Reflections on a Critical Genealogy of the Experience of Poverty

Abstract
The persistence of poverty is one of the great problems of our times. In this paper I want to show how we can use Michel Foucault’s work to recast thisproblem through a genealogy of the political rationality within which it appears. Foucault’s genealogies present us with at least three irreducible experiences of poverty: 1) the philosophical care of the self where poverty is a goal to be attained; 2) the religious sacralization of the poor and charity; and 3) the bio-political project in which poverty is a social disease to be cured or purged or a resource to be exploited. Foucault offers us the hope of resisting the danger of bio-politics, the cynical logic that stigmatizes the poor for their poverty and places them in apparatuses that treat them like a social disease, a moral failure, or a subhuman form of life
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Thom Brooks (2007). Punishing States That Cause Global Poverty. William Mitchell Law Review 33 (2):519-32.
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