Next Article in Journal / Special Issue
Problematizing the Chinese Experience in America
Previous Article in Journal
Genealogy: Inaugural Editorial
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Genealogy 2017, 1(1), 2;

The End of a Line: Care of the Self in Modern Political Thought

Department of Government and International Relations, and Department of Philosophy, The University of Sydney, Camperdown NSW 2006, Australia
Academic Editor: Philip Kretsedemas
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 6 December 2016 / Accepted: 6 December 2016 / Published: 13 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue What is Genealogy?)
Full-Text   |   PDF [210 KB, uploaded 26 December 2016]


This article examines the reasons why Foucault thought that morality based on the care of the self died out in the modern age. I pay special attention to his contention that modern political thought was a key player in bringing about this demise. The essay consists of two parts. In Part One, I overview Foucault’s conception of the care of the self and situate it within his later work on ancient philosophy and culture. In Part Two, I turn to his remarks on the incompatibility between the ancient tradition of the care of the self and an ascendant modern political philosophy based on the notions of rights and the juridical subject. To conclude, I suggest that while Foucault may have overstated this compatibility he opened the door to consider how the care of the self could be taken up in the context of modern and contemporary political theory. View Full-Text
Keywords: Foucault; care of the self; political theory; rights; human rights Foucault; care of the self; political theory; rights; human rights
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Lefebvre, A. The End of a Line: Care of the Self in Modern Political Thought. Genealogy 2017, 1, 2.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Genealogy EISSN 2313-5778 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top