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Lectures at the College de France, 1977-78: Security, Territory and Population (Lectures at the Collège de France)

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  473 ratings  ·  26 reviews

Marking a major development in Foucault's thinking, this book derives from the lecture course which he gave at the Collège de France between January and April, 1978. Taking as his starting point the notion of "bio-power," introduced in his 1976 course Society Must be Defended, Foucault sets out to study the foundations of this new technology of power over population. Dist
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Palgrave Macmillan (first published December 31st 2004)
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Like I wasn't going to give this five stars. I don't want to go to academic and French hell. ... Let us all pause to contemplate that horror for a moment.

No but seriously this was really great. Like, way greater than I had expected given my limited experience of Foucault, which had been limited to discursive analysis that was driving me up a wall. But I totally see why people love him now.
Alex Mchugh
Excellent lectures that have changed my recent perspective on many things. The kind of ideas that stick in your mind long after reading. Will probably be re-reading fairly soon, I'm almost sure I missed something good the first time around.
Excellent lectures that help us understand how Foucault sees the intimate relation between the problem of power and the problem of ethics. Here we also observe his excellent analyses of a historical genealogy of the problem of power. How do we think of a "state"? Typically a Foucauldian analysis of concrete institutions is not to look at one institution internally (as might be done by E. Goffman), but to try to situate this institution in a greater realm of power; so that we may even further obs ...more
An excellent exploration of the various ways rulers and others have attempted to govern populations and/or territories. The tragedy of the book is that modern Leftist intellectuals have used it like Machiavelli's "The Prince," treating it as a handbook of ways they can both challenge legitimate authority and maximize their own power over people and resources.
Another amazing lecture. I recently read another collection of Foucault's lectures and it was amazing. This book contains the next series of lectures from the ones I read.

What I personally want is a negative political theory. I want a politics that is based on preventing power from congealing, and a politics that breaks up power after it congeals.

And these Foucault lectures come close to that. This book is largely asks:

How did the State come about?

How did the world that we live in come into bei
Ryan Ananat
Starts slow but picks up by the end. Looking forward to the sequel.
Maybe philosophy can still play a role on the side of counter-power, on condition that, in facing power, this role no longer consists in laying down the law of philosophy, on condition that philosophy stops thinking of itself as prophecy, pedagogy, or legislation, and that it gives itself the task of analyzing, elucidating, making visible, and thereby intensifying the struggles that take place around power, the strategies of adversaries within relations of power, the tactics employed, and the so
These lectures are VERY interesting. Some of the writing here ends up in later works, such as History of Sexuality. These texts further develop ideas of raison d'état, population, and politics that F had been working on for some years.

Foucault finds the route of modern governmentality in the pastoral. He juxtaposes Greece and Church early on to show how the exceptionality of this idea of governance. This is problematic, as are most of the assertions he makes related to the "pastoral." In the end
Rich Hancuff
Foucault starts with a relatively simple example of grain supply and then goes into what seems entirely unrelated investigations of sovereign power, the art of government, raison d'Etat, and the concept of police (not as in the cops but as in the idea of ordering and managing), before winding it back around to show how that specific problem at the beginning both illustrates and engenders the developments he outlines in these lectures.
Very profound analysis indeed, but I have some doubts about Foucault's standard of selecting examples. It would be much more compelling if he can raise many examples and focus on a handful of them, instead of just focusing on, well, only one.
Also, I waited for Foucault's analysis on the 8th chapter of The Republic throughout the whole book, but it never came. :(
Detailed review:
Tristan Laing
Compelling account of the history of the notions of freedom and governance which we take for granted today.
Jessica Zu
Biopolitics on the control of population enabled by sciences, Foucault's main contribution! well, one of his many insights.
Heather Marie
My review of most of Foucault's work: just get to the point already.
Super interesting, need to finish at some point. Initial thoughts:
- Euro-centric; understandable, but should be read as an example of things occurring globally
- Smallpox inoculation as example of security
- Interesting use of raison d'etat
Sep 06, 2008 Priya rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Foucault fans (and aren't there many?)
This is readable, accessible and, surprising considering the subj. matter, amusing at times. Foucault does a great job of explaining what he thinks about security, how the state organises itself and, especially, his view of power as relational and network-oriented.
Ok, I admit it, I only skimmed the first 75 pages. Probabaly not the best book with which to introduce myself to Foucault. And this is definitely not my subject. Eeek! I think I might try something else by him, though. The man obviously had a great brain.
Alex Kudera
accessible Foucault that relates to European history, political philosophy, and how we arrived at the "state" were in. . . good stuff.
This is one in a series of Foucault's published lectures. I'm working my way through a number of them and they are pretty fantastic...
Mar 22, 2009 Brian marked it as to-read
I have not had much luck trying to slog through Foucault in the past, but I think I may need to give this one a try.
Currently reading it. Of course it kicks ass and I will tell you why by June 13 when I finish it.
R. Kevin
The rise of the state. That's a bad thing.
Suneet  G
foucault is a force to reckon with
Oct 13, 2010 Lane is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
The introduction is great...
Jacob Israel Chilton
can't wait to get back to it.
Jessica Chang
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Michel Foucault was a French philosopher, social theorist and historian of ideas. He held a chair at the Collège de France with the title "History of Systems of Thought," and lectured at the University at Buffalo and the University of California, Berkeley.

Foucault is best known for his critical studies of social institutions, most notably psychiatry, medicine, the human sciences and the prison sys
More about Michel Foucault...

Other Books in the Series

Lectures at the Collège de France (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Lectures on the Will to Know (Lectures at the Collège de France, 1970-1971)
  • Psychiatric Power: Lectures at the College de France, 1973-74
  • Abnormal: Lectures at the College de France, 1974-75
  • Lectures at the College de France, 1975-76: Society Must Be Defended
  • The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France, 1978-1979
  • On The Government of the Living: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1979-1980
  • Subjectivité et vérité. Cours au Collège de France 1980-1981
  • The Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1981-82
  • Lectures at the College de France, 1982-83: The Government of Self and Others
  • The Courage of Truth: Lectures at the College de France 1983-84 (Government of Self & Others 2)
Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison The History of Sexuality 1: An Introduction Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences The Archaeology of Knowledge & The Discourse on Language

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