“I am simply a Nietzschean”

 “I am simply a Nietzschean”


Hans Sluga


Anyone who sets out to determine Foucault’s debt to Nietzsche will have to take his last interview into account in which he characterized himself as “simply a Nietzschean.”[1] The claim deserves notice because Foucault never expressed himself in an equally forceful manner about anyone else. But it provokes also an immediate question. How could he have been “simply a Nietzschean” given the remarkable fluidity of Nietzsche’s thought and his own unwillingness to be pinned down once and for all? (“Leave it to our bureaucrats and our police to see that our papers are in order,” he had written, after all, in The Archaeology of Knowledge.[2]) Foucault understood, of course, that “there is not just one Nietzscheanism” and he was sure therefore that “one cannot say that there is a true Nietzscheanism and that this one is truer than the other.”[3] In his final interview he had emphasized, moreover, that he had never sought to reproduce Nietzsche’s thinking. Instead, he said, he had tried “as far as possible, on a certain number of issues, to see with the help of Nietzsche’s texts – but also with anti-Nietzschean theses (which are nevertheless Nietzschean!) – what can be done in this or that domain.”[4] These carefully formulated qualifications raise some additional questions: What in Nietzsche’s texts had he made his own? What specifically anti-Nietzschean theses had he entertained? And how had these been nevertheless still Nietzschean? Those questions may lead us, in turn, to consider how Foucault had come to his interest in Nietzsche in the first place, how his take on Nietzsche had changed along the wide arc of his intellectual journey, and how, finally, his professed Nietzscheanism relates to the affinity with Heidegger also invoked in the last interview. I have tried to answer some of those questions in an earlier essay[5] but I am no longer certain that my discussion went far enough in probing the complexity of Foucault’s relationship to Nietzsche. What is needed, I now think, is more attention to their respective understanding of the genealogical project. I will try to fill this lacuna without repeating what I have earlier said on the matter. This will still leave many other aspects of the relation of these two thinkers to be explored.

Asked by Alessandro Fontana in 1984 whether he would describe his work as “a new genealogy of morals,” Foucault replied famously: “If not for the solemnity of the title and the imposing mark that Nietzsche left on it, I would say yes.”[6] But we must note that he could hardly have said this before 1970. Until then he had he had dubbed himself, instead, an archaeologist of the structures of discourse. But soon after the publication of The Archaeology of Knowledge in 1969 he began to characterize his approach as genealogical in Nietzsche’s sense – a shift marked by the publication in 1971 of the essay “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History.” In that piece of writing Foucault voiced what I take to be a threefold agreement with Nietzsche: (1) with regard to the genealogical method, (2) with regard to the goals of the genealogical enterprise, and (3) with regard to its broad implications.

Every serious student of Foucault will know, however, that the use he makes of the distinction between archaeology and genealogy is not at all easy to describe. There is disagreement between the interpreters, for instance, over the question whether the genealogical method is meant to supersede the archaeological one or is supplementary to it. It is not that genealogy is historically oriented while archaeology is concerned with rigid structures; it is also not that genealogy takes a dynamic view of human knowledge whereas archaeology considers discursive structures to be static. It is also not that genealogy examines transitions between discourses, whereas archaeology studies only their internal characteristics. In The Archaeology of Knowledge Foucault writes, indeed, that events which involve “the substitution of one discursive formation for another … are, for archaeology, the most important: only archaeology, in any case, can reveal them.”[7] Archaeology is, thus, very much concerned with historical change, as should, indeed, be obvious to any reader of The Order of Things and of Foucault’s other early books. But Foucault also writes in The Archaeology of Knowledge that the archaeological enterprise is not intended “to isolate mechanisms of causality,” that it does not ask “before a set of enunciative facts … what could have motivated them (the search of contexts of formulation); nor does it seek to rediscover what is expressed in them (the task of hermeneutics); … it seeks to define specific forms of articulation.”[8] The archaeological enterprise describes, in other words, historical changes, but offers no account of what brings them about. Genealogy, on the other hand, concerns itself precisely with the mechanisms of historical change. In “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History” Foucault declares accordingly that genealogy establishes “the hazardous play of dominations,” that it “must delineate the struggle these forces wage against each other,” and that it examines “the perpetual instigation of dominations and the staging of meticulously repeated scenes of violence.” (pp. 148, 149, and 151) [9]  Genealogy, in contrast to archaeology, makes use thus of notions of domination, force, violence. Foucault conceives in this way of his own genealogy as akin to the Nietzschean project of a genealogy of morals understood as a study of the operations of the will to power. “I lay stress on this major point of historical method,” Nietzsche writes in his Genealogy, “especially as it runs counter to just that prevailing instinct and fashion which would much rather come to terms with absolute randomness, and even the mechanistic senselessness of  all events, than the theory that a power-will playing is acted out all that happens.”[10] This will-to power manifests itself, so Nietzsche also, in “spontaneous, aggressive, expansive, re-interpreting, re-directing and formative powers.”[11] It takes on everywhere the terrible hues of violence.

Such words may suggest that Nietzsche and Foucault are of one mind in their conception of the genealogical project. One is, nevertheless, forced, on a closer reading of the essay “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History,” to the conclusion that Foucault departs from Nietzsche (deliberately or unwittingly) in three significant respects. He definitely downplays Nietzsche’s interest in the question of the origin of morality; he appears to think of genealogy primarily in relation to history rather than to politics; and he seems determined to minimize Nietzsche’s interpretational conception of the genealogical method. I want to argue here that we can reach a more adequate, more fully articulated understanding of Foucault’s relation to Nietzsche by considering to what extent those charges are just.


Origin vs. Descent

Foucault declares in his essay that Nietzsche uses the term “origin” (Ursprung) often in an “unstressed” fashion as a straight alternative to the terms “formation,” “descent,” “parentage,” “birth” – Entstehung, Herkunft, Abkunft, Geburt. (p. 140) He goes on to claim without further qualification that “in the main body of The Genealogy, Ursprung and Herkunft are used interchangeably in numerous instances.” (p. 142, fn 19) This is surely an unlikely assertion since the two terms cannot easily be substituted for each other in Nietzsche’s formulations. Nietzsche begins Genealogy 2.2, for instance, with the words: “Eben das ist die lange Geschichte der Herkunft der Verantwortlichkeit” and he is surely speaking there of the long history of the emergence or formation of responsibility, not of a long history of the origin of this phenomenon since an origin cannot literally have a long history.[12] In 2.8 of the same text, he writes, on the other hand: “Das Gefühl der Schuld… hat, wie wir sahen, seinen Ursprung in dem ältesten und ursprünglichsten Personen-Verhältnis…” This should be translated to say that “the feeling of guilt has its origin, as we saw, in the oldest and most original [or, primordial] personal relationship.”[13] The word “descent” cannot without distortion be substituted for that of “origin” in this context. Such linguistic observations are, perhaps, not by themselves conclusive but they point to deeper disagreements between Foucault and Nietzsche.

In order to see how far Foucault departs from Nietzsche in his refusal to accept a real difference between Ursprung and Herkunft, we must look more closely at Nietzsche’s programmatic preface to The Genealogy of Morals. Nietzsche writes there that his ultimate goal is to construct a “real history of morals” and he warns us accordingly against an “English hypothesis-mongering into the blue.” Against such speculative hypothesizing, he wants us to consider “that which can be documented, which can actually be confirmed and has actually existed.”[14] There is no doubt of Foucault’s attraction to this kind of labor. Identifying himself, so it seems, with the Nietzschean project, Foucault speaks of genealogy approvingly as “gray, meticulous, and patiently documentary.” Such genealogy, he continues, “operates on a field of entangled and confused parchments, on documents that have been scratched over and recopied many times…Genealogy, consequently, requires patience and a knowledge of details and it depends on a vast accumulation of source materials…. In short, genealogy demands relentless erudition.”(pp. 139-140) Even before becoming a genealogist, Foucault had practiced this kind of sustained scholarship and he was subsequently to speak fondly (and somewhat self-ironically) of his membership in “one of the more ancient or more typical secret societies of the West … the great warm and tender Freemasonry of useless erudition.”[15]

