Foucault: the Birth of Power Update 6 – working on The Punitive Society, drafting Chapter Three, work on Chapter Six and giving some talks

FBP 6The bulk of the recent work has been on Chapter Three. This is mainly a discussion of The Punitive Society, along with related materials. The chapter is based on a long review essay I wrote on the French original for Historical Materialism back in early 2014. It is finally due to be published in the next issue of the journal, though a pre-print is here. In the last update I mentioned that I’d gone through my draft material on this course and checked all my initial translations to Graham Burchell’s official ones, and inserted the double page references. I then did some reorganization work to make it fit a book, rather than a standalone publication. I then read the whole text again, this time in English, reread parts of the French, and added some additional discussion and references and tightened the overall argument. I added some discussion of the ‘Truth and Juridical Forms’ lectures four and five throughout and mainly at the end. In theory this should have been one of the easiest chapters to draft; but there were still some structural issues that took a while to work out.

I also did a bit more work on some of the shorter texts from the early 1970s, including early pieces from Libération, and some other work on newspapers, including some from La cause du people unearthed by Felix de Montety. Foucault briefly discusses the contemporary situation concerning abortion rights in The Punitive Society, so I rewrote the beginning of Chapter Six – on activist and research work on health – using that as the opening example. It then goes into a detailed discussion of his work with the Group d’Information Santé. Also for that chapter I worked through the collection Politiques de l’habitat (1800-1850) one more time and said a bit about it. That collection is also discussed in Foucault’s Last Decade, but there is a detailed discussion of Foucault’s early-mid 1970s collaborative works in this manuscript, and I wanted to say a bit about it here. I think I’ve found a way to complement, rather than repeat, what is in the other book. Politiques de l’habitat is not an easy text to find, but it’s well worth a look.

In early November I gave talks on Foucault’s reading of the Nu-Pieds at the Historical Materialism conference (part of Chapter Two), and on his collaborative work at the LSE (drawing on Chapter Six). Both were useful in terms of sharpening the argument and thinking about the questions. The audio recordings can be found here.

I’ll be speaking about Foucault’s involvement with the Group d’Information Santé (from Chapter Six) in December, to a small closed seminar organized by Colin Gordon, and this may well be the last talk on Foucault before I submit this manuscript.

The proofs for Foucault’s Last Decade have also been corrected and the index should be compiled this week. As Foucault’s Last Decade gets closer to publication, and the writing of Foucault: The Birth of Power continues, I’ve reorganized the web pages on this site relating to the two books. A main page, with the description of the two books, is here. Audio and video recordings relating to them are here; and the updates I’ve been posting on the process of writing here.

Some translations, bibliographies, scans and links continue to be available at Foucault Resources. Developing from that work, earlier this year I compiled a piece on ‘The Uncollected Foucault’ for Foucault Studies – this a bibliography of the short pieces by Foucault that are not in Dits et écrits. Several such pieces can be found here. I’ve just done the proofs for the Foucault Studies piece and it should be out shortly.

Tomorrow I go back to Paris for five days at the Bibliothèque Nationale as I continue to work through Foucault’s reading notes, and I have a trip booked to IMEC in early December for some more archival work, mainly on the GIP. It’s obviously going to be difficult being back in Paris after Friday’s tragic events. Depending on how those visits go I will have a better sense of what work will need to be done in 2016.

This entry was posted in Foucault's Last Decade, Foucault: The Birth of Power, Michel Foucault, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Foucault: the Birth of Power Update 6 – working on The Punitive Society, drafting Chapter Three, work on Chapter Six and giving some talks

  1. Pingback: Top posts on Progressive Geographies this week | Progressive Geographies

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