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Wendy Brown. In the account of Neoliberalism. 2016

European Graduate School Video Lectures

Published on Jan 25, 2017
http://www.egs.edu Wendy Brown, Professor of Philosophy at The European Graduate School / EGS. Saas-Fee Switzerland. August 13 2016.

Wendy Brown is Professor of Political Science at the University of California Berkeley. Her research interests include the history of political and social theory, Continental philosophy, and critical theory, together with the examination of contemporary capitalism. In her research into the problems that plague contemporary capitalism and neoliberalism, she employs theoretical works of Michel Foucault, Max Weber, Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, and Frankfurt school.

In 1983, Wendy Brown received her doctoral degree from Princetown University. She subsequently taught at the University of California, Santa Cruz and also at Williams College. Since 1999, she has been teaching at the University of California, Berkeley.

Edgework: Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics (2005) consists of seven articles which were all written for some particular occasion. Brown emphasises this trait of her book and claims that “such occasions mimic, in certain ways, the experience of the political realm: one is challenged to think here, now, about a problem that is set and framed by someone else, and to do so before a particular audience or in dialogue with others not of one’s own choosing.” Every essay in this book begins with a particular problem: what is the relationship between love, loyalty, and dissent in contemporary American political life?; how did neoliberal rationality become a form of governmentality?; what are the main problems of women’s studies programs?, etc. According to Brown, the aim of these essays is not to produce definitive answers to the given questions but “to critically interrogate the framing and naming practices, challenge the dogmas (including those of the Left and of feminism), and discern the constitutive powers shaping the problem at hand.”

In Regulating Aversion: Tolerance in the Age of Identity and Empire (2006), Wendy Brown subverts the usual and widely accepted conception that tolerance is one of the most remarkable achievements of the modern Western world. She argues that tolerance cannot be perceived as a complete opposite to violence, but that can also be used to justify violence. In order to substantiate this thesis, Brown associates tolerance with figures like George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Samuel Huntington, Susan Okin, Michael Ignatieff, Bernard Lewis, and Seyla Benhabib and claims that “tolerance as a political practice is always conferred by the dominant, it is always a certain expression of domination even as it offers protection or incorporation to the less powerful.”

Walled States, Waning Sovereignty (2010) examines the revival of wall-building in the contemporary world. She shows that the function of these walls is ultimately problematic because they cannot stop crimes, migration, or smuggling, cannot play a defensive role in the case of a war like they did in the past, and they cannot do anything against potential terrorist attacks. However, even if they cannot stop all these threats, walls still have an important symbolic function which Brown explores in her book.

Her most recent work Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution (2015) uses Michel Foucault’s The Birth of Biopolitics to analyze the hollowing and evisceration of democracy under neoliberal rationality. Brown describes neoliberalism as a furtive attack on the very foundation of democracy. She treats “neoliberalism as a governing rationality through which everything is “economized” and in a very specific way: human beings become market actors and nothing but, every field of activity is seen as a market, and every entity (whether public or private, whether person, business, or state) is governed as a firm. Importantly, this is not merely a matter of extending commodification and monetization everywhere, as in the old Marxist depiction of capital’s transformation of everyday life. Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres—such as learning, dating, or exercising—in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices. Above all, it casts people as human capital who must constantly tend to their own present and future value.” To be saved, democracy again needs to become not only the object of theoretical rethinking but also of political struggle.

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A Foucauldian Take on Border Violence and Mediterranean Acts of Escape, Maurice Stierl, 04/25/16

Audio of lecture

Co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Law and Society, Townsend Center for the Humanities: Course Thread on Law and the Humanities, and the Institute of European Studies.

The unauthorized mass-movements of 2015, when more than a million people crossed maritime borders into European space, demonstrated more clearly than ever before that Europe’s deterrence politics had failed. The necropolitical obstacle course created by its border regime proved unable to prevent these disobedient mobilities. What we witness today, while often termed a “migrant or refugee crisis,” is in fact a crisis of the European project. Current processes of internal re-bordering along sovereign nation-state lines and logics significantly undermine Europe’s supposed post-national ethos and trans-border imaginary. In this talk Stierl explores “Europe in crisis” and relates to some of the experiences he made through his own activist involvement in “border struggles,” as part of the activist collective ‘WatchTheMed Alarm Phone’ that has created a “hotline” for people in distress at sea. Advocating the freedom of movement and seeking to democratize maritime borderzones, the collective has created a presence in spaces seemingly reserved for sovereign state actors and has facilitated the safe arrival of thousands of travelers. In this talk he also draws from three “moments” in Michel Foucault’s writing and thought that help us think conceptually through the relationship between (migrations’) excess and (borders’) control and prompt us to reflect on the ways in which “Mediterranean acts of escape” transform the European socio-political landscape and community.

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Published on Dec 8, 2016
Course: Contemporary Sociology Theory – WEEK 10 – Foucault and History of Sexuality – 1
Instructor: Assoc. Prof. Erdoğan Yıldırım

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As part of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Religion Forum 2009-10 Lecture Series, Mark D. Jordan, Richard Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Divinity at HDS, presented “Reading Foucault: Becoming Again What We Never Were” on April 12, 2010. This event was sponsored by the Committee on Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Religion at Harvard.

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With thanks to Synthetic Zero for this link

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Interview with Stuart Elden by Dave O’Brien (podcast) on the New Books Network

In relation to Foucault’s Last Decade Polity Press 2016

Why did Michel Foucault radically recast the project of The History of Sexuality? How did he work collaboratively? What was the influence of Antiquity on his thought? In Foucault’s Last Decade (Polity Press, 2016) Stuart Elden, Professor of Political Theory and Geography at the University of Warwick explores these, and many more, questions about the final years in a rich intellectual life. The book combines detailed studies of Foucault’s recently collected lecture series with archival material and his publications, to give an in depth engagement with the changes and continuities in his thought during the last decade. Addressing questions associated with key terms, such as governmentality, as well as confession, the self, power, truth telling, and many other core ideas and themes, the book will be essential reading for anyone interested in this most important of Western thinkers.

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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

Philosophie-magazine

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

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