The power not to be (what we are): The politics and ethics of self-creation in Foucault

Journal of Moral Philosophy 3 (2):215-230 (2006)
on ethics provides an opportunity to go beyond some of the controversies generated by his work of the 1970s. It was thought, for example, that Foucault had overstated the extent to which individuals could be ‘subjected’ to the influence of power, leaving them little room to resist. This paper will consider the ‘politics’ of self-creation. We shall attempt to establish to what extent Foucault’s later notion of self-formation does in fact succeed in countering an over determination by power. In the end, though, it would appear as if Foucault’s turn to ethics amounts to a substitution of ethics, understood as an individualized task, for the political task of collective social transformation. What is at stake is whether or not Foucault’s insistence on individual acts of resistance amounts to more than an empty claim that ethics still somehow has political implications whilst having in fact effectively given up on politics. It will be argued that the subject of the later Foucault’s ethics, the individual, can only be understood as political subjectivity, i.e. that the political potential of individual action is not only ‘added on’ as an adjunct, but that individual action is intrinsically invested with political purport. Key Words: care of the self • ethics • politics • power • power/knowledge.
Keywords power   politics   care of the self   ethics   power/knowledge
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/1740468106065493
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,904
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

85 ( #34,225 of 1,725,430 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #134,582 of 1,725,430 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.