Reading Foucault

Not only have these exchanges been increasingly offensive, they have also
been often poorly informed.

The question as to whether Foucault is a philosopher is, of course,
discussed in much of the literature. The point is presumably that he was not
_just_ a philosopher, and that the kind of philosopher he was is not the
sort many would recognise as such - i.e. look at his reception in Anglophone
philosophy departments. For me, that's why he's so interesting.

The Foucault dictionary given as a weblink, whilst perhaps useful as an
initial step, is hardly indicative of an advanced knowledge of his work.
There are some very crude generalisations and misleading suggestions. The
entries on bio-power are, for example, extremely limited in their scope and
understanding. Perhaps that helps explain some of the other comments flying

>Let me most of all say, that Michel Foucault has
>never, absolutely never dealed with any questions of
>nation, nationalism and so on ,these were never among
>his problems. never.

I think Nathan is correct to suggest that biopower is precisely about these
kinds of issues, but if you need it spelled out in really explicit form then
read Il faut defendre la societe - not the course summary, but the full
course, which is currently available in French. Race, war, nationality,
nationalism, revolution, constitution... it's all there, and much much more.
A much diluted form is found in the last chapter of the first volume of the
History of Sexuality, but only in the contemporaneous course do we find the
much fuller explication.

More broadly, until every one of Foucault's lecture courses is published,
and until whoever turns out to be his Max Brod unearths everyone of of his
laundry lists, how can any of us give a final opinion on what was, or what
was not, among his problems? And even then?


Partial thread listing: