Foucault, “The Politics of [Soviet] Crime” – a request for help from Italian readers

[update: I have a copy of the Italian text, but have also now found the full and unpublished French original transcript at IMEC.]

A request for help with finding an Italian text of an interview between Michel Foucault and K.S. Karol. It appeared in Il manifesto.

This text is an interesting one – it was originally published in Le nouvel observateur, 26 janvier 1976, pp. 34-7 as “Crimes et châtiments en U.R.S.S. et ailleurs…”, and appears in Dits et écrits as text number 172. There is a partial English version, originally in Partisan Review as “The Politics of Crime” (Vol 43, No 4, 1976, pp. 453-9), which is reprinted in Foucault: Live as “The Politics of Soviet Crime” (pp. 121-20; and pp. 190-6 in the two different editions). (I’ve seen all these versions – Le nouvel observateurDits et écrits, Foucault: Live and Partisan Review. The two French texts are identical; and the English all make the same cut from the French.)

The English moves directly from “even the slightest risk of upheaval” to “I would like to return to the issue of punishment in a more general sense” (Foucault: Live, 1st edition, p. 129). This cuts about four pages of the French – Dits et écrits Vol III, p. 69 – “La discipline va régner, sans ombre et sans risqué…” to p. 73 – “Mais revenons au problem du châtiment dans sa direction universelle”. The part missed is mainly on China.

Yet there is another version which includes some different material and has some cuts. I was alerted to this by Jacob Lunding, who gave me a Danish translation which does not completely accord to the French, “Interview med Michel Foucault: “At overvåge og straffe” under kapitalismen og andetsteds. Fængslerne go magten”, in Kultur & Klasse, Vol 8 No 2, 1977, pp. 23-25. This title would translate as “Interview with Michel Foucault: ‘Surveillance and punishment’ under Capitalism and elsewhere: Prisons and power”. The notes to that Danish version indicate it is a translation of the Italian text in Il manifesto, so we’d like to see that to make a closer comparison.

The interviewer, K.S. Karol, worked for both Le nouvel observateur and helped found Il manifesto, so it would appear that there was an longer original transcript, edited for both publications, but in different ways. Sadly Karol died in 2014, so that route of checking is not available.

So, can anyone help with locating the version published in Il manifesto, probably sometime in 1976 or possibly in 1977? Worldcat suggests it is only available in Italian libraries.

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One Response to Foucault, “The Politics of [Soviet] Crime” – a request for help from Italian readers

  1. Pingback: Foucault: The Birth of Power update 8 – working at the IMEC archive and another visit to the Bibliothèque Nationale | Progressive Geographies

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