Power, labour power and productive force in Foucault’s reading of Capital

This article uses Foucault’s lecture courses to illuminate his reading of Marx’s Capital in Discipline and Punish. Foucault finds in Marx’s account of cooperation a precedent for his own approach to power. In turn, Foucault helps us rethink the concepts of productive force and labor-power in Marx. Foucault is shown to be particularly interested in one of Marx’s major themes in Capital, parts III-IV: the subsumption of labor under capital. In Discipline and Punish and The Punitive Society, Foucault offers a genealogy of the forms of labor-power (Arbeitskraft) and productive force (Produktivkraft). One of his central problems is to understand how labor power is converted into productive force and how, prior to that, productive subjects who can properly bear and dispose of their labor power are formed. Foucault’s reading of Capital resonates with those currents of Marx’s interpretation today that seek to repoliticize the concept of productive force and to offer a materialist account of subject formation.


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How birth shapes human existence

Many classic existentialists— Albert Camus, Simone de Beauvoir, Martin Heidegger—thought that we should confront our mortality and that human existence is fundamentally shaped by the fact that we will die. But human beings do not only die. We are also born. Once we acknowledge that birth, as well as death, shapes human existence, existentialism starts to look different. The outlines of natal existentialism appear.

Let’s look at this first in relation to Beauvoir, who writes in The Ethics of Ambiguity that “every living moment is sliding towards death.” It is not simply that we are all aging and so getting closer to death. We are constantly pursuing projects and creating values—for instance, I’m writing this blog piece, thereby giving value to the activity of writing philosophy. But, Beauvoir thinks, my projects risk being brought to nothing when I die. When I die, either my projects will be left unfinished or, if I had completed them—say, by finishing writing a book—I will no longer be there to invest this achievement with value and meaning. The book I labored over will end up a mere dusty tome languishing on a shelf. For Beauvoir, then, death threatens the meaningfulness of one’s existence. But we can combat this threat by sharing our projects and values with others, who can then take up and continue these projects even after we die.


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Albert Camus and the problem of absurdity

Albert Camus (1913-1960) was a French philosopher and novelist whose works examine the alienation inherent in modern life and who is best known for his philosophical concept of the absurd. He explored these ideas in his famous novels, The Stranger (1942), The Plague (1947), and The Fall (1956), as well as his philosophical essays, The Myth of Sisyphus (1942) and The Rebel (1951). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957.

Camus was born to a poor family in war-torn French Algeria. His father, a farmer, was killed in the First World War, leaving his deaf and illiterate wife to raise Camus and his elder brother. Despite the deprivation of his childhood, he won a scholarship to a prestigious lycée in Algiers and went on to study philosophy at the University of Algiers. He began his writing career as a journalist for the Alger Républicain newspaper. After moving to Paris, he became involved in the Resistance movement, editing its clandestine paper, Combat, and was sought by the Gestapo. His memories of wars and experiences under the Nazi occupation permeated his philosophy and novels. His debut novel, The Stranger, and the essay, The Myth of Sisyphus, catapulted him to fame and brought him to the attention of Jean-Paul Sartre. After the liberation of France, he was a major figure in post-war French intellectual life.


Read also: Camus, absurdity, and revolt

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Reflections on a dialogic pedagogy inspired by the writings of Bakhtin

The practice of a dialogic pedagogy inspired by the writings of Bakhtin is increasingly popular in different parts of the world. This article is an account produced in the spirit of such pedagogy. Two professors (one from Brazil, the other from the United States), both members of an international dialogic pedagogy study group, write together to discuss the work they developed in partnership under this educational paradigm when teaching a course on “Diversity in secondary education” in the School of Education of the College of Education and Human Development of the University of Delaware, USA. After presenting brief introductory information on who they are, how they met and how they happened to work together, the two scholars present classroom interaction data followed by reflections on to what extent certain forms of classroom interaction they identified in the data promote or inhibit the practice of a truly Bakhtinian Dialogic Pedagogy. In other words, what the readers will find in this article is not a traditional empirical the study, but a telling case of two educators learning from one another about what counts as dialogic in the classroom, while at the same time using the aforementioned course as an anchor for multiple discussions.


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Beyond equality and inequality in education: Bakhtinian dialogic ethics approach of human uniqueness to educational justice

In our essay, we challenge the hegemonic Kantian discourse of defining justice as equality (in a broader sense) and injustice as inequality in education (and elsewhere). We argue that this discourse is based on the underlying assumption of replaceability and measurement of people and of educational practice itself. In contrast, we argue that people and their education are unique. Thus, it is necessary to develop an alternative notion of justice based on the uniqueness and immeasurability of people and their education. We found that Bakhtin’s dialogic ethics framework is helpful for developing such an alternative approach. According to the Bakhtinian dialogic ethics, people are engaged in self-contradictory deeds, charged with ethical tensions. These ethically problematic deeds must be challenged by others and the self in critical dialogue and must demand responses by the authors of the deeds striving to achieve justice. Taking responsibility is not merely a discursive process of answering – it is not “answerability” – but rather another ethic deed of defining ethically good or bad, defining quality and values, accepting blame, standing grounds, committing to fixing negative consequences, emotional sympathy, and so on. The process of challenging people’s deeds in critical dialogue and their taking (or not taking) responsibility defines (in)justice of people’s deeds. We examine two cases of educational injustice based on the Bakhtinian dialogic ethics framework of uniqueness. We try to show that education and its justice are essentially authorial and, thus, unique processes. Even when justice involves measurable things like money, it is still about unique people with unique educational goals, interests, and needs in unique circumstances that these measurable resources afford. We consider a case of allocation of measurable resources as a compromise between the Kantian formalistic and the Bakhtinian dialogic ethics approaches. We conclude our essay by developing a vision for a just educational practice based on students’ academic freedoms for authorial education.


