Interesting looking book on the late Foucault.

Foucault News

Geoffroy de Lagasnerie, La dernière leçon de Michel Foucault. Sur le néolibéralisme, la théorie et la politique, Editions Fayard, A paraître, le 31 octobre 2012

Vous pourrez trouver plus d’informations sur le site de l’auteur

Présentation de l’éditeur
À partir du milieu des années 1970, Michel Foucault a consacré au néolibéralisme de nombreux textes qui comptent parmi les plus controversés de son œuvre : et s’il était, à la fin de sa vie, en train de devenir libéral? Rompant avec cette interprétation dominante, Geoffroy de Lagasnerie propose une analyse neuve et originale : Foucault a constitué la tradition néolibérale comme un test, un instrument de critique de la réalité et de la pensée. Loin de désigner ce courant comme un repoussoir, Foucault en fait un foyer d’imagination qui permet de réfléchir autrement. Il y trouve des outils pour mettre en lumière les limites de la philosophie politique, des théories du contrat et…

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5 Responses to

  1. Chathan says:

    Hmm interesting. This is a question I’ve been grappling with for a little while myself (due in part to discussion with Marxist comrades), without having really gotten closer to a definitive answer; whether Foucault became some kind of liberal towards the end of his life. I think Jessica Whyte was doing something similar when focusing on Foucault and “humanitarian intervention”. Personally I suspect that in his effort to combat East European authoritarian communism and to distance himself from a Stalinist orthodoxy, he allied with different groupings he saw as signaling a shift to a new kind of right, often naively. You could point to his brief association with the Nouveaux Philosophes but also his articles on Iran which represented an ill informed yet insightful commentary on political possiblities in Iran and the world at large. All of this without necessarily becoming a “liberal”. After all, in his commentary on gay rights, he does criticizes the mainstream focus on “acquiring legal rights” warning of such struggles tendency to get co-opted by the state, arguing instead for such struggles to be complements to more radical queer projects of self-formation on a political and personal level (distinction is purely schematic). As for neoliberalism, well if I remember rightly, Foucault still suggested the need for a “left art of government” in answer to the neoliberal one, thinking it had to be invented.

    What do you think? If the question interests you that is.

  2. Chathan says:

    Hmm interesting. I’ve been trying to grapple with this question myself for quite a while now (due in part to discussion with Marxist comrades), without having coming close to a real answer: to what extent did Foucault soften his politics to become a mainstream “liberal” in his theoretical outlook?

  3. Chathan says:

    Personally, I would think that his proposing the invention of a “left art of government” he wasn’t necessarily accepting the neoliberal order, looking for a left response. I think that’s part of why he attacked the Socialists in France, if I remember rightly. What do you think?

  4. stuartelden says:

    I’m not that persuaded by the claims Foucault became more liberal (we’d need clarification on what that actually means, since the US and UK uses are rather different), though of course I haven’t read the book this post refers to as it is not yet published. I’ve said many times I find the very late Foucault far less interesting than the 1970s Foucault, but that’s not because of his politics.

    • Chathan says:

      I see. Sorry but I originally thought my first post didn’t post, hence why I typed a second one repeating the query. My mistake. As for Foucault and “liberalism”, the term I have in mind is the polemical Marxist one that posits any kind of progressive politics that seeks change through the system without any desire to overturn or overthrow it as “liberalism” or “reformism”.

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