Oedipus Rex and Foucault

Those of you who attended the reading group last week and those of you reading along with the lectures, this recent article on Foucault’s use of Oedipus Rex might be interesting.

Moreno Pestaña, J.L.
Oedipus Rex as a philosophical and political strategy
(2020) Sociological Review, 68 (5), pp. 1092-1107.

DOI: 10.1177/0038026119900117

Abstract
This article studies Michel Foucault’s interpretation of the tragedy Oedipus Rex. The analysis seeks to uncover the various intellectual strategies around his study. First, Foucault takes a position in the political debate about prisons in France in the early 1970s. Second, his analysis of the tragedy contributes to position his work in the field of the philosophical history of truth, by singularising his project and separating it from the dominant models of the history of philosophy. Third, Foucault aims to differentiate himself from the results of the historical work of the Paris School. This article analyses how Foucault depends on these interpretations and how it helps him to acquire philosophical relevance. Through the sociology of intellectual history’s perspective, the article elaborates the contributions and limits of Foucault’s perspective. © The Author(s) 2020.

Author Keywords
Michel Foucault; political philosophy; sociology of intellectuals; sociology of knowledge; sociology of philosophy

Reading group 10 August 2020

The reading group for the 10th August will be looking at the first lecture in Michel Foucault, Wrong-doing, Truth-telling: The Function of Avowal in Justice, Eds. Fabienne Brion, Bernard E. Harcourt, Trans. Stephen W. Sawyer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014.

I have posted up a page with a suggested process for reading and then discussion in groups. We will be doing close readings of each chapter so preparation before the session will be very helpful in aiding productive discussion in the groups.

I will look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

Foucault Reading group starts 13 July 2020

The Foucault Reading group will be starting again 13 July 2020 and will be running online via Zoom. If you would like to participate send me an email at c.ofarrell@qut.edu.au

Time: 3.00 – 4.15 pm every Monday fortnight starting 13 July 2020.
Readings: We made an attempt to read this series of lectures last year and I will start again from the beginning.
Michel Foucault, Wrong-doing, Truth-telling: The Function of Avowal in Justice, Eds. Fabienne Brion, Bernard E. Harcourt, Trans. Stephen W. Sawyer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014.

Convenor
Dr. Clare O’Farrell

Participation and attendance
Academic staff and postgraduate students are all welcome. Further information can be found on this page accessible only to participants in the reading group.

Foucault on fake news, social media and algorithms – BBC Ideas (2018)

This is a really good short overview of Foucault’s work. Most of these kinds of animations are usually fairly dubious portrayals of his work but this one is a refreshing departure from the norm. In particular, I liked the author’s debunking of the monotonously repeated outrage at Foucault’s alleged relativism concerning the truth. This animation nicely brands this ‘critique’ as ‘fake news’.

Foucault News


Foucault on fake news, social media and algorithms – BBC Ideas

If he were still alive, what would philosopher Michel Foucault make of the world today? He’d be sounding the alarm, says Professor Angie Hobbs, Professor of Public Understanding of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield.
Made by The Moment, 9 August 2018

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Foucault quote: The ritual of truth telling

Foucault News

Lord knows how many times myths, legends, stories and tales – or anything else we generally consider ‘untrue’ – have been subjected to ethnological study. But after all, isn’t truth-telling also embedded in the dense and complex tissue of ritual? It too has been accompanied by numerous beliefs, and accorded strange powers. So perhaps there is an entire ethnology of truth-telling to be pursued.

Michel Foucault. 2000. Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling. The function of avowal in justice, edited by Fabienne Brion with Bernard E. Harcourt. Translated by Stephen Sawyer. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2014, p. 14

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Reading Foucault

There is a really interesting extract from the introduction to Thomas Lemke’s Foucault’s Analysis of Modern Governmentality: A Critique of Political Reason on the Verso publisher’s blog concerning the difficulties of reading and interpreting Foucault, and the very varied responses to his work. Lemke suggests that perhaps the most useful approach is not to resolve the difficulties of Foucault’s work and to find the one true interpretation in the face of so many critical misinterpretations, but to recognise that Foucault’s work generates problems for its readers and that this is precisely its value.