Despite this broad agreement with Nietzsche, Foucault did not, however, make Nietzsche envisaged goal for such scholarship his own. He never attempted the reconstruction of “the whole, long, hard-to-decipher hieroglyphic script of man’s moral past”[16] that Nietzsche had in mind. The latter did not, of course, believe it easy to deliver such a complete history and he certainly did not imagine that he had delivered it in his Genealogy of Morals. The “On” in the full title of the work suggests, rather, that he intended it as a first exploration of the scope, nature, and possibility of such a comprehensive inquiry. The book was, in other words, not to be understood as providing a completely worked-out genealogical deduction. The three essays that make it up are, indeed, only episodic in character. While the first concentrates largely on the shift from pagan to Christian culture, the second jumps to a much earlier moment in time when our forebears first became human, and the discussion of asceticism in the third essay focuses on no particular era.  Nietzsche was, in any case, certain that no single person could realize the entire genealogical project. In an appendix to the first essay he expressed, rather, the hope that his book “might serve to give a powerful impetus in such a direction” and he called for the combined effort of many scholars to advance the genealogical study of morality.[17]

But such programmatic remarks make evident that Nietzsche was quite seriously after a complete rather than a partial history of morals. We may, of course, suspect that such an undertaking is impossible and conclude that Nietzsche was caught up here in a characteristically nineteenth-century, encyclopedic mode of thinking, one that no longer appeals to us. The thoroughly twentieth-century Foucault certainly never embarked on such a treacherous project. This may, indeed, be one of the strengths of his work but it may also, on further consideration, prove to be one of its limitations. Foucault’s genealogy is, in any case, always temporally, culturally, and subject-matter specific (it is, e.g., in the first volume of The History of Sexuality a study of the emergence of sexuality in seventeenth to nineteenth century Europe). Nietzsche, by contrast, never intended to be a “specific” intellectual of the sort that Foucault sought to be. He was, instead, after the largest possible perspective on morality (alternating that with the most close-up, frog-like, intimate view of it). It is useful to remember here the first sentence of his essay on “Truth and Lie in a Non-moral Sense” which reads: “Once upon a time, in some out of the way corner of that universe which is dispersed into numberless twinkling solar systems, there was a star upon which clever beasts invented knowing.”[18] Such a sentence would be impossible out of Foucault’s mouth. Nietzsche, we can see from this and similar formulations, was, in contrast to Foucault, after a global perspective on the human condition and, a fortiori, a complete history of morals. As part of this project he genuinely wanted to determine the origin, the start, the beginning, the birth (he uses all those terms) of morals. It remains to be seen what sense he sought to give this notion of origin.

Foucault is, of course, right in distinguishing different understandings this origin – loaded and less loaded ones. The believer who holds God to be the origin of the ten commandments, intends thereby to validate those moral principles. The origin claims to vindicate the moral principle. Nietzsche’s account of the origins of modern slave-morality, on the other hand, is meant to invalidate that morality. His genealogy is, thus, first of all destructive in character but it is meant to clear the ground at the same time for a new kind of valuation. “all sciences,” he writes in his note to the first essay of the Genealogy, “are henceforth to do preparatory work for the philosopher’s task of the future. For reasons to be explained, I will call this task political. Nietzsche’s genealogy is thus meant to be both destructive political. This has led to the charge that Nietzsche is guilty of a “genetic fallacy.” It is said that Nietzsche assumes that we can invalidate a system of values simply by establishing that it has arisen from dubious origins. But this charge must be confronted with the fact that Nietzsche himself has repeatedly acknowledged that the mere tracing of an origin does not as such determine the value or disvalue of a moral principle. He allows, in fact, that a morality may have grown out of an error, but that “the realization of this fact would not as much as touch upon is value.” [19] Clearly more is required for a destructive genealogy to work than a proof that a particular kind of value has come from a disreputable source. What is needed, for instance, is showing that our whole system of values rests on such errors and that there is nothing else to support the entire structure of values. Nietzsche evidently thought that the critique of our particular values requires a comprehensive genealogy. Thus, showing that our modern system of values originates from a moment of social resentment is not sufficient to dismantle those values. It might still be held that those values are true. What is needed then in order to complete the genealogical destruction of modern morality is a comprehensive genealogy which includes a genealogy of our concept of truth. But this can be achieved only by taking a complete view of human understanding. It appears that only a comprehensive genealogy, one that uncovers the origins of our entire system of valuation, can succeed in the destructive task that Nietzsche has set himself.[20] Nietzsche genealogy must, in other words, be understood, precisely, as an attempt at a historical uncovering of the origin of our moral system.

