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Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the College de France, 1975-1976

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Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the College de France, 1975-1976 Cover

 

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Publisher Comments:

An examination of the relation between war and politics, by one of the twentieth centurys most influential thinkers

From 1971 until 1984 at the Collège de France, Michel Foucault gave a series of lectures ranging freely and conversationally over the range of his research. In Society Must Be Defended, Foucault deals with the emergence in the early seventeenth century of a new understanding of war as the permanent basis of all institutions of power, a hidden presence within society that could be deciphered by an historical analysis. Tracing this development, Foucault outlines the genealogy of power and knowledge that had become his dominant concern.

Michel Foucault, acknowledged as the preeminent philosopher of France in the 1970s and 1980s, continues to have enormous impact throughout the world in many disciplines. His works include  Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, The History of Sexuality, and Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison.

Series editor Arnold I. Davidson teaches philosophy, divinity, and comparative literature at the University of Chicago and is executive editor of the journal Critical Inquiry. The author of numerous studies on Foucault, he has been a visiting professor at the Collège de France.

Translator David Macey is the author of The Lives of Michel Foucault and Frantz Fanon: A Biography.

Now, nearly twenty years after his death, Michel Foucault remains among the most important cultural and intellectual figures of the last half century. Certainly no twentieth-century theorist deepened our understanding of and reoriented our thinking about knowledge, power, and the self more fundamentally than Foucault. His studies of sexuality, madness, the prison, and medicine are already classics, yet their impact is undiminished. His work continues to inspire us to reconsider and reformulate our basic assumptions.

From 1971 until his death in 1984, Michel Foucault taught at the Collège de France, one of the most unique and renowned institutions of higher learning in the world. The Collège enrolls no students and confers no degrees. Professors are required to deliver lectures to the general public on topics from their ongoing original research. During his tenure at the Collège, Foucault's teaching, which reached audiences that frequently numbered in the thousands, profoundly influenced a generation of scholars. These lectures, painstakingly reconstructed from tape recordings and Foucault's own notes, are now being made available in English for the first time. Under the guidance of series editor Arnold I. Davidson, Picador will publish all thirteen volumes of the lectures in North America.

In "Society Must be Defended" Foucault traces the genealogy of the problem of war in society from the seventeenth century to the present. Inverting Clausewitz's famous formulation "War is politics by other means," Foucault explores the notion that "politics is war by other means" in its relation to race, class struggle, and, of course, power. Providing us with a new model of political rationality, he overturns many of our long-held ideas of sovereignty, the law, and even truth itself. The full significance of the dictum "Society must be defended" becomes clear when Foucault's examination culminates in an extraordinary discussion of modern forms of racism.

Foucault's lectures at the Collège de France add immeasurably to our understanding and appreciation of his great works and yet also stand on their own as incomparable performances of intellectual daring, imagination, and insight. As Arnold I. Davidson writes in his introduction, "These lectures show us the unfolding of Foucault's thought in all of its vivacity, intensity, clarity, and precision."

"Exploring the interrelationship between war and politics, [this] series of lectures by the late French philosopher traces the evolution of a new understanding of society and its relation to war, revealing war as the permanent basis of all institutions of power."—Paper Clips

 

"[These] lectures take a provocative, even aggressive stance, one that seems timely. Foucault's thesis is as simple as it is bold: He reverses Clausewitz's dictum 'war is a continuation of politics by other means' into 'politics is a continuation of war by other means.' In other words, Foucault's thesis is that war is a permanent feature of political life and that the theory of the legitimacy of political sovereignty is a ruse hiding the ongoing war that is organized political life . . . Foucault argues that there is a hidden thread running through the cultural history of Europe since the English civil wars of the 17th century, a discourse that concentrates on a permanent war between the privileged and the disadvantaged . . . There are many points in [this book] that provoke reflection and productive concern. The writing is bold and clear, and [Foucault] challenges accepted theories of sovereignty in a way that undermines cultural histories that depend on notions of individual rights or on security through the social contract."—Michael S. Roth, California College of Arts and Crafts, Los Angeles Times Book Review

 

