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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.

Mark Robson

What does it mean to think of the work of Michel Foucault in terms of what I am calling here critical dramaturgy? There might appear to be a certain redundancy in underlining the critical, since from as early as Lessing’s Hamburgische Dramaturgie (1767–79), the critical dimension of dramaturgy has been insistently reinforced. For Lessing

in Foucault’s theatres
Mark Jordan

Foucault often writes at the edge of some stage. He calls up stagecraft to describe violent displays of royal power or the oldest rituals of Christian temptation and repentance. Theatres help him to explicate what he means by ‘heterotopia’ or suggest other coinages to him (‘Ubu-power’, ‘alethurgy’). Struck by what seems to him obvious, he can

in Foucault’s theatres
A poststructuralist moral theory for the twenty-first century
Author: Mark Olssen

To understand how subjects are constructed socially and historically in terms of power, and how they act through power on others and on themselves, but not to see this as a purely random process or activity where ‘anything goes’, or conversely, portray ethical actions in terms of fixed universal rules or specified teleological ends, constitutes the objective of this book. What a normative Foucault can offer us, I claim, is a critical ethics of the present that is well and truly beyond Kant, Hegel. and Marx, and which can guide action and conduct for the twenty-first century.

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
Mark Olssen

Foucault’s critique of Marx and Hegel Foucault stood steadfastly opposed to Marxist or Hegelian conceptions of politics. While he manifested strong ideals of justice and equality, his strong antipathy to Hegel meant that Marx’s Hegelian view of history and method could not be countenanced. I have outlined Foucault’s orientations to Marxism in other writings, so let me here only add some more recent material and thoughts, in as much as they are relevant for the issue of ethics and normativity. The first thing to say is that Foucault’s opposition to Hegel and

in Constructing Foucault’s ethics
Mark Olssen

Foucault as anti-normative Listen, listen … How difficult it is! I am not a prophet; I am not an organiser; I don’t want to tell people what they should do. I am not going to tell them, ‘This is good for you, this is bad for you!’ (Foucault, 2016c : 137) The role of an intellectual is not to tell others what they must do. By what right would he do so? … The work of the intellectual is … to re-examine evidence and assumptions, to shake up habitual ways of thinking, to dissipate conventional familiarities, to re-evaluate rules and institutions … to

in Constructing Foucault’s ethics
Abstract only
Musical timekeeping and the security.state
Steve Potter

chapter I argue that John Cage’s musical practice should be seen in terms of a general aesthetic economy that governs relationships among writer, text, conductor, performers, and audience in a distinct way. Furthermore, this general aesthetic economy is ambivalent in the way that it governs, which we can observe by noting its parallels to two techniques of power that Foucault, in

in Foucault’s theatres
Kélina Gotman

] there are things that I will not be able to tell you. Too bad. Punished! 1 This chapter seeks to read Foucault’s lectures on Oedipus the King , delivered in the first four weeks of his course ‘On the Government of the Living’ at the Collège de France in 1979–80, in a manner that performs alēthourgia , the

in Foucault’s theatres
Joel M. Dodson

 196 11 Foucault, confession, and Donne Joel M. Dodson This chapter reconsiders Michel Foucault’s critique of confession in order to examine, in slightly broader yet more methodological terms, what exactly we mean by negotiating ‘confessional’ conflict in late Reformation English literature. My aim is to use Foucault to re-​think Foucault:  to read Foucault’s later lectures on the ‘care of the self ’ as an alternate model for historicizing doctrinal affiliation in late Tudor and early Stuart literature rather than the penal or penitential vocabulary elaborated

in Forms of faith