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Foucault

Critical Theory of the Police in a Neoliberal Age

Andrew Johnson

In Discipline and Punish the police is a state institution isomorphic with the prison. In his Collège de France lectures, Foucault unearths a 'secret history of the police' where greater attention is paid to public health, social welfare and regulating the marketplace than investigating and arresting criminals. This broad overview of Foucault's writings on the police exhibits a 'splintering-effect' in his modalities of power. To resolve this apparent contradiction, a nominalist reading that conflates Foucault's divergent paradigms of power results in a more multifaceted history and a ubiquitous mode of power with diverse and precise techniques. There are strengths and weaknesses in Foucault's theory when applied to modern neoliberal police. Foucault should not be employed for one-dimensional criticisms of modern police or as an analytical cure-all.

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From Schmitt to Foucault

Inquiring the Relationship between Exception and Democracy

Sara Raimondi

boundaries and legitimate uses. In a legal perspective, exception was first assumed as a problem of constitutional forms. With Foucault’s and Agamben’s interventions on biopolitics, then, the concept has been gradually associated with an instrument of control

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International Biopolitics

Foucault, Globalisation and Imperialism

M.G.E. Kelly

In this article, I present a new Foucauldian reading of the international, via Foucault's concept of 'biopolitics'. I begin by surveying the existing Foucauldian perspectives on the international, which mostly take as their point of departure Foucault's concept of 'governmentality', and mostly diagnose a 'global governmentality' or 'global biopolitics' in the current era of globalisation. Against these majority positions, I argue that analysis of the contemporary international through the lens of Foucauldian biopolitics in fact shows us that our world system is marked by a parasitic imperialism of rich sovereign states over poor ones, carried on at the level of populations.

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Political Life beyond the Biopolitical?

Leonie Ansems de Vries

Michel Foucault's genealogy of the entry of life into politics provides an incisive account of the manner in which life came to be governed on the basis of its understood biological capacities and requirements. Foucault problematises biopolitics as a mode of governance through which life's potentialities are both produced and immobilised via the continuous (re)production of circulations, or the constitution of the milieu. The question is whether governance can be (dis)ordered such that this problem of biopolitical foreclosure is overcome. This problematique will be broached in this article by staging an encounter between Foucault's problematisation of biopolitical life and Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari's biophilosophy, which offers the promise of an ontological movement to think political life anew. Engaging Deleuze and Guattari's concept of the milieu, the article explores whether a shift of focus to an understanding of political life in terms of its potentialities of mobile and relational becoming within a wider play of forces can offer a viable strategy to counter the problematic foreclosure of politics to which Foucault draws attention.

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'A Punishment More Bitter Than Death'

Dirck Coornhert's Boeven-tucht and the Rise of Discipline

Roger Deacon

Dirck Coornhert (1522-90) was a Dutch humanist whose seminal 1587 book, Boeven-tucht, redefined issues of poverty, charity, development and crime. A transitionary document, Boeven-tucht lies on the cusp of what Michel Foucault called the 'great confinement', which took place between about 1600 and 1750 and which was the common response by local and national authorities to the social disorder concomitant upon population expansion, a widening gap between rich and poor, religious discord and war. Inspired by Boeventucht, the Amsterdam Rasphuis and Spinhuis were the European prototypes of houses of correction which sprang up all over Europe, intended to apply 'a punishment more bitter than death' to all 'criminal idlers'. This introduction to the first-ever English translation of Boeven-tucht situates Coornhert's text in the space between unmediated absolutist sovereignty and full-blown modern discipline, when disciplinary techniques were as yet only gradually emerging from the monasteries and lay fraternities in which they had been incubated, and before they spread into all facets of modern society.

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Liberty through Political Representation and Rights Recognition

Christopher J. Allsobrook

here that, although the inclusion of Michel Foucault’s understanding of power in this theory of real modern freedom is to be commended, this advance proves inconsistent with the theory of needs advanced in his earlier work on The Political Philosophy

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Neoliberalism, Hedonism and the Dying Public

Reclaiming Political Agency through the Exercise of Courage

Grant M. Sharratt and Erik Wisniewski

relationships. Neoliberal governmentality, on our account, and following Michel Foucault, fashions people into producers and consumers who strive to maximise wages, while using their surplus earnings to procure the means to experience pleasure or material

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Nonviolent Political Action and the Limits of Consent

Iain Atack

The consent theory of power, whereby ruling elites depend ultimately on the submission, cooperation and obedience of the governed as their source of power, is often linked to debates about the effectiveness of non-violent political action. According to this theory, ruling elites depend ultimately on the submission, cooperation and obedience of the governed as their source of power. If this cooperation is with-drawn, then this power is undermined. Iain Atack outlines this theory and examines its strengths and weaknesses. Atack argues that incorporating the insights of other theories of power, such as Gramsci's theory of hegemony and Foucault's views on 'micro-power', can provide us with a more sophisticated understanding of both the effectiveness and the limits of nonviolent political action than the consent theory of power. Gramsci's contribution deepens the analysis in terms of our understanding of the origins of individual consent in the context of larger economic and political structures, while Foucault adds a different dimension, in that his micro-approach emphasizes the ubiquity and plurality of power, rather than its embodiment or reification in large-scale structures.

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Crossing Boundaries

The Case of Wanda Wasilewska and Polish Communism

Agnieszka Mrozik

themselves and their environment. As Michel Foucault wrote: “Revolution … was [for communists] not just a political project; it was also a form of life.” 2 In one of his lectures delivered at the Collège de France in the early 1980s, Foucault noted that since

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Family Squabbles

Beyond the Conflict-Consensus Divide

Henrik P. Bang

This article examines the consensus-conflict divide within contemporary democratic theory as manifested in the works of Jürgen Habermas, Chantal Mouffe, Jacques Rancière, and John Rawls. It relates the democratic crisis diagnosis to the presence of this conceptual divide and suggests overcoming it by focusing on the work of Michel Foucault, especially his concept of the “rectangle of the good parrhesia.” Foucault's analysis goes beyond conflict-consensus through its positive and creative reconceptualization of political authority featuring a transformative capacity linked to the idea of telling the truth.