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Foucault interviewed by Moriaki Watanabe
Robert Bononno
Michel Foucault

speech [ discours ]? Michel Foucault: It’s a very important question. Western philosophy has rarely shown any interest in theatre since its condemnation by Plato. We had to wait until Nietzsche for the question of the relation between philosophy and theatre to be asked again of Western philosophy in all its acuity. I feel there’s a connection between

in Foucault’s theatres

This edited collection is the first to engage directly with Foucault’s thought on theatre and with the theatricality of his thought. Michel Foucault was not only one of the most controversial and provocative thinkers of the twentieth century, he was also one of its most inventive and penetrating researchers. Notoriously hard to pin down, his work evades easy categorisation – philosopher, historian of ‘systems of thought’, ‘radical journalist’ ‒ Foucault was all of these things, and so much more. In what some see as a post-critical landscape, the book forcefully argues for the urgency and currency of Foucauldian critique, a method that lends itself to theatrical ways of thinking: how do we understand the scenes and dramaturgies of knowledge and truth? How can theatre help understand the critical shifts that characterised Foucault’s preoccupation with the gaze and the scenographies of power? Above all, what makes Foucault’s work compelling comes down to the question he repeatedly asked: ‘What are we at the present time?’ The book offers a range of provocative essays that think about this question in two ways: first, in terms of Foucault’s self-fashioning – the way he plays the role of public intellectual through journalism and his many public interviews, the dramaturgy of his thinking, and the appeal to theatrical tropes in his work; and, second, to think about theatre and performance scholarship through Foucault’s critical approaches to truth, power, knowledge, history, governmentality, economy, and space, among others, as these continue to shape contemporary political, ethical, and aesthetic concerns.

The structure/agency debate has been among the central issues in discussions of social theory. It has been widely assumed that the key theoretical task is to find a link between social structures and acting human beings to reconcile the macro with the micro, society and the individual. This book considers a general movement in which the collective concepts established by the early pioneers of modern sociological thought have been reconsidered in the light of both theoretical critique and empirical results. It argues that the contemporary sociological preoccupation with structure and agency has had disastrous effects on the understanding of Karl Marx's ideas. Through a critical evaluation of 'structuration theory' as a purported synthesis of 'structure and agency', the book also argues that the whole idea of a structure-and-agency 'problem' mythologises the fracture lines that do run through relatively recent sociological thought. Michel Foucault's ideas were used to both shore up existing positions in sociology and to instantiate (or solve) the 'new' structure-agency 'problem'. Foucault allowed sociologists to conduct 'business as usual' between the demise of structuralism and the contemporary consensus around Pierre Bourdieu-Anthony Giddens-Jurgen Habermas and the structure-agency dualisms. Habermas is one of the most prominent figures in contemporary social theory.

Author: Thomas Osborne

This book is concerned with the scope of cultural theory in its modern, it might even be said in its modernist, form. The three thinkers under most consideration in the book are Theodor Adorno, Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu, who might hardly be seen as representatives of cultural theory per se if that enterprise is taken to be what it should often taken to be. The book starts with Adorno (1903-1969) not just because his work is an apt way to introduce further some very basic themes of the book: in particular those of critical autonomy and educationality. Adorno's reflections on art and culture are contributions to the ethical understanding of autonomy, emphasising the importance of the cultivation of critical reflection. The argument here is that he is, rather, an ethico-critical theorist of democracy and a philosopher of hope. The book then situates the work of Michel Foucault (1926-1984), in other ways so different from Adorno, in terms of a broadly, if minimally, parallel agenda in modern cultural theory. It outlines some of the importance of Foucault's notion of an 'aesthetics of existence' in relation to his work as a whole. It further invokes related themes in the work of Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002). Finally, it moves things in a different direction, towards postmodernism, invoking the increasing role of the cultural and aesthetic dimension in contemporary experience that is often taken as a central aspect of the postmodern turn.

Tracey Nicholls

A decade ago, just out of graduate school, I published an article exploring questions of the politics of representation in jazz criticism in which I argued that, in some contexts, ‘the death of the author’ actually promotes the abuse of cultural power that Michel Foucault objected to in his 1969 lecture Qu’est-ce qu’un auteur? , later published

in Foucault’s theatres
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Theatre, performance, Foucault
Tony Fisher and Kélina Gotman

Michel Foucault , ‘ La scène de la philosophie ’, interview with M. Watanabe, 22 April 1978, Sekai (July 1978), 312–32; reprinted in Daniel Defert and François Ewald with Jacques Lagrange (eds), Dits et écrits 1954–1988 , 2 vols. ( Paris : Éditions Gallimard , 2001 ), 2 (1976–88): pp. 571 – 95 (p. 572

in Foucault’s theatres
Allison Cavanagh and Alex Dennis

and ‘welfare’) – and today’s theoretical doldrums. Many sociologists used Michel Foucault’s ideas to supplement, and then replace, the left-structuralist consensus of the 1970s and 1980s, and, we will suggest, his reception and adaptation over this period allowed for the transition from one perspective to another to be achieved in an apparently less haphazard manner. Foucault, for thinkers like Stuart Hall, complemented and later superseded the works of Althusser and Gramsci, while for others (e.g. Silverman, 1985), his perspective bridged the structure

in Human agents and social structures
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World politics and popular culture
Jack Holland

implications of popular culture’s historical (and continued) marginalisation. In order to make an overarching argument against the historical disassociation of popular culture and world politics, the chapter is structured in three parts. First, it begins by considering how and why it is that popular culture has so frequently been excluded from the study of world politics. To do this, the chapter traces a critical historiography of the study of world politics, mindful of the insights of Michel Foucault, Robert Cox, and Thomas Kuhn. Knowledge and power exist in a nexus

in Fictional television and American Politics
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Thomas Osborne

Ethics and educationality – Disciplinarity – Principles of reading – Theory and detachment – Problematics – Reconstructing modern cultural theory – Adorno, Foucault, Bourdieu This book is concerned with the scope of cultural theory in its modern – it might even be said in its modernist – form. This introductory chapter considers what this concern might mean, and why it might be of interest. Ethics and educationality The three thinkers under most consideration in the pages that follow – Theodor Adorno, Michel Foucault and Pierre

in The structure of modern cultural theory
The theatre of madness
Stuart Elden

The names of Michel Foucault and William Shakespeare are linked in many ways. Following the influence of new historicism, Foucault has had a significant impact in Shakespeare studies. Many themes in Foucault’s work, from power, sexuality, madness, disease, and government, resonate with aspects of Shakespeare’s plays. The potential for using

in Foucault’s theatres