Introduction
Theatre, performance, Foucault
in Foucault’s theatres
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The introduction sets out the rationale of the book, and specifically unfolds its core aim, that of examining the ongoing influence of Michel Foucault to contemporary theatre and performance scholarship, simultaneously examining how theatricality enters Foucault’s own critical and philosophical practice. Discovering a ‘theatrical Foucault’ enables a reassessment of the political and ethical importance of his approach to questions of truth, governmentality, and critique. Of specific import to the introduction is the notion that shifting the critical gaze is a theatrical endeavour, one that is central to Foucault’s performance as a public intellectual and salient critic of contemporary life. The introduction proposes that the present political context makes it ever more urgent to analyse the theatrical and performative structures of power and knowledge, so as to rearticulate ways of cultivating forms of resistance and practices of autonomy. It is not paradoxical, the chapter argues, for Foucault’s own work to play with language and rhetorical style, just as he examines the aesthetic dimensions of historical and contemporary modes of subject formation.

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