'Critique will be the art of voluntary inservitude': Foucault, La Boetie and the Problem of Power.

Newman, Saul. 2015. 'Critique will be the art of voluntary inservitude': Foucault, La Boetie and the Problem of Power. In: S. Fuggle; Y. Lanci and M. Tazzioli, eds. Foucault and the History of Our Present. UK: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 58-73. ISBN 978-1137385918 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

One of the more seemingly problematic areas of Foucault’s thought is on the question of freedom. What place does freedom have in Foucault’s thought; how might it be understood? If ‘power is everywhere’, if it is coextensive with all social relations, if it is to be found in everyday interactions between individuals, then what room is left for freedom? How can spaces for freedom be reconciled with the ubiquity of power relations, with the apparent omnipresence of disciplinary constraints, forms of power/knowledge which construct individuals as subjects, and with governmental rationalities aimed at normalising behaviour? Foucault sees freedom as a kind of ‘game’ played with power, as a series of strategic moves that can take place within certain limits set by power. However, if this is the case, it would seem to offer only limited opportunities for freedom. Freedom, and the possibilities of resisting power, would seem to be produced by, or at least realised through, the operation of power itself, and are therefore always constrained by it.

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Foucault, La Boetie, freedom

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Date Deposited:

16 Jul 2018 11:12

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:47



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