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Foucault and Marxism

February 27, 2010

I don’t care what anyone says: Foucault’s program is clearly deeply Marxist—particularly of the Althusserian brand. Yes, Foucault rejected both Althusser’s use of the word “ideology” and, coordinately, his the realist ontology (although calling Althusser a realist is not quite right). However, every single one of Foucault’s works following Madness and Civilization seems designed to take Althusser’s critique of essentialist subjectivity and demonstrate its truth with historical examples.

Discipline and Punish could be taken as a long riff on the concepts of interpellation or hailing, which Althusser introduces his “Ideology and State Apparatuses” essay—Foucault just converts “state apparatuses” to “school apparatuses” and “prison apparatuses.”

3 Comments leave one →
  1. larry c wilson permalink
    February 27, 2010 8:54 pm

    I never know whether I should laugh or cry.

  2. fuzzytheory permalink
    February 27, 2010 10:30 pm

    I could buy it. I’ve always read Foucault as being deeply affected by Marxism even as (or better yet: for the very reason that) he ostensibly moved away from it. I’ve also considered Foucault to be the thinker who most closely follows Nietzsche. Far more so than Bataille or Deleuze (whose What is Philosophy I had big problems with).

  3. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    February 28, 2010 12:02 am

    Larry: your comments are getting weirder and weirder …

    fuzzytheory: In particular, I think “Society Must Be Defended” is EXTREMELY Nietzschean in its approach.

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