An examination of the relation between war and politics, by one of the twentieth century's most influential thinkers. From 1971 until 1984 at the College de France, Michel Foucault gave a series of lectures ranging freely and conversationally over the range of his research.
In "Society Must Be Defended," Foucault deals with the emergence in the early seventeenth century of a new understanding of war as the permanent basis of all institutions of power, a hidden presence within society that could be deciphered by an historical analysis.
Tracing this development, Foucault outlines the genealogy of power and knowledge that had become his dominant concern. Michel Foucault, acknowledged as the preeminent philosopher of France in the 1970s and 1980s, continues to have enormous impact throughout the world in many disciplines.
His works include "Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, "The History of Sexuality," "The Will to Knowledge," "The Order of Things," and "Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison."
Series editor Arnold I. Davidson teaches philosophy, divinity, and comparative literature at the University of Chicago and is executive editor of the journal "Critical Inquiry." The author of numerous studies on Foucault, he has been a visiting professor at the College de France. Translator David Macey is the author of "The Lives of Michel Foucault" and "Frantz Fanon: A Biography" (available from Picador)
Now, nearly twenty years after his death, Michel Foucault remains among the most important cultural and intellectual figures of the last half century. Certainly no twentieth-century theorist deepened our understanding of and reoriented our thinking about knowledge, power, and the self more fundamentally than Foucault. His studies of sexuality, madness, the prison, and medicine are already classics, yet their impact is undiminished. His work continues to inspire us to reconsider and reformulate our basic assumptions.
From 1971 until his death in 1984, Michel Foucault taught at the College de France, one of the most unique and renowned institutions of higher learning in the world. The College enrolls no students and confers no degrees.
Professors are required to deliver lectures to the general public on topics from their ongoing original research.
During his tenure at the College, Foucault's teaching, which reached audiences that frequently numbered in the thousands, profoundly influenced a generation of scholars. These lectures, painstakingly reconstructed from tape recordings and Foucault's own notes, are now being made available in English for the first time.
Under the guidance of series editor Arnold I. Davidson, Picador will publish all thirteen volumes of the lectures in North America. In ""Society Must be Defended,"" the inaugural volume of the series, Foucault traces the genealogy of the problem of war in society from the seventeenth century to the present. Inverting Clausewitz's famous formulation "War is politics by other means," Foucault explores the notion that "politics is war by other means" in its relation to race, class struggle, and, of course, power.
roviding us with a new model of political rationality, he overturns many of our long-held ideas of sovereignty, the law, and even truth itself.
The full significance of the dictum "Society must be defended" becomes clear when Foucault's examination culminates in an extraordinary discussion of modern forms of racism. Foucault's lectures at the College de France add immeasurably to our understanding and appreciation of his great works and yet also stand on their own as incomparable performances of intellectual daring, imagination, and insight.
As Arnold I.
Davidson writes in his introduction, "These lectures show us the unfolding of Foucault's thought in all of its vivacity, intensity, clarity, and precision."" Foucault must be reckoned with by humanists, social scientists, and political activists."" The New York Times Book Review"" Foucault, has an alert and sensitive mind which can ignore the familiar surfaces of established intellectual codes and ask new questions . . . He] gives dramatic quality to the movement of culture."--"The New York Review of Books""Foucault is quite central to our sense of where we are . . . His work carries] out, in the noblest way, the promiscuous aim of true culture."--"The Nation" "Exploring the interrelationship between war and politics, this] series of lectures by the late French philosopher traces the evolution of a new understanding of society and its relation to war, revealing war as the permanent basis of all institutions of power."--"Paper Clips"" These lectures take a provocative, even aggressive stance, one that seems timely. Foucault's thesis is as simple as it is bold: He reverses Clausewitz's dictum 'war is a continuation of politics by other means' into 'politics is a continuation of war by other means.'
In other words, Foucault's thesis is that war is a permanent feature of political life and that the theory of the legitimacy of political sovereignty is a ruse hiding the ongoing war that is organized political life.
Foucault argues that there is a hidden thread running through the cultural history of Europe since the English civil wars of the 17th century, a discourse that concentrates on a permanent war between the privileged and the disadvantaged.
There are many points in this book] that provoke reflection and productive concern.
The writing is bold and clear, and Foucault] challenges accepted theories of sovereignty in a way that undermines cultural histories that depend on notions of individual rights or on security through the social contract."--Michael S. Roth, California College of Arts and Crafts, "Los Angeles Times Book Review"
"Almost 20 years after his death, the first volume of the English translation of Foucault's College de France