several talks on different topics, so I’d like to get this manuscript to a point where I can leave it without too many loose ends. This doesn’t mean it’s nearly finished, indeed far from it, but I want it to be at a point where I can put it aside and return, at some point, with fresh eyes and hopefully new energy and ideas.

I’ve put a new page on this site with more information on the Shakespeare project. This supersedes the older page, and more accurately reflects the current shape of it.

Foucault: The…

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Progressive Geographies

0745683916Peter Gratton kindly links to my Interview with Eugene Wolters at critical-theory.com, which I shared at the weekend, and also mentions that he is currently interviewing me, along with Eduardo Mendieta and Dianna Taylor, for Symposium. The interview uses the book as a starting point, but is really a discussion of mid-late Foucault around a range of themes. Peter says “it will appear early in the fall (if not sooner if we can make it open access)”. There are also at least three reviews of the book in progress.

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Hence the major effect of the Panopticon: to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power. So to arrange things that the surveil¬lance is permanent in its effects, even if it is discontinuous in its action; that the perfection of power should tend to render its actual exercise unnecessary; that this architectural apparatus should be a machine for creating and sustaining a power relation independent of the person who exercises it; in short, that the inmates should be caught up in a power situation of which they are themselves the bearers. Foucault, M. (1995). Discipline and Punish: The birth of the prison, (A. Sheridan, Trans.), New York: Vintage Books. (Original work published 1975). Pt 3. Chapter 3 : Panopticism, p. 201


August 10, 2016

Contact: @zorbitor

6th Annual Wave at Surveillance Day

“To Be Observed”

It’s no secret that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg covers his laptop camera and microphone jack, as reported by The New York Times on June 22nd. The paper also notes documents unveiled by Edward Snowden reveal that at least two National Security Agency programs are designed to ‘take over’ home computers.

Even more alarming, sousveillance has brought to light the often deadly acts of those officially tasked with watching over us. Security cameras. Bodycams. Dashcams. The tide of the watchman shows no sign of receding. For good or for evil? One is led to wonder: Surveillance. Is it our new moral compass?

August 16th will mark the world’s 6th annual Wave at Surveillance Day, a chance for the watched to reach out to the watchers both at home and in public venues.

When discussing last year’s event…

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Progressive Geographies

2nd_annual_pais_research_conference_2016_poster.jpgAt the end of June I gave the plenary lecture to my Warwick department’s annual conference. It was entitled ‘Foucault, the Archive and the Writing of Intellectual History’, and discussed the writing of the two books Foucault’s Last Decadeand Foucault: The Birth of Power.

The audio recording is available here.

Links to my series of updates on the books’ progress can be found here and other audio and video recordings are  here.

Some translations, scans and links are available at Foucault Resources – I mention some of these in the talk.

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One of a series of posts on Barry Stocker’s blog on Foucault’s Theories et institutions pénale. Cours au Collège de France, 1971-1972. Paris: Seuil/Gallimard, 2015


(Commentary on Theories et institutions pénale. Cours au Collège de France, 1971-1972. Paris: Seuil/Gallimard, 2015)

23rd February, 1972

Institutions of Peace

First function

Private wars are forbidden

They are forbidden by a collective or singular authority

This authority imposes what can be placed before a judicial body, that is private war or what provokes private war

Justice is now not what comes after injury, arbitration and peace. The court is under the control of an authority establishing peace.

Public authority has separated injury from justice (presumably Foucault means injury cannot be a reply to an injury, that the injury can only be punished in the public court).

Justice is confiscated by the judiciary (from the private agreements between aristocrats at war with each other)

Second Function

Establish region where taxation/state revenues are better organised, more stable, and generate more income.

The period of private wars within the aristocracy generated revenue for…

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My latest article, ‘Gramsci and Foucault in Central Park: Environmental hegemonies, pedagogical spaces and integral state formations’, is now available online on the early view webpage of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space (requires subscription).

The piece draws on the conceptualizations of power and the state by these authors to develop an explicitly political understanding of landscape struggles and the governmentalization of urban environments, using Manhattan’s Central Park as a historical  illustration of such processes. In fact the article is articulated not only through the dialogue between both thinkers, but as a more open conversation that also includes Frederick Law Olmsted, co-designer, architect-in-chief and superintendent of the park, as well as other figures and institutions related to its material and symbolic construction. The Greensward project and subsequent management of the park premises under Olmsted’s attention are depicted as a pioneering example of how design mediates new local state…

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