MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    The Subject in Question

    Kearns, Gerard (2018) The Subject in Question. In: South Asian Governmentalities: Michel Foucault and the Question of Postcolonial Orderings. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK, pp. 247-257. ISBN 9781108571982

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    The essays above let us see what kinds of knowledge are incited by the later works of Michel Foucault? These essays, in turn, invite us to find how those knowledgesmay be been implicit in earlier colonial and postcolonial self-reflection. Let me begin with subjectivation. Various branches of the Social Scienceshave at times posited a universal subject, the agent whose preferences interact with circumstances to produce behavior. The most notorious of these universal subjectsis perhaps the construct known as Rational Economic Man (Hollis and Nell1975).A similar strategy is evident in the ideologies justifying colonialism, or legitimating the bourgeois social order.Here, we are presented with a teleology, the civilizing process through which the savage evolves into the civilized subject. The savage shows itself in the form of the indigenous peoples of external lands to be conquered(Césaire 2000)or in the form of the dangerous classes(Chevalier1973) internal to the core. Already in Les mots et les choses(1966), Foucault (1971, 386) took this universal subject as his target concluding that:‘One thing in any case is certain: man is neither the oldest nor the most constant problem that has been posed for human knowledge.’ This universal subject, then, is a historical creation. By historicizing this notion, Foucault addedto the scholarship that challenges the Eurocentrism of the Enlightenment project.

    Item Type: Book Section
    Keywords: South Asian Governmentalities; Michel Foucault; Postcolonial Orderings;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Item ID: 11093
    Depositing User: Gerry Kearns
    Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2019 09:59
    Journal or Publication Title: South Asian Governmentalities: Michel Foucault and the Question of Postcolonial Orderings
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    Refereed: Yes

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