Month: May 2011

Marx and Foucault

Unemployed Negativity has a post up relating to how Foucault has much to say in light of the recent return to Marx:

Foucault’s courses of the late seventies, the course on security and biopolitics, address something largely absent from his published work: the relation between the formation of subjects and economic relations. Foucault always kept his distance from explicitly addressing this problem, a problem which in many ways would be a variant of the classical Marxist base/superstructure problem, but this distance took at least two different forms. At times, Foucault clearly stated that it was a matter of a difference of emphasis, arguing that while it is possible to study the relation between power relations constitutive of subjectivity and economic exploitation he prefers to study the relationship between power and truth. In such a case, the study of power and exploitation stand as simply two different approaches for understanding history and politics. At other times, however, Foucault sees the examination of power relations and economic analysis to be completely opposed, arguing against the reduction of the former by the latter. Foucault argues that the two political philosophies, liberalism and Marxism, which are generally considered to be opposed are united in what he terms an “economism of power.”

I’m sorry for the longish quotation. But this actually took up quite a bit of my political philosophy course in the last month: the relation between Foucault (read through “Society Must Be Defended”–alas, not his 1978-9 course) and Marx. Since the theme of the course, broadly, was equality, my tact was to ask if equality was itself a remnant of juridical power and whether it makes sense to discuss it in Foucault, where discussions about the care of the self and freedom dominate—not equality.

Clearly, in Marx, equality is juridical, since it’s the loss of the state that finally brings about a form of equality, once the class structure disappears. In any event, Foucault in SMBD critiques Marxism for being its economism and for being a remnant of bi-national struggles within the state structures of early modernity. But clearly, this does not mean Foucault has nothing to say about economism, merely that Foucault is identifying multiple genealogies of power in the shadow of which Marx’s economism can’t help but look reductive. (It also seems he took glee in his lectures poking his students, many of whom were of the Marxian left.) In this light, reading Rancière’s Hatred of Democracy in the last week was particularly interesting–since he clearly borrows from Foucault at points, while pushing Marxism to move beyond Leninist structures that remain fearful of the masses.

New philoSophia Journal

Call for Submissions and Invitation to Subscribe

SUNY Press is pleased to announce a new biannual journal: philoSOPHIA—a philosophical journal that intertwines the rich traditions and conceptual resources of continental philosophy and feminist theory. The journal is edited by Elaine Miller and Emily Zakin, both Associate Professors of Philosophy at Miami University of Ohio.

The inaugural issue features essays that explore animal imagery in Freud’s works, specifically with reference to the elision of the figure of the sister and the daughter in Freud’s works; argue that contemporary deconstructive accounts of corporeal vulnerability can be illuminated by Beauvoir’s account of the ethical problems posed by the experiential ambiguities of violence; bring Irigaray and Chodorow together to compare and partially synthesize their visions of the maternal and of mother-daughter relations; trace Kristeva’s engagement with Plato; and argue that Beauvoir’s account of aging illuminates not only becoming woman, but also an unbecoming of masculinity. Please see below for the tables of contents for the entire volume year.

The editors invite submissions from scholars who work at the intellectual and philosophical intersections of continental philosophy and feminist theory in the hope of opening a wider dialogue around a diverse array of questions concerning sexual difference, sexuate identity, women writing and being written about in philosophy, and the interrogation of canonical texts.

Please direct editorial questions to Dr. Miller ( and Dr. Zakin (

For more details on the journal and subscription information, visit

Kind regards,

SUNY Press



Editors’ Introduction



Little Hans’s Little Sister by Kelly Oliver

“Violence Is not an Evil”: Ambiguity and Violence in Simone de Beauvoir’s Early Philosophical Writings by Ann V. Murphy

Mother-Daughter Relations and the Maternal in Irigaray and Chodorow by Alison Stone

Motherhood According to Kristeva: On Time and Matter in Plato and Kristeva by Fanny Söderbäck

Disaffiliations: Beauvoir and Gorz on Masculinity as Aging by Penelope Deutscher

Scholarly Dialogue

Jew-Greek Redux: Knowing What We Do Not Know: On Diane Perpich’s The Ethics of Emmanuel Levinas by Claire Katz

What’s God Got to Do with It?: A Response to Claire Katz by Diane Perpich

Book Reviews

Ellen Feder. Family Bonds: Genealogies of Race and Gender. Reviewed by Sarah Hansen

Noëlle McAfee. Democracy and the Political Unconscious. Reviewed by James Manos




Reading The Second Sex Sixty Years Later by Julia Kristeva (translated by Timothy Hackett)


Rethinking ‘Intersectionality’: Michelle Obama, Presumed Subjects, and Constitutive Privilege by Erin Tarver


Cogito Interruptus: The Epistolary Body in the Elisabeth-Descartes Correspondence, 22 June 1645–3 November 1645 by Kyoo Lee

The Ethics and Politics of Otherness: Negotiating Alterity and Racial Difference by Lisa Guenther


Scholarly Dialogue

On the Historicity of the Archive: A Counter-Memory. On Lynne Huffer’s Mad for Foucault by Shannon Winnubst

Lynne Huffer’s Mad for Foucault: An Analysis of Historical Eros? by Laura Hengehold

Foucault’s Bad Angels of History by Lynne Huffer

Book Reviews

Penelope Deutscher. The Philosophy of Simone de Beauvoir: Ambiguity, Conversion, Resistance. Reviewed by Debra Bergoffen

Gail Weiss. Refiguring the Ordinary. Reviewed by Ann Murphy

Alison Stone. An Introduction to Feminist Philosophy. Reviewed by Sara McNamara

Shannon Sullivan. Revealing Whiteness: The Unconscious Habits of Racial Privilege. Reviewed by Jessica Wahman