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    Foucault, Ferguson and civil society

    Ashenden, Samantha (2015) Foucault, Ferguson and civil society. Foucault Studies 20 , pp. 36-51. ISSN 1832-5203.

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    In contrast to those who trace civil society to “community” per se, Foucault is keen to locate this concept as it emerges at a particular moment in respect of specific exigencies of government. He suggests that civil society is a novel way of thinking about a problem, a particular problematization of government that emerges in the eighteenth century and which combines incommensurable conceptions of the subject as simultaneously a subject of right and of interests. This article takes up Foucault’s discussion of the Scottish Enlightenment in The Birth of Biopolitics to trace the distinctiveness of his discussion of civil society, but also in order to suggest that we ought to pay closer attention to the tensions between commercial-civilizational and civic republican themes in the literature of the late eighteenth century than does Foucault. It is my tentative suggestion that Foucault’s account leaves out significant aspects of these debates that offer counter-valences to the dominant models of the subject avail-able to contemporary political discourse. Keywords: civic virtue; Ferguson; genealogy; intellectual history; interests; society


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): civic virtue, Ferguson, Foucault, genealogy, intellectual history, interests, society
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Moving Image, Birkbeck Institute for the (BIMI)
    Depositing User: Sam Ashenden
    Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2016 16:59
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:22


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