By Eric Darier
This booklet is the 1st to supply scholars with serious understandings of our surroundings utilizing a number of theoretical views encouraged from Michel Foucault.
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Extra info for Discourses of the Environment
The systematic use by Foucault of 'negatives' to define - or rather to 'n/efine' - a concept is evidently a tactical move to avoid having to redefine concepts that one might not want to employ in the first place. ) from its context (by the use of the negative), and leaves it suspended in order to lose the conventional meaning of 'power'. Baudrillard would probably answer that 'it is a good thing that terms lose their meaning at the limits of the text', but would still complain that Foucault doesn't 'do it enough' (ibid.
The first part of this volume approaches discourses of the 'environment' from a Foucauldian historical angle - that Is, a genealogy of the present with several 'histories'. In his chapter '"The Entry of Life into History"', Paul Rutherford focuses on 'biopolitics', which is probably the closest Foucault ever came to addressing the environmental issue from the perspective of how the mechanisms of biological life themselves became an object of 'reason of state' calculations and strategy. In this sense, 'life' as an object of scientific knowledge, as a state preoccupation, and as an ethical I normalizing guiding principle for individual conduct enters 'history', because it becomes an articulated, explicit strategy.
Despite the change in focus that occurs with his writings on biopolitics, and more fully in those on governmental rationality, these later works nevertheless maintain continuity with two key concerns developed in his earlier writings. These are, first, a continuity between the earlier concern to elaborate a microphysics of power (the disciplinary technologies of the body) and relating this to the sorts of biopolitical problems raised by the regulation of entire populations and societies. Second, there is a continuity between both of these concerns and the practice of ethics as a form of 'government of the self' (ibid.