The practices of theorists: Habermas and Foucault as public intellectuals

Philosophy and Social Criticism 37 (6):709-734 (2011)
Abstract
The scholarly works of Jürgen Habermas and Michel Foucault have been subject to ongoing scrutiny for a number of decades. However, less attention has been given to their activities as public intellectuals and the relation between these and their philosophical and theoretical projects. Drawing on their own conceptualization of the role of the intellectual, the article aims to illuminate these issues by examining Habermas’ advocacy of a ‘Core Europe’ and his defense of NATO bombardments in Kosovo in 1999 as well as Foucault’s involvement with the Groupe d’Information des Prisons (GIP) and a wide variety of his interviews, op-ed articles, etc. In showing that the intellectuals’ views differ in important ways from those of the scholars but nevertheless inhabit a crucial position in the overall edifice of their oeuvres, the article concludes that the practices of theorists deserve more attention for a comprehensive and more nuanced account of their thought
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