After Foucault: A new form of right

Philosophy and Social Criticism 29 (4):451-481 (2003)
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to explore the possibility of a new form of right that is both antidisciplinarian and liberated from ‘sovereignty’, the term Michel Foucault uses for what he claims to be the traditional theme of modern political philosophy. Some attempts to derive a theory of right from Foucault’s critique have been made. However, by their own admission they do not yield a coherent and adequate theory, and other work has demonstrated the major problems inherent in Foucault’s critique that render such a project problematic. This paper takes a different approach by revising the philosophical foundations of modern democracy with the goal of developing a new theory of right that addresses the problems that Foucault identified. To provide a theoretical context for this exploration, Foucault’s key concepts of disciplinary technologies, power, the construction and maintenance of human subjects, and the role of the human body in human subjection are briefly reviewed. The main analysis will focus on the ideas of three political theorists whose respective works represent the core of ‘sovereignty’, and who are indisputably basic to any student of Western political theory, namely Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. The aim of this analysis is not to provide another critique of their virtues and shortcomings. Instead, the work of these thinkers is used in a pragmatic way, to elicit a new form of right that could serve as a counter to disciplinary power. Key Words: civil right • Enlightenment • Foucault • natural right • political philosophy • political theory • postmodern critique • social justice.
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Citations of this work BETA
Ben Golder (2013). Foucault, Rights and Freedom. International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 26 (1):5-21.
Jacques de Ville (2011). Rethinking Power and Law: Foucault's Society Must Be Defended. [REVIEW] International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 24 (2):211-226.
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