"Almost 20 years after his death, the first volume of the English translation of [Foucault's Collège de France] lectures has appeared, and its subject—how we think about war—couldn't be more timely. Indeed, what he says in this book may help explain why both Germany and France (not to mention most of the rest of the world) are so openly opposed to our going to war with Iraq (and/or North Korea). Moreover, what Foucault said in 1975-6 also helps us appreciate why it's so difficult to understand the motives for any war. He warns us that there are never single causes . . . [Throughout these lectures, Foucault's] point of view is particularly helpful in enabling us to think critically about political acts—most of which are verbal—that are already, now, the means of war, even before the first shot or bomb. Foucault's sobering message in these lectures is that (1) there is no sense to be made of the expressed causes of war, since they are always multiple and contradictory, and (2) wars don't happen because of failed politics; politics is already verbal warfare, war by other means."—Michael Payne, Bucknell University, The Daily Item (Sunbury, PA)

 

"Capably and collaboratively edited, [this book offers] unusually insightful perspectives and wisdom on a wide variety of educational topics ranging from the origins of feudalism, to the functions and domains of racism, to Hobbes' ideas on war and sovereignty . . . A very thought-provoking and instructive collection [of lectures] from a uniquely informed and informative point of view."—The Midwest Book Review

 

"One of the most penetrating philosophers of the late 20th century, Foucault gazed into human discourse and cultural practice with an unstintingly historical eye, uncovering the power relations that formed the base of our culturally constructed institutions . . . Using his method of digging historically (as in archaeology) to discover the philosophical relations of ideas (as in genealogy), Foucault contends that after the Middle Ages war can be understood less as the divine right of a sovereign (or juridically) and more as the hidden power that divides societies and thus influences political decisions. These lectures offer important insights into the evolution of the primary focus of Foucault's later work—the relationship between power and knowledge. This [is the] first volume of an anticipated 13-volume set of Foucault's lectures."—Library Journal

 

"Nearly two decades after his death, [Foucault's] work remains a touchstone for thinking about the intimate relationship among power, knowledge, and identity in bourgeois culture . . . His interrogation of the discursive roots of experience has become almost second nature, even as his resolute, if unorthodox, historicism and dazzling interpretive skills continue to inform our sense of what the history of ideas should look like . . . 'Society Must Be Defended', which collects the course of lectures that Foucault gave at the Collège de France in 1976, summarizing his research over the previous year, comes as a welcome surprise. Foucault gave thirteen such lecture courses at the institution [between the years] 1971 and 1984 . . . 'Society Must Be Defended'—though not the first course Foucault gave—is an excellent choice to inaugurate the Picador series. Its subject is a typically Foucauldian inversion of Clausewitz's famous dictum: 'Politics is the continuation of war by other means.' This is not a topic Foucault wrote on at length in any of his previously published work, so the lectures include a lot of new, compelling material. And the volume presents Foucault at a crucial moment in his career, roughly between Discipline and Punish and The History of Sexuality, as he leaves behind his fascination with the construction of 'knowledge' as a category and turns his attention to the question of power . . . [A] sense of contingency, of Foucault actually thinking his way through problems he has not fully resolved, gives [this book] much of its charm. And throughout, [the author's] prose—and David Macey's translation—is remarkable for its clarity, [and even] its accessibility. More important, ideas spark off nearly every page of this book, as Foucault manages to reinvigorate questions of power and violence that might have seemed well-worn. The words may have been spoken in 1976, but they seem as alive and as relevant as if they had been written yesterday."—James Surowiecki, Bookforum

Synopsis:

An examination of the relation between war and politics, by one of the twentieth century's most influential thinkers

From 1971 until 1984 at the College de France, Michel Foucault gave a series of lectures ranging freely and conversationally over the range of his research. In Society Must Be Defended, Foucault deals with the emergence in the early seventeenth century of a new understanding of war as the permanent basis of all institutions of power, a hidden presence within society that could be deciphered by an historical analysis. Tracing this development, Foucault outlines the genealogy of power and knowledge that had become his dominant concern.

Michel Foucault, acknowledged as the preeminent philosopher of France in the 1970s and 1980s, continues to have enormous impact throughout the world in many disciplines. His works include Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, The History of Sexuality, and Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison.

Series editor Arnold I. Davidson teaches philosophy, divinity, and comparative literature at the University of Chicago and is executive editor of the journal Critical Inquiry. The author of numerous studies on Foucault, he has been a visiting professor at the College de France.

Translator David Macey is the author of The Lives of Michel Foucault and Frantz Fanon: A Biography. Now, nearly twenty years after his death, Michel Foucault remains among the most important cultural and intellectual figures of the last half century. Certainly no twentieth-century theorist deepened our understanding of and reoriented our thinking about knowledge, power, and the self more fundamentally than Foucault. His studies of sexuality, madness, the prison, and medicine are already classics, yet their impact is undiminished. His work continues to inspire us to reconsider and reformulate our basic assumptions.

