Discourse, power, and subjectivation: The foucault/habermas debate reconsidered

Philosophical Forum 40 (1):1-28 (2009)
In this article, I take up one strand – arguably the central one – of the Foucault/Habermas debate: their respective accounts of subjectivation. Against those who hold that Foucault and Habermas occupy such drastically different theoretical perspectives as to preclude the integration of their views into a common framework, I begin to lay the groundwork for an account of subjectivation that draws on the conceptual insights to be found on each side of the debate. While both Foucault and Habermas offer a one-sided analysis of subjectivation – Foucault emphasizes its power-ladenness, and Habermas its communicative, rational, intersubjective aspects – I argue that subjectivation necessarily entails both communicative rationality and power relationships. I then consider the implications of my comparative argument for both Foucault and Habermas’s broader philosophical projects.
Keywords Foucault  Habermas  subjectivation  communicative rationality  power
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9191.2008.00314.x
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