allright – n knows what’s coming, he downloaded the second part of the edmund white post.
for everybody else: we move on to michel foucault. uff – yep, a heavyweight.
you will find a plethora of information about him and his work on the net and elsewhere – i just want to give some hints (in case that you are interested) how you might approach his work. oh, and as a selling argument to the ones who do not know him: he was gay, fascinated by (and into?) kinky sex and took drugs. yeah, there was a time when professors were quite rock ‘n’ roll. oh yeah – and he was writing books. intelligent books. and professor of the history of systems of thought (at the collège de france, paris).
- as with any scientific work you read: you will have to work to understand – but be not too impressed. theory is worth nothing if it does not work with and for you, too. or said differently: of course there are rules and conventions you have to be aware of and follow while reading theory – but you are giving sense to the text.
- a good access to theory – besides introductory books, which are sometimes great, sometimes crap – are interviews, articles, and the like – it is like the backdoor to the world of a big thinker. not as grand as to start with an important work, but easier.
- for me foucault works also as literature (like a lot of good theory). dive into the text – in the best case it will unfold itself. maybe later, maybe much later.
- one problem with foucault is that people think his texts will explain them the world – they won’t. foucault will not save your life, as others already remarked.
- as deleuze pointed out it’s actually quite easy: they were both working on how to live a non-fascistic life (don’t forget the historic context). so foucault’s work is always about the search for ways to think differently.
and maybe out of this comes a different way of thinking, a different way of relating to other people. a different way to live – a conscious life: the art of living. then theory is worth it.
so how about listening to the man himself? via the digital archive of the university of berkeley comes a lecture michel foucault held on april 12, 1983, and which fits perfectly into this blog: the culture of self. here you have the first part (introduction / lecture). the discussion (part 2 & 3) will soon follow…
and it’s actually fun!