Special Issue "Political Genealogy after Foucault"

A special issue of Genealogy (ISSN 2313-5778).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 June 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Michael Clifford

Department of Philosophy and Religion, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: political philosophy; genealogy; Foucault; political identity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Genealogy is now accepting submissions for a Special Issue on the theme, “Political Genealogy After Foucault.” Inspired by the work of Michel Foucault, this issue invites essays from scholars employing political genealogy as a methodology and model of theoretical inquiry representing a wide range of disciplines, from the social sciences to the humanities, from philosophy to geography to urban studies to cultural theory. The goal of this special issue is to publish some of the best and most current work in political genealogy, showing how this work invites us to rethink many of the key concepts in political theory as well as real ground-level political practice. Broadly conceived, the editorial team is interested in articles which demonstrate how political genealogy helps us to understand what Foucault calls “the history of our present,” while at the same time looking to our future, to what being a political subject will look like in a post-representational world.

Some of the topics that would be appropriate for this special issue include but are not limited to:

  • How and in what ways political genealogy aims, in the words of Nikolas Rose, “to reshape and expand the terms of political debate, enabling different questions to be asked, enlarging the space of legitimate contestation.”
  • Genealogies of cosmopolitanism and post-national identity.
  • Counter-memory as an instrument of political freedom.
  • Genealogy as a method for understanding the new world order (with respect to, for example, globalization, Trumpism, Brexit, neo-populism, the rise of terrorism).
  • Re-thinking, through genealogy, the politics of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • Genealogy and neo-liberalism; genealogy and corporatocracy.
  • Genealogy in practice, with respect to, for example, how governmentality and its institutions affect the lives of real individuals.

Prof. Dr. Michael Clifford
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genealogy is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • foucault
  • political genealogy
  • genealogical methods
  • counter-memory
  • governmentality
  • political identity

