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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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Feminisms, Foucault, and the Berlin Women's Movement

Anna Lopes

This article provides a reassessment of the Berlin socialist women's movement of the mid-1890s as a historically significant attempt to establish a new kind of gender politics. The article shows how the movement provides an entry point to a broader, richer, more complicated feminist resistance than previously recognized. The historiographical processes that have narrowed interpretations of the movement are explored through a feminist-Foucauldian lens, which reveals the more collaborative activities and fluid alliances both among the women's groups and between them and a wider circle of social democratic men. A feminist-Foucauldian approach shifts attention to the movement's formation as an effect of power, highlighting its innovative organizational style, leadership, theorists, ideas, and resistance activities.

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Introduction

Museums, Power, Knowledge

Tony Bennett

Michel Foucault argues that truth is not to be emancipated from power. Given that museums have played a central role in these “regimes of truth,” Foucault’s work was a reference point for the debates around “the new museology” in the 1980s and remains so for contemporary debates in the field. In this introduction to a new volume of selected essays, the use of Foucault’s work in my previous research is considered in terms of the relations between museums, heritage, anthropology, and government. In addition, concepts from Pierre Bourdieu, science and technology studies, Actor Network Theory, assemblage theory, and the post-Foucaultian literature on governmentality are employed to examine various topics, including the complex situation of Indigenous people in contemporary Australia.

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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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The Fractal Process of European Integration

A Formal Theory of Recursivity in the Field of European Security

Grégoire Mallard and Martial Foucault

This article proposes a simple formal model that can explain why and how European states engaged in the negotiation of federalist treaties in the fields of European defense and security. Using the non-cooperative model of multilateral bargaining derived from the Stahl-Rubinstein game, we show that the specific sequencing of treaty negotiations adopted by federalists explains why, against all odds, states preferred federalist-inspired treaties to intergovernmental treaties. We argue that federalists succeeded in convincing states to sign their treaties, rather than alternative treaties, by spreading the risk of rejection attached to various components of European security treaties into successive periods of negotiations, a process that they repeated in each new round of negotiation. In doing so, we show that Jean Monnet and his transnational network of European federalists had an influence on the process of EU integration because they segmented treaties into components with different probabilities of acceptance, and structured the different rounds of negotiations of these components by starting with the less risky ones, rather than because they convinced states to change their preferences and adopt federalist treaties instead of intergovernmental treaties.

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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.