Marcelo Hoffman, Foucault and Power – soon to be published

HoffmanI’ve just heard from Bloomsbury that advance copies of Marcelo Hoffman’s really important study Foucault and Power: The Influence of Political Engagement on Theories of Power are now being sent out – I wrote one of the endorsements. Highly recommended. Here’s the publisher description:

Michel Foucault is one of the most preeminent theorists of power, yet the relationship between his militant activities and his analysis of power remains unclear. The book explores this relationship to explain the development of Foucault’s thinking about power.

Using newly translated and unpublished materials, it examines what led Foucault to take on the question of power in the early 1970s and subsequently refine his thinking, working through different models (war and government) and modalities (sovereign, disciplinary, biopolitical, pastoral and governmental). Looking at Foucault’s political trajectory, from his involvement with the prisoner support movement and Solidarity to his controversial engagement with the Iranian revolution, the book shows the militant underpinning of his interest in the question of power and its various shifts and mutations.

This thorough account, which includes the first translation of a report edited by Foucault on prison conditions, will provide students in contemporary political theory with a better understanding of Foucault’s thinking about power and of the interplay between political activities and theoretical productions.


“This is the kind of reading and appraisal of Foucault’s thinking on power I have long waited for. It strikes a stark contrast with the overwhelmingly depoliticized engagements which have dominated the Anglo-American reception of his thought. For here, finally, and substantially, we read an author taking Foucault’s militancy seriously, and contextualizing it brilliantly, within the larger problems of his analyses and theories of biopower and population, to produce an account of how Foucault helps us to think beyond the biopolitical subject of liberal modernity. Hoffman has done Foucault a great service in writing this book.” –  Julian Reid, Professor of International Relations, University of Lapland, Finland and author of The Biopolitics of the War on Terror.

“A powerful reinterpretation of Foucault’s work and his political activism. It contains the best account in English of his work with the Group for Information on Prisons, and pairs an analysis of his well-known writings on Iran with his neglected writings and actions in relation to Poland at the time of Solidarity and martial law. The integration of these engagements with his published works and lecture courses sheds new light on many of his concerns.” –  Stuart Elden, Professor of Political Theory and Geography, University of Warwick, UK, and editor of the journal of Society and Space

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