From 1971 until his death in 1984, Michel Foucault taught at the College de France, one of the most unique and renowned institutions of higher learning in the world. The College enrolls no students and confers no degrees. Professors are required to deliver lectures to the general public on topics from their ongoing original research. During his tenure at the College, Foucault's teaching, which reached audiences that frequently numbered in the thousands, profoundly influenced a generation of scholars. These lectures, painstakingly reconstructed from tape recordings and Foucault's own notes, are now being made available in English for the first time. Under the guidance of series editor Arnold I. Davidson, Picador will publish all thirteen volumes of the lectures in North America.

In Society Must be Defended Foucault traces the genealogy of the problem of war in society from the seventeenth century to the present. Inverting Clausewitz's famous formulation War is politics by other means, Foucault explores the notion that politics is war by other means in its relation to race, class struggle, and, of course, power. Providing us with a new model of political rationality, he overturns many of our long-held ideas of sovereignty, the law, and even truth itself. The full significance of the dictum Society must be defended becomes clear when Foucault's examination culminates in an extraordinary discussion of modern forms of racism.

Foucault's lectures at the College de France add immeasurably to our understanding and appreciation of his great works and yet also stand on their own as incomparable performances of intellectual daring, imagination, and insight. As Arnold I. Davidson writes in his introduction, These lectures show us the unfolding of Foucault's thought in all of its vivacity, intensity, clarity, and precision.Exploring the interrelationship between war and politics, this] series of lectures by the late French philosopher traces the evolution of a new understanding of society and its relation to war, revealing war as the permanent basis of all institutions of power.--Paper Clips

These] lectures take a provocative, even aggressive stance, one that seems timely. Foucault's thesis is as simple as it is bold: He reverses Clausewitz's dictum 'war is a continuation of politics by other means' into 'politics is a continuation of war by other means.' In other words, Foucault's thesis is that war is a permanent feature of political life and that the theory of the legitimacy of political sovereignty is a ruse hiding the ongoing war that is organized political life . . . Foucault argues that there is a hidden thread running through the cultural history of Europe since the English civil wars of the 17th century, a discourse that concentrates on a permanent war between the privileged and the disadvantaged . . . There are many points in this book] that provoke reflection and productive concern. The writing is bold and clear, and Foucault] challenges accepted theories of sovereignty in a way that undermines cultural histories that depend on notions of individual rights or on security through the social contract.--Michael S. Roth, California College of Arts and Crafts, Los Angeles Times Book Review

Almost 20 years after his death, the first volume of the English translation of Foucault's College de France] lectures has appeared, and its subject--how we think about war--couldn't be more timely. Indeed, what he says in this book may help explain why both Germany and France (not to mention most of the rest of the world) are so openly opposed to our going to war with Iraq (and/or North Korea). Moreover, what Foucault said in 1975-6 also helps us appreciate why it's so difficult to understand the motives for any war. He warns us that there are never single causes . . . Throughout these lectures, Foucault's] point of view is particularly helpful in enabling us to think critically about political acts--most of which are verbal--that are already, now, the means of war, even befo

Synopsis:

An examination of the relation between war and politics, by one of the twentieth centurys most influential thinkers

From 1971 until 1984 at the Collège de France, Michel Foucault gave a series of lectures ranging freely and conversationally over the range of his research. In Society Must Be Defended, Foucault deals with the emergence in the early seventeenth century of a new understanding of war as the permanent basis of all institutions of power, a hidden presence within society that could be deciphered by an historical analysis. Tracing this development, Foucault outlines the genealogy of power and knowledge that had become his dominant concern.

About the Author

Michel Foucault, acknowledged as the preeminent philosopher of France in the 70s and 80s, had enormous impact throughout the world in many disciplines.

David Macey has translated twenty books from the French and is the author of The Lives of Michel Foucault and Frantz Fanon (Picador). He lives in Leeds, England.

Table of Contents

Foreword: François Ewald and Alessandro Fontana

Introduction: Arnold I. Davidson

One: 7 January 1976

What is a lecture? — Subjugated knowledges. — Historical knowledge of struggles, genealogies, and scientific discourse. — Power, or what is at stake in genealogies. — Juridical and economic conceptions of power. — Power as repression and power as war. — Clausewitz's aphorism inverted.

Two: 14 January 1976

War and power. — Philosophy and the limits of power. — Law and royal power. — Law, domination, and subjugation. — Analytics of power: questions of method. — Theory of sovereignty. — Disciplinary power. — Rule and norm.

