“Danger, Crime and Rights: A Conversation between Michel Foucault and Jonathan Simon” has just been published by Theory, Culture and Society (Online First). The discussion from 1983 was previously only available as a recording in the Bancroft library at UC Berkeley. Katie Dingley transcribed it, I edited it, wrote a brief introduction and Jonathan contributed a revealing commentary at the end.
This article is a transcript of a conversation between Michel Foucault and Jonathan Simon in San Francisco in October 1983. It has never previously been published and is transcribed on the basis of a tape recording made at the time. Foucault and Simon begin with a discussion of Foucault’s 1977 lecture ‘About the Concept of the “Dangerous Individual” in 19th-Century Legal Psychiatry’, and move to a discussion of notions of danger, psychiatric expertise in the prosecution cases, crime, responsibility and rights in the US and French legal systems. The transcription is accompanied by a brief contextualizing introduction and a retrospective comment by Simon.
Jonathan was part of a group of Berkeley students who met with Foucault alongside his lecture course on parrēsia (published as Fearless Speech and recently published in a French critical edition). One photograph of this group, with the cowboy hat they gifted Foucault, can be found in Didier Eribon’s biography. Another photo, taken a few moments later, is published for the first time in this article. Jonathan is two to Foucault’s left. I say more about the group and what they did and had planned with Foucault in Foucault’s Last Decade.
The article requires subscription, but if you cannot access it, please email me for a copy.