RE: Subjects

Hi Mariana,

I've been working for the last couple of years on writing as a technique of the self, an idea which you find dealt with explicitly in the later foucault (mostly only schematically in the hist. of sex. series, but much more fleshed out in the lectures/interviews of the last four or five years of his life - you can find an excellent collection of representative lectures/interviews in the 'collected works of foucault' vol 1. - ethics).

the work on the self, in these later writings, illustrates the self-referential aspect of governance, where governing comprises (a) governing of others and (b) governing of the self by the self.

Although this idea of the governing of the self by the self might appear to be quite a 'late' development in F's thought, you can already find traces of it in 'madness and civilization' and 'the order of things', where foucault explicitly identified literature (in particular the work of de Sade, Holderlin, Artaud) as counter-discourse (i.e. as a possible locus of retaining the freedom of governing oneself within the greater sphere of governance). even in 'the birth of the clinic', literature is given a very prominent role as an exercise of self-governance with which the subject keeps a strategic distance from the medical gaze. this is even more fully developed in 'the order of things', where there's a very stimulating discussion of the relationship between the madman and the poet.

these are just a few ideas, simply to note that F's dealing with the self-constituting subject (and therefore the exercise of freedom understood as self-imposed discipline) is not restrited exclusively to his later 'ethical' writings, but is a concern which runs through the various transformations of his work.

hope this helps.


Reply-To: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Wed, 9 Jul 2003 10:00:41 -0300

>Hi Ali,
>that's a good point you make. It's very difficult for me to think about
>freedom that way. That's why I was asking, not to read Foucault the way I
>think, but to understand what he really means.
> Now I'm going to rethink things in those terms. I've got new questions
>but maybe I'll find an answer as I develop these ideas.
> I need to read more Foucault, considering I've only read
>-Technologies of the Self: A Seminar With Michel Foucault;
>-The History of Sexuality: Volume 1, an Introduction;
>-The History of Sexuality: Volume 2, The Use of Pleasure;
>-The History of Sexuality: Volume 3, The Care of The Self;
>-A verdade e as formas juridicas.
> Knowing that and bearing in mind that I'm interested in the relation
>between the subjects and freedom, what should I read next? any suggestions?
>Best regards,
>-----Mensaje original-----
>De: owner-foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>[mailto:owner-foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]En nombre de Ali Rizvi
>Enviado el: Martes, 08 de Julio de 2003 08:35 p.m.
>Para: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>Asunto: Re: Subjects
>I think it is a problematic issue only if we take an old view of
>freedom to
>our heart. A view of freedom which counterpose freedom to limits.
>However, I
>believe, Foucuault is working with an entirely different and a new
>conception of freedom where limits are considered as the condition of
>freedom and not necessarily hinderence to it.[And I believe Foucault took
>this conception of freedom from Heidegger] Only cenrtain constellations of
>limits produce domination not limits per se. That is why analysis must be
>concrete and historically specific.
>About books I am not sure but Foucault's own books are a starting
>point. May
>be if you have not read Foucualt before start with Foucault Reader.
>Best luck.
>----Original Message Follows----
>From: Mariana Intagliata <intagliata@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>Reply-To: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>To: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>Subject: Subjects
>Date: Tue, 8 Jul 2003 09:04:18 -0300
>Any thoughts on how to reconcile the subject that's a product of the
>technologies of power with the self creating subject of the technologies of
>the self? any books that you can recommend on the matter? is it a
>problematic issue or not?
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