Three: 21 January 1976

Theory of sovereignty and operators of domination. — War as analyzer of power relations. — The binary structure of society. — Historico-political discourse, the discourse of perpetual war. — The dialectic and its codifications. — The discourse of race struggle and its transcriptions.

Four: 28 January 1976

Historical discourse and its supporters. — The counterhistory of race struggle. — Roman history and biblical history. — Revolutionary discourse. — Birth and transformation of racism. — Race purity and State racism: the Nazi transformation and the Soviet transformation.

Five: 4 February 1976

Answer to a question on anti-Semitism. — Hobbes on war and sovereignty. — The discourse on the Conquest in England: royalists, parliamentarians, and Levellers. — The binary schema and political historicism. — What Hobbes wanted to eliminate.

Six: 11 February 1976

Stories about origins. — The Trojan myth. — France's heredity. — "Franco-Gallia." — Invasion, history, and public right. — National dualism. — The knowledge of the prince. — Boulainvillier's "Etat de la France." — The clerk, the intendant, and the knowledge of the aristocracy. — A new subject of history. — History and constitution.

Seven: 18 February 1976

Nation and nations. — The Roman conquest. — Grandeur and decadence of the Romans. — Boulainvilliers on the freedom of the Germans. — The Soissons vase. — Origins of feudalism. — Church, right, and the language of State. — Boulainvilliers: three generalizations about war: law of history and law of nature, the institutions of war, the calculation of forces. — Remarks on war.

Eight: 25 February 1976:

Boulainvilliers and the constitution of a historico-political continuum. — Historicism. — Tragedy and public right. — The central administration of history. — The problematic of the Enlightenment and the genealogy of knowledges. — The four operations of disciplinary knowledge and their effects. — Philosophy and science. — Disciplining knowledges.

Nine: 3 March 1976

Tactical generalization of historical knowledge. — Constitution, Revolution, and cyclical history. — The savage and the barbarian. — Three ways of filtering barbarism: tactics of historical discourse. — Questions of method: the epistemological field and the antihistoricism of the bourgeoisie. — Reactivation of historical discourse during the Revolution. — Feudalism and the gothic novel.

Ten: 10 March 1976

The political reworking of the idea of the nation during the Revolution: Sieyès. — Theoretical implications and effects on historical discourse. — The new history's grids of intelligibility: domination and totalization. — Montlosier and Augustin Thierry. — Birth of the dialectic.

Eleven: 17 March 1976

From the power of sovereignty to power over life. — Make live and let die. — From man as body to man as species: the birth of biopower. — Biopower's fields of application. — Population. — Of death, and of the death of Franco in particular. — Articulations of discipline and regulation: workers' housing, sexuality, and the norm. — Biopower and racism. — Racism: functions and domains. — Nazism. — Socialism.

Course Summary

Situating the Lectures: Alessandro Fontana and Mauro Bertani

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312422660
Editor:
Bertani, Mauro
Editor:
Fontana, Alessandro
Translator:
Macey, David
Editor:
Bertani, Mauro
Editor:
Fontana, Alessandro
Editor:
Ewald, Francois
Author:
Foucault, Michel
Author:
Macey, David
Author:
Bertani, Mauro
Editor:
Ewald, Francois
Publisher:
Picador USA
Location:
New York
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
History & Theory
Subject:
War
Subject:
Political science
Subject:
Power
Subject:
History & Surveys - Modern
Subject:
History & Theory - General
Subject:
General Philosophy
Subject:
General Philosophy
Subject:
Political science -- Philosophy.
Subject:
War (philosophy)
Subject:
History
Subject:
Theory
Subject:
Philosophy : General
Subject:
Political
Subject:
Social history
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
Lectures at the College de France
Series Volume:
No. 3
Publication Date:
20031231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8.29 x 5.44 x 0.91 in

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Related Subjects

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Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the College de France, 1975-1976 New Trade Paper
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Product details 336 pages Picador USA - English 9780312422660 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , An examination of the relation between war and politics, by one of the twentieth century's most influential thinkers

From 1971 until 1984 at the College de France, Michel Foucault gave a series of lectures ranging freely and conversationally over the range of his research. In Society Must Be Defended, Foucault deals with the emergence in the early seventeenth century of a new understanding of war as the permanent basis of all institutions of power, a hidden presence within society that could be deciphered by an historical analysis. Tracing this development, Foucault outlines the genealogy of power and knowledge that had become his dominant concern.

