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Critical Theory in Critical TimesTransforming the Global Political and Economic Order$
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Penelope Deutscher and Cristina Lafont

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780231181518

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231181518.001.0001

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“Post-Foucault”: The Critical Time of the Present

“Post-Foucault”: The Critical Time of the Present

(p.207) 10 “Post-Foucault”: The Critical Time of the Present
Critical Theory in Critical Times

Penelope Deutscher

Columbia University Press

In this chapter, Deutscher argues for a different understanding of Foucauldian critique and of the possibilities for transformation of the present with which his concept of critique is typically associated. Foucauldian critique, she argues, is “cumulative.” By exploring the diversity of analyses offered by Foucault, she shows that a number of the forms of power he described did not replace each other chronologically in a linear progression. Instead, as Wendy Brown has emphasized, forms of power coincide. But instead of coinciding a mere contingent assemblages, Foucault shows that modes of power redeploy elements belonging to other modes. His analysis thus reveals that such elements are forces of immanent contestation lying in the present. As such, Foucault’s cumulative understanding of critique proves itself timely when contemporary modes of governmentality (including omnipresent neoliberalism) appear to be particularly intransigent.

Keywords:   Foucault, critique, genealogy, modes of power, the present, immanent contestation

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