Foucault and the Politics of Rights

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Stanford University Press, Oct 7, 2015 - Political Science - 264 pages
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This book focuses on Michel Foucault's late work on rights in order to address broader questions about the politics of rights in the contemporary era. As several commentators have observed, something quite remarkable happens in this late work. In his early career, Foucault had been a great critic of the liberal discourse of rights. Suddenly, from about 1976 onward, he makes increasing appeals to rights in his philosophical writings, political statements, interviews, and journalism. He not only defends their importance; he argues for rights new and as-yet-unrecognized. Does Foucault simply revise his former positions and endorse a liberal politics of rights? Ben Golder proposes an answer to this puzzle, which is that Foucault approaches rights in a spirit of creative and critical appropriation. He uses rights strategically for a range of political purposes that cannot be reduced to a simple endorsement of political liberalism. Golder develops this interpretation of Foucault's work while analyzing its shortcomings and relating it to the approaches taken by a series of current thinkers also engaged in considering the place of rights in contemporary politics, including Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, and Jacques Rancière.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Critical CounterConducts
31
Who Is the Subject of Foucaults Human Rights?
61
The Ambivalence of Rights
89
Rights Between Tactics and Strategy
115
Conclusion
149
Notes
165
Bibliography
219
Index
239
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About the author (2015)

Ben Golder is Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales, Australia.

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