Socratic erotics and Foucault's permanent revolution

Philosophy and Social Criticism 27 (2):76-99 (2001)
In this paper, I argue that it is Foucault's conception of Socratic erotics, presented in Volume 2 of the History of Sexuality series, which provides him with a theoretical ground in the history of philosophy for his notions of political activism, power and government. Once we understand this, it is possible to understand how Foucault, rather than using a mixture of demonstration and diplomacy to oppose the idealization of revolution that eventually leads to the 'permanent revolution' of Stalinism, opposes it instead with a philosophical mutation of it - that is, with a permanent revolution of his own: the ceaseless self-transgression of/by the citizen. It is a conception that is finally unsuccessful for grounding an effective theory of political activism. Key Words: activism • erotics • Foucault • freedom • government • Greece • politics • sexuality • Socrates • subject.
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DOI 10.1177/019145370102700208
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