Title

Theory as practice, theory in practice: Deleuze and Foucault in conversation

College

College of Liberal Arts

Department/Unit

Literature, Department of

Document Type

Article

Source Title

Suri

Volume

7

Issue

2

Publication Date

2018

Abstract

The many national and transnational events that have dominated the public sphere in recent times—the refugee crisis and the revival of nationalism, the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Alt Right, the ascendancy of populist administrations and the specter of fascism, the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement—raise the question of which category f politics of identity warrants analytical and political priority. Further to this inquiry is the question of which struggle most urgently lays claim to our sense of solidarity. Appropriating Benedict Anderson’s commentary on the experience of studying the successive colonialism in Philippine history, this multiplicity of existential concerns cannot but evoke a feeling of “historical vertigo.” How do we understand the simultaneity and disjunctions of the contemporary? In this context, theory has never been more compelling and yet, given the material realities of concern, contestable. What exactly does theory do?

Towards addressing this question, this paper returns to the critical conversation between Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault in 1972 on the relation between theory and practice. In arguing for the value of theory as practice, this paper also explores the question of resistance to power, what the later Foucault would theorize under the rubric of Stoicism, in both Deleuze and Foucault and their representations of the intellectual as well as how we can bring their works to bear on the turn to cosmopolitanism.

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Disciplines

Philosophy | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Keywords

Identity politics; Cosmopolitanism; Knowledge, Theory of; Practice (Philosophy)

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