Michel Foucault, acknowledged as the preeminent philosopher of France in the 1970s and 1980s, continues to have enormous impact throughout the world in many disciplines. His works include Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, The History of Sexuality, and Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison.

Series editor Arnold I. Davidson teaches philosophy, divinity, and comparative literature at the University of Chicago and is executive editor of the journal Critical Inquiry. The author of numerous studies on Foucault, he has been a visiting professor at the College de France.

Translator David Macey is the author of The Lives of Michel Foucault and Frantz Fanon: A Biography. Now, nearly twenty years after his death, Michel Foucault remains among the most important cultural and intellectual figures of the last half century. Certainly no twentieth-century theorist deepened our understanding of and reoriented our thinking about knowledge, power, and the self more fundamentally than Foucault. His studies of sexuality, madness, the prison, and medicine are already classics, yet their impact is undiminished. His work continues to inspire us to reconsider and reformulate our basic assumptions.

From 1971 until his death in 1984, Michel Foucault taught at the College de France, one of the most unique and renowned institutions of higher learning in the world. The College enrolls no students and confers no degrees. Professors are required to deliver lectures to the general public on topics from their ongoing original research. During his tenure at the College, Foucault's teaching, which reached audiences that frequently numbered in the thousands, profoundly influenced a generation of scholars. These lectures, painstakingly reconstructed from tape recordings and Foucault's own notes, are now being made available in English for the first time. Under the guidance of series editor Arnold I. Davidson, Picador will publish all thirteen volumes of the lectures in North America.

In Society Must be Defended Foucault traces the genealogy of the problem of war in society from the seventeenth century to the present. Inverting Clausewitz's famous formulation War is politics by other means, Foucault explores the notion that politics is war by other means in its relation to race, class struggle, and, of course, power. Providing us with a new model of political rationality, he overturns many of our long-held ideas of sovereignty, the law, and even truth itself. The full significance of the dictum Society must be defended becomes clear when Foucault's examination culminates in an extraordinary discussion of modern forms of racism.

Foucault's lectures at the College de France add immeasurably to our understanding and appreciation of his great works and yet also stand on their own as incomparable performances of intellectual daring, imagination, and insight. As Arnold I. Davidson writes in his introduction, These lectures show us the unfolding of Foucault's thought in all of its vivacity, intensity, clarity, and precision.Exploring the interrelationship between war and politics, this] series of lectures by the late French philosopher traces the evolution of a new understanding of society and its relation to war, revealing war as the permanent basis of all institutions of power.--Paper Clips

These] lectures take a provocative, even aggressive stance, one that seems timely. Foucault's thesis is as simple as it is bold: He reverses Clausewitz's dictum 'war is a continuation of politics by other means' into 'politics is a continuation of war by other means.' In other words, Foucault's thesis is that war is a permanent feature of political life and that the theory of the legitimacy of political sovereignty is a ruse hiding the ongoing war that is organized political life . . . Foucault argues that there is a hidden thread running through the cultural history of Europe since the English civil wars of the 17th century, a discourse that concentrates on a permanent war between the privileged and the disadvantaged . . . There are many points in this book] that provoke reflection and productive concern. The writing is bold and clear, and Foucault] challenges accepted theories of sovereignty in a way that undermines cultural histories that depend on notions of individual rights or on security through the social contract.--Michael S. Roth, California College of Arts and Crafts, Los Angeles Times Book Review

Almost 20 years after his death, the first volume of the English translation of Foucault's College de France] lectures has appeared, and its subject--how we think about war--couldn't be more timely. Indeed, what he says in this book may help explain why both Germany and France (not to mention most of the rest of the world) are so openly opposed to our going to war with Iraq (and/or North Korea). Moreover, what Foucault said in 1975-6 also helps us appreciate why it's so difficult to understand the motives for any war. He warns us that there are never single causes . . . Throughout these lectures, Foucault's] point of view is particularly helpful in enabling us to think critically about political acts--most of which are verbal--that are already, now, the means of war, even befo

"Synopsis" by ,
An examination of the relation between war and politics, by one of the twentieth centurys most influential thinkers

From 1971 until 1984 at the Collège de France, Michel Foucault gave a series of lectures ranging freely and conversationally over the range of his research. In Society Must Be Defended, Foucault deals with the emergence in the early seventeenth century of a new understanding of war as the permanent basis of all institutions of power, a hidden presence within society that could be deciphered by an historical analysis. Tracing this development, Foucault outlines the genealogy of power and knowledge that had become his dominant concern.

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