For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

On The Government of the Living: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1979-1980

by Foucault, M (2014)


With these lectures Foucault inaugurates his investigations of truth-telling in the ethical domain of practices of techniques of the self. How and why, he asks, does the government of men require those subject to power to be subjects who must tell the truth about themselves?

Key Passage

Now I know that there are people— their names and nationality are not important— who say: yes, of course, if Bodin does these two things, if he is both theorist of raison d’État t and the great caster out of demon-mania, both demonologist and theorist of the State, this is quite simply because nascent capitalism needed labor and witches were also abortionists, it was a question of removing the checks to demography in order to be able to provide capital with the labor it needed in its factories of the nineteenth century. You can see that the argument is not entirely convincing (it is true that I caricature it). (p.10)


Foucault, Foucauldian, Truth, Government, Postmodern, Poststructuralism


On the Government of the Living, Foucault Citations

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