GOVT 6215

GOVT 6215

Course information provided by the Courses of Study 2018-2019.

This course will explore the ways in which Michel Foucault's oeuvre transitions from a concern with sovereignty to a preoccupation with biopolitics. Foucault's early work (one understands that there is no absolute Foucaultian division into "sovereignty" and "biopolitics"), such as "Madness and Civilization," attends to the structure, the construction and the force of the institution -- the birth of asylum, the prison, while his later career takes up the question of, for want of a better term, "political efficiency." That is, Foucault offers a critique of sovereignty insofar as sovereignty is inefficient (neither the sovereign nor sovereign power can be everywhere; certainly not everywhere it needs or wants to be; ubiquity is impossible, even/especially for a project such as sovereignty) while biopower is not. Biopower marks this recognition; in place of sovereignty biopower "devolves" to the individual subject the right, always an intensely political phenomenon, to make decisions about everyday decisions -- decisions about health, sexuality, "lifestyle." In tracing the foucaultian trajectory from sovereignty to biopower we will read the major foucaultian texts -- "Madness and Civilization," "Birth of the Prison," "History of Sexuality" as well as the various seminars where Foucault works out important issues.

When Offered Spring.

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Syllabi: none
  •   Regular Academic Session.  Combined with: ASRC 6212ENGL 6912

  • 4 Credits Stdnt Opt

  •  8956 GOVT 6215   SEM 101