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Using Foucault: Genealogy, Governmentality and the Problem of Chronic Illness
Genealogy 2018, 2(2), 13; doi:10.3390/genealogy2020013
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 5 April 2018 / Accepted: 6 April 2018 / Published: 10 April 2018
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Abstract
This article explores the unique contribution that Foucault’s work on genealogy and governmentality can make to the analysis of contemporary programs of government. The article uses an Australian study of the ‘problem’ of chronic illness to argue that this perspective offers valuable insights
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This article explores the unique contribution that Foucault’s work on genealogy and governmentality can make to the analysis of contemporary programs of government. The article uses an Australian study of the ‘problem’ of chronic illness to argue that this perspective offers valuable insights into how ‘problems’ such as chronic illness have become linked to advanced liberal discourses and practices of self-governing and self-responsibility. These insights are particularly valuable in fields such as primary health care that have a noted shortage of critical and reflective studies that explore the links between people and changing ideas of health and disease. This article details how taking up an analytics of governmentality and political genealogy informed by Foucault, facilitated the tracing of the dominant discourses and practices, and the connections to the day-to -day lives of the clients with chronic diseases. Importantly, this approach opened up a more critical consideration of the ways in which dispersed approaches to governing through programs, such as integrated care, shape and influence the lives of individuals. These dispersed ways of governing are not linear but rather unfold through ongoing relays, connections and the (re)production of discourses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Genealogy after Foucault)
Open AccessArticle On the Genealogy of Kitsch and the Critique of Ideology: A Reflection on Method
Genealogy 2018, 2(1), 9; doi:10.3390/genealogy2010009
Received: 17 January 2018 / Revised: 10 February 2018 / Accepted: 11 February 2018 / Published: 17 February 2018
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Abstract
This paper examines similarities and differences between the genealogical approach to social critique and the Marxist critique of ideology. Given the key methodological aspects of Michel Foucault’s genealogy—the fusion of power and discourse and the Nietzschean notion of the aesthetization of life—the paper
[...] Read more.
This paper examines similarities and differences between the genealogical approach to social critique and the Marxist critique of ideology. Given the key methodological aspects of Michel Foucault’s genealogy—the fusion of power and discourse and the Nietzschean notion of the aesthetization of life—the paper argues that Hollywood kitsch maybe interpreted as a new dispositif. A key task of the genealogy of kitsch is to analyze the effects of fake Hollywood narratives: how they form and normalize us, what kind of subjectivities they produce, and what type of social relations they create. La La Land, a 2016 American musical, is discussed as a way of illustration. Theorists of the Frankfurt School also advanced their critiques of the popular culture and its forms of kitsch; yet they followed Marx and his conception of ideology. The paper concludes that the differences between genealogy and the critique of ideology are philosophical. Foucault rejected the Marxist conception of history and the notion of ideology as false consciousness. Kitsch, for a genealogist, is formative rather than repressive; it makes people pursue banal dreams. For a Marxist critic, popular culture as a form of ideology dulls our critical capacities and, therefore, leaves the status quo of alienation intact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Genealogy after Foucault)
Open AccessArticle Emancipating Intellectual Property from Proprietarianism: Drahos, Foucault, and a Quasi-Genealogy of IP
Genealogy 2018, 2(1), 6; doi:10.3390/genealogy2010006
Received: 15 November 2017 / Revised: 10 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
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Abstract
This paper argues that Peter Drahos undertakes a partial Foucauldian genealogy by emancipating intellectual property (IP) from proprietarianism. He demonstrates the dominance of proprietarianism in IP by drawing sample practices from trademark, copyright, and patent laws, and then seeks to displace the proprietarian
[...] Read more.
This paper argues that Peter Drahos undertakes a partial Foucauldian genealogy by emancipating intellectual property (IP) from proprietarianism. He demonstrates the dominance of proprietarianism in IP by drawing sample practices from trademark, copyright, and patent laws, and then seeks to displace the proprietarian dominance with instrumentalism, which reconstitutes IP as a “liberty-intruding privilege.” Ironically, despite doing a genealogy, Drahos does not eradicate sovereignty altogether as Michel Foucault insists, but instead determines IP as a “sovereignty mechanism” that has a “sovereignty effect.” After explaining what Foucauldian genealogy is, the paper will explain how Drahos undertakes a genealogy of IP, while highlighting the limitations of Drahos’ analysis from a Foucauldian perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Genealogy after Foucault)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle On the Political Genealogy of Trump after Foucault
Genealogy 2018, 2(1), 4; doi:10.3390/genealogy2010004
Received: 7 November 2017 / Revised: 7 January 2018 / Accepted: 10 January 2018 / Published: 15 January 2018
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Abstract
How would Foucault have viewed Trump as President, and Trumpism in the US more generally? More realistically, how can we discern and insightfully apply genealogical insights after Foucault to better comprehend and act in relation to our current political situation in the US?
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How would Foucault have viewed Trump as President, and Trumpism in the US more generally? More realistically, how can we discern and insightfully apply genealogical insights after Foucault to better comprehend and act in relation to our current political situation in the US? Questions of factuality across a base register of asserted falsehoods are now prominent in American politics in ways that put assertions of scholarly objectivity and interpretation in yet deeper question than previously. The extent, range, and vitriol of alt-Right assertions and their viral growth in American media provoke progressivist resistance and anxiety, but how can this opposition be most productively channeled? This paper examines a range of critical perspectives, timeframes, and topical optics with respect to Trump and Trumpism, including nationalist, racist, sexist, class-based, and oligarchical dimensions. These are considered in relation to media and the incitement of polarized subjectivity and dividing practices, and also in relation to Marxist political economy, neoliberalism/neoimperialism, and postcolonialism. I then address the limit points of Foucault, including with respect to engaged political activism and social protest movements, and I consider the relevance of these for the diverse optics that political genealogy as a form of analysis might pursue. Notwithstanding and indeed because of the present impetus to take organized political action, a Foucauldian perspective is useful in foregrounding the broader late modern formations of knowledge, power, and subjectivity within which both Rightist and Leftist political sensibilities in the US are presently cast. At larger issue are the values inscribed through contemporary late modernity that inform both sides of present divisive polarities—and which make the prognosis of tipping points or future political outcomes particularly difficult. As such, productive strategies of activist opposition are likely to vary under alternative conditions and opportunities—including in relation to the particular skills, history, and predilection of activists themselves. If the age of reason threatens to be over, the question of how and in what ways critical intellectualism can connect with productive action emerges afresh for each of us in a higher and more personal key. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Genealogy after Foucault)
Open AccessArticle Situating Poligen Studies: Between Moral Enquiry and Political Theory
Genealogy 2018, 2(1), 2; doi:10.3390/genealogy2010002
Received: 13 November 2017 / Revised: 22 December 2017 / Accepted: 24 December 2017 / Published: 27 December 2017
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Abstract
In this article, I argue that we can best appreciate those works that appeal to the notion of “political genealogy” as distinct forms of study by situating them between moral enquiry and political theory. They draw from moral enquiry the concern with how
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In this article, I argue that we can best appreciate those works that appeal to the notion of “political genealogy” as distinct forms of study by situating them between moral enquiry and political theory. They draw from moral enquiry the concern with how we ought to live but are not themselves prescriptive. They address the political constitution of our social lives but not as a theoretical object. Reversing the relation between enquiry and truth, political genealogies are historiographical studies motivated by forms of resistance that expose the will to truth of the present ordering of discourses, thereby releasing the hold such orderings have on what we think, say, and do to their on-going agonistic relations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Genealogy after Foucault)
Open AccessArticle Persons and Sovereigns in Ethical Thought
Genealogy 2017, 1(4), 21; doi:10.3390/genealogy1040021
Received: 18 August 2017 / Revised: 13 November 2017 / Accepted: 16 November 2017 / Published: 20 November 2017
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Abstract
Contemporary concepts of moral personhood prevent us from grappling effectively with contemporary social, political, and moral problems. One way to counter the power of such concepts is to trace their lineage and shifting political investments. This article presents a genealogy of personhood, focusing
[...] Read more.
Contemporary concepts of moral personhood prevent us from grappling effectively with contemporary social, political, and moral problems. One way to counter the power of such concepts is to trace their lineage and shifting political investments. This article presents a genealogy of personhood, focusing on the crisis of both personhood and sovereignty in seventeenth-century England. It demonstrates the optionality of personhood for moral thinking and exposes personhood’s functions in political dividing practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Genealogy after Foucault)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

