Saturday, November 25, 2023

Foucault and the obvious, again and again, and again.

From an academic who found this interesting.  

There has been a lot of debate about Michel Foucault’s political orientation. He himself seemed quite content that readers found it hard to place him on a conventional left-right spectrum. But where did he stand, in the end?

I have been thinking a lot about this question. Foucault always subscribed to a number of social projects. And in his texts he was talking to readers in an ongoing transformative process. Over the past year I edited his 1971–1972 lectures at the Collège de France, together with Bernard Harcourt, and it became clear to me that his thinking revolved around the idea of change, of transformation, of individuals and collectives. In the stale climate of the 1960s we thought the transformation could occur only through literature and art. And in the early 1970s, when things were opening up, Foucault thought that social change was possible merely by changing a small number of very important relations of power — for example, the prison system. But already in 1976 he realized that this project of social change was a failure, and that people are much more easily mobilized by religious motives or nationalistic ones. The great movements weren’t social. He didn’t give up on his project of social change. But it had gotten more complicated.

The aristocratic critique of bourgeois democracy and moralism. click on the tags 

What’s on the menu?” asks Kissinger, and I can barely restrain myself from shrieking, “What’s on the menu, Henry? Would that be Operation Menu?

Liberals are idiots. Optimists are first optimists about themselves. The demimonde is always full of monarchists, etc. etc. But Ewald seems sort of grotesque.

The coverage of the Palestinian experience in the American press has never been this open. 

I got a laugh saying the fact that Bella Hadid exists is more important than anything Edward Said ever wrote. It's called naturalism. 

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