Since Foucault refuses to consider the possibility of such a comprehensive undertaking – perhaps for good reasons – we can’t take his genealogies to be either destructive or vindicatory in character. Neither a destruction nor a vindication of our values is, in fact, Foucault’s goal. His specific genealogies are designed, rather, to remove the impression of inevitability that generally attaches to our values. He wants to open spaces where new possibilities, potentialities for new valuations become apparent. He insists for this reason that “the work of the intellect is to show that what is, does not have to be, what it is.”[21] And he admonishes us for that same reason “to dig deep to show how things have been historically contingent, for such and such reasons intelligible but not necessary.”[22] In “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History” he writes in the same spirit that the genealogist must seek to find behind things “not a timeless and essential secret, but the secret that they have no essence or that their essence was fabricated in a piecemeal fashion from alien forms.” (p. 142) Genealogy, understood in Foucault’s sense as a history of descent, does therefore not involve the “erecting of foundations; on the contrary, it disturbs what was thought unified; it shows the heterogeneity of what was imagined consistent with itself.” (p. 147) Specific genealogies are certainly not excluded by Nietzsche but his type of genealogy goes further in wanting to destruct the entire system of values hitherto in order to erect on its ruins the edifice of a new kind of valuation.


Politics vs. History

In the second half of “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History” Foucault sets out to examine the relation of genealogy to “history in the traditional sense.” This is (to my mind) the least compelling part of his essay. For one thing, it is largely written in an unsatisfactorily hyperbolic style – as if Foucault were trying to channel Nietzsche’s voice. The result is, however, quite unlike the ironic, incisive tone of Nietzsche’s writing (and is also not indicative of the much more sober style of Foucault’s own later genealogical work).

According to Foucault, genealogy in contrast to traditional history is “wirkliche Historie” – a term he renders repeatedly and dubiously as “effective history” (“l’histoire ‘effective’”).[23] How are we to understand this supposed contrast? Foucault’s characterization is far from compelling if it is meant to give expression to Nietzsche’s conception of genealogy and it does not even conform to his own later genealogical practice. Traditional history, Foucault writes, “transposes the relationship ordinarily established between the eruption of an event and necessary continuity;” genealogy, on the other hand, “deals with events in terms of their unique characteristics, their most acute manifestations.” (p. 154) One might object that Nietzsche’s sought-after comprehensive genealogy and his attempted integration of genealogy into the larger narrative of the world as will to power are precise opposites of an isolation of “a profusion of entangled events.” The notion of the event, of “countless lost events, without a landmark or a point of reference” (p. 155) plays, in any case, no role in Nietzsche’s thought. Foucault’s counterclaim can only be understood in terms of his refusal to accept the comprehensive nature of Nietzsche’s genealogical project. His emphasis on the isolated event take us back, in any case, to The Archaeology of Knowledge where archaeology is described as “the project of a pure description of discursive events,” an investigation that “in the name of methodological rigour” concerns, in the first instance, “a population of dispersed events.” [24] This kind of archaeology requires that the “pre-existing forms of continuity” and all the usual “syntheses that are accepted without question, must remain in suspense.” In so far as continuities are accepted, “we must show that they do not come about of themselves, but are always the result of a construction the rules of which must be known.”[25] We can’t object to this in Nietzsche’s name, if Foucault means only to say that the continuities that traditional history recognizes may need to be replaced by others. That is, indeed, part of Nietzsche’s undertaking. But Nietzsche does not subscribe to the event-atomism that Foucault is basic to The Archaeology of Knowledge. We can conclude, however,  that in “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History” Foucault’s characterization of the genealogical project is still colored by his own earlier archaeological mode of thought and as such does justice to neither Nietzsche’s nor to his own subsequent understanding of the genealogical enterprise.

