Tag Archive: Foucault


The Bill Cronon-Wisconsin Republican party tangle is making me — and many others, judging by the responses I’ve seen on academic listservs — think a little more deeply about how we use our e-mail addresses. Like many, I’m troubled by the possibility that someone could ask to see my e-mail correspondence on any old topic. But I also recognize that they have that right, or something like it, and that the same Freedom of Information laws allow me to ask for others’ e-mails — not everyone’s, but anyone’s who works for a publicly funded institution, like a university. That’s part of the price we pay for a public culture, which keeps us from the Hobbesian state of everyone’s liberty (with guns) against everyone else’s. It’s also what makes that culture vulnerable, but that makes it all the more important to use our public profiles in ways that enhance that culture’s viability.

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Shaka Freeman’s photo posts asking the question “Michael Pollan or Michel Foucault?” are hilarious, because the two Mickeys really do look alike and are sometimes difficult to tell apart. For the sake of a bit of entertaining triangulation, I’ve added Foucauldian ecologist and Greenpeace Canada activist Eric Darier to the mix.

But the site also subtly suggests that there may be a potentially powerful convergence between Pollan‘s insightful politics of food and Foucault’s incisive biopolitics that could help steer us in an appropriate direction throught the agrotechnoscientific minefields of the coming century. Perhaps Nikolas Rose’s The Politics of Life Itself: Biomedicine, Power, and Subjectivity in the Twenty-First Century could be an initial meeting point – though one would have to add a chapter specifically on agro-industrial technologies to make it so. (Darier’s Discourses of the Environment would make a welcome supplement to that discussion.)

Thanks to Scu at Critical Animal for alerting me to these. His critique of Pollan’s and Donna Haraway’s biopolitics can be read here.