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Deleuze and Anthropology

This entry takes on two subjects. First, it addresses the influence that anthropology had on the work of the mid-twentieth century French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, and second, the influence that Gilles Deleuze’s work has subsequently exerted on anthropology. In Deleuze’s encounter with anthropology, he ended up seeing anthropological structuralism as a limit to thought. However, he saw Anglo-American anthropology, and some later French anthropology, as powerful tools for conceiving different arrangements of the world, and he ended up relying heavily on these materials when he constructed his own Nietzschian Longue durée speculative anthropology. As a discipline, anthropology has had little interest in Deleuze’s speculative anthropology; however, it has seen both Deleuze’s overall aesthetics and many of his concepts as theoretical engines that could be used piecemeal at will, with little concern for the role they played in Deleuze’s overall thought, or for how having these ideas reterritorialized in anthropology might affect them. In the end, this entry suggests that despite the outsized reception of Deleuze in anthropology, a real encounter with Deleuze’s thoughts have yet to occur; despite this lack of a true, sustained engagement, anthropological use of Deleuzian concepts has still been incredibly productive in the discipline.


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Feminist Philosophy

This entry provides an overview of all the entries in the feminist philosophy section of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP). After a brief account of the history of feminist philosophy and various issues regarding defining feminism, the entry discusses the three main sections on (1) approaches to feminist philosophy, (2) feminist interventions in philosophy, and (3) feminist philosophical topics.

Feminists working in all the main Western traditions of contemporary philosophy are using their respective traditions to approach their work, including the traditions of analytic, Continental, and pragmatist philosophy, along with other various orientations and intersections. As they do so, they are also intervening in how longstanding basic philosophical problems are understood. As feminist philosophers carry out work in traditional philosophical fields, from ethics to epistemology, they have introduced new concepts and perspectives that have transformed philosophy itself. They are also rendering philosophical previously un-problematized topics, such as the body, class and work, disability, the family, reproduction, the self, sex work, human trafficking, and sexuality. And they are bringing a particularly feminist lens to issues of science, globalization, human rights, popular culture, and race and racism.


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Feminism After Bourdieu

How might Bourdieu’s social philosophy and social theory be of use to feminism? And how might it relate to – or possibly even fruitfully reframe – the ongoing problematics and current theoretical issues of feminism? It is very well recognized that Bourdieu’s social theory had relatively little to say about women or gender (although see Bourdieu, 2001) with most of his writings framed preeminently in terms of issues of class (Moi, 1991). Yet the premise of this volume is that this substantive omission should not be taken to mean that Bourdieu’s theoretical apparatus does not necessarily have relevance for feminism. Other key contemporary social theorists such as Foucault and Habermas have also – substantively speaking – had little to say about women and gender or indeed feminism but this, of course, has not stopped feminists deploying, rethinking and critically developing the theoretical resources offered by this theorists produce some of the most influential, compelling and productive forms of contemporary feminist theorizing (see eg Butler, 1993; Fraser, 1997). In this volume contributors will use, critique, critically extend and develop Bourdieu’s social theory to address some of the most pressing issues of our times. And in so doing they will address both ongoing and key contemporary problematics in contemporary feminist theory. These include the problematic of theorizing social agency (and especially the problematic of social versus performative agency); the issue of the relationship of social movements (and especially women’s movements) to social change; the politics of cultural authorization; the theorization of technological forms of embodiment (that is the theorization of embodiment post bounded conceptions of the body); the relations of affect to the political; and the articulation of principles of what might be termed a new feminist materialism which goes beyond Bourdieu’s own social logics.


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Feminist Theory After Deleuze

Feminist Theory After Deleuze addresses the encounter between one of the 20th century’s most important philosophers, Gilles Deleuze, and one of its most significant political and intellectual movements, feminism. Feminist theory is a broad, contradictory, and still evolving school of thought. This book introduces the key movements within feminist theory, engaging with both Anglo-American and French feminism, as well as important strains of feminist thought that have originated in Australia and other parts of Europe.

Mapping both the feminist critique of Deleuze’s work and the ways in which it has brought vitality to feminist theory, this book brings Deleuze into dialogue with significant thinkers such as Simone de Beauvoir, Rosi Braidotti, Judith Butler, Elizabeth Grosz and Luce Irigaray. It takes key terms in feminist theory such as, ‘difference’, ‘gender’, ‘bodies’, ‘desire’ and ‘politics’ and approaches them from a Deleuzian perspective.


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Concept and History: The (Trans)disciplinarity of Deleuze and Guattari’s Political Philosophy

While Deleuze and Guattari’s work has been criticized from a number of angles, one of the most pernicious readings is Alain Badiou’s claim that since Deleuze and Guattari assign an irreducible disciplinary modality to philosophy but not to politics in their What is Philosophy? (1994 [1991]), we should consider their philosophical ontology as both pre-established and ultimately indifferent to concrete political considerations. By examining the disciplinarity of philosophy in Deleuze and Guattari, in its dynamic relation to extra-philosophical domains, this article shows that far from constituting an obstacle to the development of political critique, an irreducible conception of philosophy as a discipline, rather, conditions such critique. The article explores this point with regard to the difference between history and becoming in Deleuze and Guattari’s work, and in terms of the shift that takes place in their work from a structuralist to a machinic philosophical ontology.


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