Government in Foucault Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The forms and specific situations of the government of men by one another in a given society are multiple; they are superimposed, they cross, impose their own limits, sometimes cancel one another out, sometimes reinforce one another. (Foucault [SP, 224])According to a commonplace in the critical discussion of Foucault's later work, he is supposed to have decided to take up Nietzsche's interpretation of power asWille zur Macht, ‘will to power.’ For instance, Habermas believes he has criticized Foucault when he says, ‘Nietzsche’s authority, from which this [Foucault’s] utterly unsociological concept of power is borrowed, is not enough to justify its systematic usage.’ Charles Taylor finds in Nietzsche ‘a doctrine which Foucault seems to have made his own,’ viz., that ‘there is no order of human life, or way we are, or human nature, that one can appeal to in order to judge or evaluate between ways of life.

publication date

  • December 1991