Two Uses of Michel Foucault in Political Theory: Concepts and Methods in Giorgio Agamben and Ian Hacking

Constellations 22 (4):571-585 (2015)
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This deep presence of Foucault’s influence across contemporary theoretical landscapes signals a need for self-reflectiveness that has largely (though not entirely) been missing in contemporary uses of Foucault. While scholarship in a Foucauldian vein is obviously alive and well, scholarship on Foucauldian methodology is not. This paper develops a distinction between two methodological features of Foucault’s work that deserve to be disentangled: I parse the methods (e.g., genealogy, archaeology) and concepts (e.g., discipline, biopower) featured in Foucault’s texts. Following this, I use the terms of this distinction to develop a detailed survey of two quite different contemporary uses of Foucault. My two test cases for comparison are the works of Giorgio Agamben and Ian Hacking, two contemporary theorists who demonstrate a productive engagement with central features of Foucault’s work.



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Colin Koopman
University of Oregon

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