LES AVEUX DE LA CHAIR AND THE MUTABILITY OF EXPERIENCE

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I will be summarising and commenting Les Aveux de la chair, Foucault’s fourth volume in the history of sexuality tetralogy philosophically. In this first substantial post I wish to show how the first few pages conform to the theses that can be extracted from the sketch for an introduction appended in Annex 1.

The book’s first, and longest, chapter has for title: “The formation of a new experience”, which situates it as a demonstration of the thesis of the mutability of experience.

This is at first sight an epistemological thesis (there is no “raw” experience), but we must not forget that it is also a political (prescriptions for conduct can be neither legitimated nor invalidated by an appeal to constituted experience) and an ontological one (Being scinds experience, rescinds its authority, and prescinds it from exteriority).

The title of the first part of the first chapter is “Creation…

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Fourth volume of Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality published – Warwick news release

Progressive Geographies

BHI_Foucault_Le_souci_Plat.inddThere is a Warwick news release of information about Foucault’s Les aveux de la chair, in which I briefly explain how the book fits within Foucault’s work and its importance.

I’ve already agreed to write a longer review of the book, and did a first interview on it yesterday evening.

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Foucault’s Les Aveux de la chair – just picked up a copy

Progressive Geographies

Les Aveux de la chairIt’s officially published tomorrow, but I’ve just picked up a copy of the fourth volume of Foucault’s History of Sexuality – Les Aveux de la chair [Confessions, or Avowals, of the Flesh]. Some of the book is available to view here (essentially just the editor Frédéric Gros’s foreword). The back cover simply has the line of René Char that appeared on volumes II and III. “The history of men is the long succession of synonyms of the same term [vocable]. To contradict them is a duty”.

The book is in three main parts – ‘The formation of a new experience’, ‘Being a virgin’ and ‘Being married’. It looks like the first and second titles are not Foucault’s own. There are some  ‘annexes’ of material appended to the main text – these are related texts found together with the main manuscript. Three are brief of 1, 3 or 7 pages, but…

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The Early Foucault Update 15: Working on Maladie mentale et personnalité and some archival and library work in Paris

Progressive Geographies

Earlier this month I finished working through Maladie mentale et personnalité, which I discussed beginning in the last update, and have drafted a substantial section analyzing the book. I imagine I can only use a fraction of the quotes I took down in my notes, as at the moment it’s a long section. Only then did I go to the valuable secondary literature on the book, including the work of Macherey, Dreyfus, Gutting, Bernauer, the biographies and so on. Initially I was trying to read it without those filters.

This book is often read either in relation to its 1962 version Maladie mentale et psychologie (the version we have in English), or as a summation of a positon Foucault moved beyond, in this chapter I’m trying to read it as a valuable book in its own right. (The other two aspects will be treated elsewhere in my study.)…

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Back to writing in 2018 – Foucault, Canguilhem and Lefebvre

Progressive Geographies

As the blog posts of the last couple of days indicate, I’m back at my desk working. The first writing submitted this year was a 2000 word piece entitled ‘Foucault, Biography, and Posthumous Publications’, destined for the American Book Review. Robert Tally is editing a collection of reviews and essays on ‘critical lives’, mainly relating to twentieth-century theory. I was asked to write a piece on Foucault, despite there not being a new biography to review. I used the absence of any biographies since 1993 (Macey and Miller) as the opening of the essay, mentioned the valuable-but-untranslated work Eribon has done since the first edition of his biography (1989, translated in 1991), and then moved to the main purpose. I discuss the material by Foucault that has appeared in the last twenty or so years, and some of what is in the archive, briefly outlining how this adds substantially to…

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In the Shadow of Dictatorship: Foucault in Brazil – Marcelo Hoffman video abstract

Progressive Geographies

In this short video, Marcelo Hoffman discusses his review essay of Heliana de Barros Conde Rodrigues’s book Ensaios sobre Michel Foucault no Brasil: Presença, efeitos, ressonâncias (Michel Foucault in Brazil: Presence, Effects, Resonances). His full review is available online and in the journal Theory, Culture & Society. The book sounds fascinating and is hopefully planned for translation.

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Foucault, Les aveux de la chair – Gallimard page and a few more details

Progressive Geographies

Michel Foucault, Les aveux de la chair, the fourth volume of his History of Sexuality, is scheduled for publication in February 2018. The Gallimard page now has a few more details, including its length at 448 pages (volumes II and III, in the same Gallimard series, are each less than 300 pages), and this description:

Les aveux de la chair, qui paraît aujourd’hui comme le quatrième et dernier volume de L’histoire de la sexualité, est en réalité le premier auquel Michel Foucault s’était consacré après La volonté de savoir(1976) qui constituait l’introduction générale de l’entreprise. Il s’attachait aux règles et doctrines du christianisme élaborées du Ile au IVe siècles par les Pères de l’Église.
Au cours de son travail, Michel Foucault s’était persuadé que l’essentiel de ces règles et doctrines était un héritage remanié des disciplines de soi élaborées par les philosophes grecs et…

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