The publication of Michel Foucault's Lectures at the Collège de France, 1983-84 in English will be complete in April 2011 and his first Collège de France lecture course, La Volunté de Savoir will be published for the first time in February. The Centre for Cultural Studies Research at the University of East London is holding a one-day conference on Friday, September 9th, 2011 which will re-assess Foucault's contribution to radical thought and the application of his ideas to contemporary politics. What does it mean to draw on Foucault as a resource for radical politics, and how are we to understand the politics which implicitly informs his work?
Many commentators today would seem to claim Foucault as the theorist of a politics which eschews all utopian ambition in favour of a certain governmental pragmatism, while others would claim him for a rigorous but ultimately rather simple libertarianism: can either of these positions ever be adequate to the radicalism of Foucault’s analyses? Does it matter?
What is the significance of Foucault’s ideas of ‘governmentality’ and ‘biopolitics’ in understanding his later oeuvre and its implications; do either of these terms deserve to carry the weight attributed to them by some commentators? What is the ongoing relevance of Foucault’s account of disciplinarity: is, it, as Lazzarato has claimed, a historical category no longer fully applicable to contemporary forms of power?
How can Foucauldian ideas be brought bear on the analysis of austerity politics? Is there a role for Foucault's ideas in formulating effective resistance to the increasing erosion of civil liberties that operates both within countries and across state boundaries? Can the notion of bio-power account for contemporary forms of racism? How can Foucauldian epistemology enable an understanding of the biopolitics of contemporary scientific discourse?
Stuart Elden, Professor in the Department of Geography, Durham University.
Mark Kelly, Lecturer in Philosophy, Middlesex University.
Abstracts of no more than 350 words are invited, to arrive no later than Tuesday, 1st March 2011. Subjects may include, but are not limited to:
Foucauldian thought and contemporary subjectivation
Foucault and other thinkers
Governmentality and everyday life
Strategic discourses of war and terror
New technologies of the self
Foucault and new forms of resistance
Heterotopias now and in the future
Foucault and the erosion of the state
Disciplinary society and the society of control
Foucault, British politics and the 'big society'
Foucault, post-Fordism and post-democracy
Email abstracts to Jeremy Gilbert (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Debra Benita Shaw (email@example.com).