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Foucault 2.0: Beyond Power and Knowledge Hardcover – 15 Apr 2006

2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press LLC (15 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590512340
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590512340
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.7 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,384,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Choice

Carefully researched and powerfully argued, this is one of the best studies of Foucault to appear. It will interest philosophers and intellectual historians, and belongs in every academic library.

Choice
Carefully researched and powerfully argued, this is one of the best studies of Foucault to appear. It will interest philosophers and intellectual historians, and belongs in every academic library.

About the Author

Eric Paras
Eric Paras received his doctorate in the history of European thought at Harvard University and is an affiliate of Harvard'Aos Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies. He lives in McLean, Virginia.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A strange, wilful misreading of Foucault that attempts to reappraise his oeuvre as a rediscovery and embrace of the liberal humanist subject that he decried in the early stages of his career. This is one of the few times that I've read a text on Foucault and thought "this is wrong" rather than "I disagree with the author's reading". The very foundations of his thesis are easily pulled apart by an examination of Foucault's various proclamations regarding the Enlightenment, human rights and liberal humanism. While Foucault certainly intervened politically in fields such as prisoners rights and human rights in general, he did so not by appealing to a transcendental, autonomous, liberal, rational subject, but by severing the link between rights-claims and subject. His 'human rights' does not rely on its invocation by a rational, autonomous subject because the rights he envisions are perhaps best thought of as 'the rights of the governed'; collective rights to resist and disobey a governing authority (through peaceful mass protests) whose behaviour is intolerable.

While Paras is able to mine quotes and mould a particular narrative, it is ultimately a futile exercise in creative writing rather than thoughtful analysis of Foucault's work; it goes against both the letter and spirit of the overwhelming number of articles and books produced by Foucault throughout his life. Or rather, to quote Nikolas Rose and Mariana Valverde, "quotable quotes can no doubt be extracted from [Foucault's] work to support all kinds of interpretations". While some interpretations are debatable and exciting, Eric Paras' "Beyond Power and Knowledge" is, unfortunately, a complete misfire.

It is nevertheless an enjoyable easy read and there is a certain interest in reading a radically different interpretation, thus I awarded it two stars instead of one.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally I get it 8 May 2006
By pandajama - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I've been reading Foucault for years now and have always been mystified by apparent dramatic changes in his method and focus. But I've always assumed I'm missing something, not fully grasping his point. I remain confident that I have at no time fully grasped his point, but I read Paras's book with growing relief and joy -- it turns out my instincts were sound all along, and Foucault really did change his method and focus from Madness and Civilization to Discipline and Punish and then through his trilogy on the History of Sexuality.

Foucault 2.0 traces the emergence of the subject in Foucault's works, and his gradual trajectory toward existentialism from his initial (somewhat nasty) rejection of Sartre's project.

Paras's style is refreshingly straightforward and his book serves as a terrific primer, though it helps, of course, to have read the works he discusses already. I'd never made it through The Order of Things or The Archaeology of Knowledge but I feel I have a tenuous understanding of those works after reading Paras.

This is a great book to read if you've struggled with and engaged Foucault somewhat already. But an even better introduction to Foucault is Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals. I wish I'd figured that out sooner than I did.
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