What's Left of Philosophy

In What’s Left of Philosophy Gil Morejón (@gdmorejon), Lillian Cicerchia (@lilcicerch), Owen Glyn-Williams (@oglynwil), and William Paris (@williammparis) discuss philosophy’s radical histories and contemporary political theory. Philosophy isn't dead, but what's left? Support us at patreon.com/leftofphilosophy

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episode 24: 24 Teaser | What's Left of Foucault?


In this episode, the crew takes on a beloved figure of the academic ‘left’: Michel Foucault. The discussion gravitates around Foucault’s work in the early 1970’s on the ‘punitive society’, power as civil war, and popular rebellion. This post-‘68 period of his life and work is often seen as his most politically ‘radical’, both because of his activist involvement in the Prisons Information Group (GIP) and because he directly engages with Marxist discourse and thought. Nevertheless, the conversation quickly turns skeptical (to put it mildly). We question both the explanatory power and the political stakes of his historical studies: What is the principle of connection between the often remote historical discourses and events he examines and present conditions of life? What are the consequences of rejecting causal explanations of historical development? Above all, how salient and clarifying are his histories for emancipatory struggles in the present? We try to answer these questions, while poking a bit of fun at our Foucauldian friends and comrades. Oh and we talk about the CIA’s alleged awareness of the increasing hegemony of French theory in the academic left—apparently they loved that for us.

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References:

Michel Foucault, Penal Theories and Institutions: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1971-1972, ed. Bernard E. Harcourt et. al., trans. Graham Burchell (New York: Picador)

Michel Foucault, The Punitive Society: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1972-1973, ed. Bernard E. Harcourt, trans. Graham Burchell (New York: Palgrave MacMillan)

Music: Vintage Memories by Schematist | schematist.bandcamp.com


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 2021-11-05  23m