TitleHeroes and Martyrs: Genealogy, Subjectivity and War in the Twenty-First Century

Abstract:From Ancient Greece to the collapsing Islamic State in the present, the same, timeless protagonists appear and their stories are told and re-told: the heroes and martyrs. This article proposes a genealogical approach, combined with Foucault’s conception of the subject as both constituted in relation to code-oriented moralities, and creatively self-formed in relation to ethics-oriented moralities (1984: 5, 25), to understand how it is possible to speak meaningfully of ‘heroes’ and ‘martyrs’ in the age of the drone. Section one will explore the applicability of genealogy as a means of understanding a history of the present in the context of war. The second section will assess Foucault’s ‘modes of subjectivation’ and ‘practices of the self’ (1984: 28), as a means of understanding the emergence of the ethical subject of war over millennia, before applying them to soldiers, jihadists and drone operators today. Then the third section will consider how a genealogical approach and the emergence of the ethical subject of war combine to enable ‘heroes’ and ‘martyrs’ to be spoken of and understood today. The purpose of such a study is to better understand how the ethical subject of war has emerged over time, and continues to be claimed and valorized by the state and political leaders in pursuit of political ends.

TitleGoverning through Community: The Australian Assistance Plan in the 1970s

Abstract: Appeals to ‘the local’ and to ‘planning for people’ can have unintended consequences that serve to strengthen the power of the state. In 1973, the Australian Labor government under the leadership of Gough Whitlam instituted the Australian Assistance Plan, heralded as a visionary experiment in cooperative participatory behaviour. Under the Plan, government funded community centres and regional councils were to be places where the knowledge of local residents would be considered and valued alongside the ideas of local planning authorities, state and federal public servants. The training and employment of a new cadre of ‘community workers’ and new community organisational structures provided a focus for other ‘activist identities’ to have a legitimate space and role in governance. Discourses of empowerment, participation, community services, community development and community management, sensitive to locality, became salient in the Australian social welfare landscape. The reading of this initiative presented in this paper argues that, in contrast to stated intentions, these new vocations and expert discourses can be read as examples of Foucauldian governmentality—where practices of resistance, critique and dissent were drawn into new governing patterns—arguably, strengthening state directed interventions in the social welfare landscape, rather than local, decentred approaches.

Title: The Political Genealogy of Dance

Abstract: This essay provides the very first genealogical critique of the history and modernity of dance. In doing so it aims to establish the political importance of dance as an art not principally of the body and its biopolitical capacities for movement, but of images and imagination. It traces the development of dance as an art of imagination, lost and buried in the works of Domenico da Piacenza, Jean-Georges Noverre and Loie Fuller, as well as its counter-movement expressed in the work of Rudolf Laban. It also locates contemporary dance within this political conflict by exploring new works, especially those of Ivana Muller, which call upon beholders to use their imaginations through the evocation of histories and memories. Such works can be understood to be deeply political, it will argue, because they work to transform society by creating time for a belief in the impossible. At its best, dance does not simply incite bodies to move but suspends movement, transforming the very image of what a body is capable of. These aims and practices of dance speak to contemporary concerns within political practice, theory and philosophy for a reawakening of political imagination in times of crisis and neoliberal hegemony.

Title: Foucault and Foucault: Following in Pierre Menard’s Footsteps

Abstract: In his short story Pierre Menard, autor del Quijote Borges describes the extraordinary and paradoxical feat of an imaginary twentieth-century French writer who re-composes, as it were, part of Cervantes’ early modern masterpiece. Borges’ duplication of the text of the Quijote is meant to give narrative shape to the acknowledgement that a text acquires different meanings in different epochs. This essay first sets Borges’ approach to the construction of the past within a lineage of authors, which harks back to Nietzsche and points to Foucauldian genealogies. It then renews the endeavour of Borges’ character Menard, as it reproduces significant portions of Foucault’s 1971 paper Nietzsche, la généalogie, l’histoire. Whilst the selections of the Foucauldian text are not simply rewritten, as they are given a new English translation, they are also recombined and reconsidered in the light of our contemporary cultural and political context, which underwent significant changes during the apparently short span of time that separates us from the composition of Foucault’s seminal work.

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