Foucault Must Not be Defended

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This paper responds to and comments on many of the themes of the book under consideration concerning Foucault and neoliberalism. In doing so, it offers reflections on the relation between the habitus of the intellectual and the political contexts of action and engagement in the case of Foucault, and the strengths and weaknesses of his characterization of his work in terms of an “experimental” ethos. It argues that it is possible to identify his distinctive views on neoliberalism as a programmatic ideal, as a language of critique of the postwar welfare state, and as an element within actual political forces such as the French “Second Left” of the 1970s. It examines the legacy of Foucault in “governmentality studies” and argues for attentiveness to the different intellectual positions, and their potentially divergent political consequences, within this school of thought. It concludes by suggesting that the discussion currently taking place, and in part inaugurated by this book, might signal a change of his status in the humanities and social sciences today from “unsurpassable horizon” of critical thought to acknowledged classical thinker, with strengths and limitations, and a series of problems that might not be our own.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHistory and Theory
Volume54
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)389-403
Number of pages15
ISSN0018-2656
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Cite this

Dean, Mitchell. / Foucault Must Not be Defended. In: History and Theory. 2015 ; Vol. 54, No. 3. pp. 389-403.
@article{fb35ad8278d84a73a63cace4a521bdec,
title = "Foucault Must Not be Defended",
abstract = "This paper responds to and comments on many of the themes of the book under consideration concerning Foucault and neoliberalism. In doing so, it offers reflections on the relation between the habitus of the intellectual and the political contexts of action and engagement in the case of Foucault, and the strengths and weaknesses of his characterization of his work in terms of an “experimental” ethos. It argues that it is possible to identify his distinctive views on neoliberalism as a programmatic ideal, as a language of critique of the postwar welfare state, and as an element within actual political forces such as the French “Second Left” of the 1970s. It examines the legacy of Foucault in “governmentality studies” and argues for attentiveness to the different intellectual positions, and their potentially divergent political consequences, within this school of thought. It concludes by suggesting that the discussion currently taking place, and in part inaugurated by this book, might signal a change of his status in the humanities and social sciences today from “unsurpassable horizon” of critical thought to acknowledged classical thinker, with strengths and limitations, and a series of problems that might not be our own.",
keywords = "Foucault, Neoliberalism, Marxism, Governmentality, Politics, Critique, Ethos, Habitus",
author = "Mitchell Dean",
year = "2015",
doi = "10.1111/hith.10767",
language = "English",
volume = "54",
pages = "389--403",
journal = "History and Theory",
issn = "0018-2656",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "3",

}

Foucault Must Not be Defended. / Dean, Mitchell.

In: History and Theory, Vol. 54, No. 3, 2015, p. 389-403.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Foucault Must Not be Defended

AU - Dean, Mitchell

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - This paper responds to and comments on many of the themes of the book under consideration concerning Foucault and neoliberalism. In doing so, it offers reflections on the relation between the habitus of the intellectual and the political contexts of action and engagement in the case of Foucault, and the strengths and weaknesses of his characterization of his work in terms of an “experimental” ethos. It argues that it is possible to identify his distinctive views on neoliberalism as a programmatic ideal, as a language of critique of the postwar welfare state, and as an element within actual political forces such as the French “Second Left” of the 1970s. It examines the legacy of Foucault in “governmentality studies” and argues for attentiveness to the different intellectual positions, and their potentially divergent political consequences, within this school of thought. It concludes by suggesting that the discussion currently taking place, and in part inaugurated by this book, might signal a change of his status in the humanities and social sciences today from “unsurpassable horizon” of critical thought to acknowledged classical thinker, with strengths and limitations, and a series of problems that might not be our own.

AB - This paper responds to and comments on many of the themes of the book under consideration concerning Foucault and neoliberalism. In doing so, it offers reflections on the relation between the habitus of the intellectual and the political contexts of action and engagement in the case of Foucault, and the strengths and weaknesses of his characterization of his work in terms of an “experimental” ethos. It argues that it is possible to identify his distinctive views on neoliberalism as a programmatic ideal, as a language of critique of the postwar welfare state, and as an element within actual political forces such as the French “Second Left” of the 1970s. It examines the legacy of Foucault in “governmentality studies” and argues for attentiveness to the different intellectual positions, and their potentially divergent political consequences, within this school of thought. It concludes by suggesting that the discussion currently taking place, and in part inaugurated by this book, might signal a change of his status in the humanities and social sciences today from “unsurpassable horizon” of critical thought to acknowledged classical thinker, with strengths and limitations, and a series of problems that might not be our own.

KW - Foucault

KW - Neoliberalism

KW - Marxism

KW - Governmentality

KW - Politics

KW - Critique

KW - Ethos

KW - Habitus

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=954925241045

U2 - 10.1111/hith.10767

DO - 10.1111/hith.10767

M3 - Journal article

VL - 54

SP - 389

EP - 403

JO - History and Theory

JF - History and Theory

SN - 0018-2656

IS - 3

ER -