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On the Government of the Living

Lectures at the Collège de France, 1979-1980

Michel Foucault; Edited by Michel Senellart; General Editors: François Ewald and Alessandro Fontana; English Series Editor: Arnold I. Davidson; Translated by Graham Burchell

Picador

On the Government of the Living Download image

ISBN10: 1250081610
ISBN13: 9781250081612

Trade Paperback

384 Pages

$23.00

CA$30.00

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In these lectures delivered in 1980, Michel Foucault gives an important new inflection to his history of “regimes of truth.” Following on from the themes of knowledge-power and governmentality, he turns his attention here to the ethical domain of practices of techniques of the self. Why and how, he asks, does the exercise of power as government demand not only acts of obedience and submission, but “truth acts” in which individuals subject to relations of power are also required to be subjects in procedures of truth-telling? How and why are subjects required not just to tell the truth, but to tell the truth about themselves? These questions lead to a re-reading of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and, through an examination of the texts of Tertullian, Cassian, and others, to an analysis of the ‘truth acts’ in early Christian practices of baptism, penance, and spiritual direction in which believers are called upon to manifest the truth of themselves as subjects always danger of falling into sin. In the public expression of the subject’s condition as a sinner, in the rituals of repentance and penance, and in the detailed verbalization of thoughts in the examination of conscience, we see the organization of a pastoral system focused upon confession.

About the author

Michel Foucault; Edited by Michel Senellart; General Editors: François Ewald and Alessandro Fontana; English Series Editor: Arnold I. Davidson; Translated by Graham Burchell

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 many works include Madness and Civilization, Discipline and Punish, and The History of Sexuality trilogy. He died in 1984.

Arnold I. Davidson
is a professor at the University of Chicago and the University of Pisa. He is co-editor of the volume Michel Foucault: Philosophie.

Graham Burchel
l is the translator, and has written essays on Michel Foucault. He is an Editor of The Foucault Effect.

Michel Foucault

Michel Senellart