Michel Foucault and the Forces of Civil Society

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Resumé

Michel Foucault has been presented as a unequivocal defender of civil society. He was particularly sensitive to diversity and marginality, aligned with local activism and bottom-up politics. This article re-assesses this view by demonstrating that despite his political militancy, Foucault never viewed civil society as an inherently progressive force. It traces Foucault’s struggle against his own enthusiasm for anti-institutional and anti-rationalist political movements. Inventing the notion of ‘transactional reality’, Foucault escaped the choice between naturalism and ideology critique, presenting civil society as a ‘reality that does not exist’ but still has real effects. This new reality holds contradictory potentials. When articulated by political eschatology, civil society supports prophecies of the end of politics in a final accord where contradictions dissolve and the community absorbs the state. Neoliberal notions of civil society promise, on Foucault’s account, a more open-ended milieu of subject formation.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftTheory, Culture & Society
Vol/bind33
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)3-26
Antal sider24
ISSN0263-2764
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2016

Emneord

  • Biopolitics
  • Civil society
  • Michel Foucault
  • Ideology
  • Political eschatology
  • The state

Citer dette

@article{89ccf782996746779076f34d6e3b7b35,
title = "Michel Foucault and the Forces of Civil Society",
abstract = "Michel Foucault has been presented as a unequivocal defender of civil society. He was particularly sensitive to diversity and marginality, aligned with local activism and bottom-up politics. This article re-assesses this view by demonstrating that despite his political militancy, Foucault never viewed civil society as an inherently progressive force. It traces Foucault’s struggle against his own enthusiasm for anti-institutional and anti-rationalist political movements. Inventing the notion of ‘transactional reality’, Foucault escaped the choice between naturalism and ideology critique, presenting civil society as a ‘reality that does not exist’ but still has real effects. This new reality holds contradictory potentials. When articulated by political eschatology, civil society supports prophecies of the end of politics in a final accord where contradictions dissolve and the community absorbs the state. Neoliberal notions of civil society promise, on Foucault’s account, a more open-ended milieu of subject formation.",
keywords = "Biopolitics, Civil society, Michel Foucault, Ideology, Political eschatology , The state",
author = "Kaspar Villadsen",
year = "2016",
doi = "10.1177/0263276415581895",
language = "English",
volume = "33",
pages = "3--26",
journal = "Theory, Culture & Society",
issn = "0263-2764",
publisher = "Sage Journals",
number = "3",

}

Michel Foucault and the Forces of Civil Society. / Villadsen, Kaspar.

I: Theory, Culture & Society, Bind 33, Nr. 3, 2016, s. 3-26.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Michel Foucault and the Forces of Civil Society

AU - Villadsen, Kaspar

PY - 2016

Y1 - 2016

N2 - Michel Foucault has been presented as a unequivocal defender of civil society. He was particularly sensitive to diversity and marginality, aligned with local activism and bottom-up politics. This article re-assesses this view by demonstrating that despite his political militancy, Foucault never viewed civil society as an inherently progressive force. It traces Foucault’s struggle against his own enthusiasm for anti-institutional and anti-rationalist political movements. Inventing the notion of ‘transactional reality’, Foucault escaped the choice between naturalism and ideology critique, presenting civil society as a ‘reality that does not exist’ but still has real effects. This new reality holds contradictory potentials. When articulated by political eschatology, civil society supports prophecies of the end of politics in a final accord where contradictions dissolve and the community absorbs the state. Neoliberal notions of civil society promise, on Foucault’s account, a more open-ended milieu of subject formation.

AB - Michel Foucault has been presented as a unequivocal defender of civil society. He was particularly sensitive to diversity and marginality, aligned with local activism and bottom-up politics. This article re-assesses this view by demonstrating that despite his political militancy, Foucault never viewed civil society as an inherently progressive force. It traces Foucault’s struggle against his own enthusiasm for anti-institutional and anti-rationalist political movements. Inventing the notion of ‘transactional reality’, Foucault escaped the choice between naturalism and ideology critique, presenting civil society as a ‘reality that does not exist’ but still has real effects. This new reality holds contradictory potentials. When articulated by political eschatology, civil society supports prophecies of the end of politics in a final accord where contradictions dissolve and the community absorbs the state. Neoliberal notions of civil society promise, on Foucault’s account, a more open-ended milieu of subject formation.

KW - Biopolitics

KW - Civil society

KW - Michel Foucault

KW - Ideology

KW - Political eschatology

KW - The state

UR - http://sfx-45cbs.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/45cbs?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&url_ctx_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&ctx_enc=info:ofi/enc:UTF-8&ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&rfr_id=info:sid/sfxit.com:azlist&sfx.ignore_date_threshold=1&rft.object_id=954925498076&rft.object_portfolio_id=&svc.holdings=yes&svc.fulltext=yes

U2 - 10.1177/0263276415581895

DO - 10.1177/0263276415581895

M3 - Journal article

VL - 33

SP - 3

EP - 26

JO - Theory, Culture & Society

JF - Theory, Culture & Society

SN - 0263-2764

IS - 3

ER -