Foucault’s assertion that Nietzsche wants to contrast genealogy as “wirkliche Historie” to traditional historical scholarship is, moreover, based on a misreading. The preface to Nietzsche’s Genealogy which serves here as reference point differentiates genealogy as real history from to traditional scholarship but from the imaginative inventions perpetrated by Paul Ree and the English moralists. The late Nietzsche says, in fact, little about the relation of genealogy to historical scholarship of the traditional sort. He makes no attempt, in particular, to connect what he says about genealogy to his own earlier considerations in the second of his Untimely Meditation, the essay “On the Use and Abuse of History” and its dissection of the various forms of historical consciousness. That comparison is, on the other hand, one of Foucault’s major concerns in “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History.” While focusing on these two moments in Nietzsche’s thought Foucault pays little attention to Nietzsche’s ultimate motivation in writing The Genealogy of Morals which is, as I have already remarked, political rather than historical in character. It is helpful to note at this point that the closest antecedent to Nietzsche’s Genealogy is not the essay on “The Use and Abuse of History” but his book on The Birth of Tragedy. That work operates, of course, with a different timeframe from the Genealogy; it is not at all concerned with the rise of Judeo-Christian morality (out of “malice,” Nietzsche claims in the preface to the second edition of that work); but, like The Genealogy of Morals, The Birth of Tragedy tells a story of the formation of our modern system of values. In the earlier work that value-system is called scientific rationalism and Socratic optimism, in the later slave-morality – terms which are not altogether unrelated in Nietzsche’s mind. Both works can be considered genealogical in character since both mean to undermine the values whose genesis they describe; and both advance in place of the discredited system of values a new “life-affirming,” tragic world view that they see pre-figured in early Greek civilization. I emphasize these deep similarities, because that allows us to get clearer also on Nietzsche’s motivation for writing The Genealogy of Morals. The crucial point here is that The Birth of Tragedy is clearly a political treatise. Nietzsche wrote it in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian war and under the stimulus of Richard Wagner’s revolutionary sentiments in order to advance a radically new politics. The Genealogy is motivated by those same concerns. When Nietzsche writes in it that “the earth has been a madhouse for too long,” and that in a stronger age than our decaying present a redeeming man will appear,[26] we must not forget that he refers us to Napoleon as well as to Zarathustra as such redeeming figures.[27] The political context of The Genealogy becomes even clearer when we read the book together with the aphorisms that Nietzsche composed at more or less the same time. Genealogy, it then becomes evident, is to be a tool in the emergence of a “great new European politics.” This new kind of politics involves “more comprehensive forms of dominion, whose like has never existed.” We see the appearance of “a master race, the ‘future masters of the earth’,” who take hold of “the destinies of the earth, so as to work as artists upon ‘man’ himself.”[28] These ‘legislators of the future “will say: ‘Thus it shall be!’ And they alone ‘determine the ‘whither’ and the ‘wherefore,’ what is useful and what constitutes utility for men.” [29] The formulations are well-known and notorious and they must surely be read together with other Nietzschean thoughts that point in altogether different directions. They make clear, however, that at the time of writing his Genealogy of Morals Nietzsche was preoccupied with a large-scale (even megalomaniac) political agenda and that the question of how genealogy relates to his earlier tri-partite division of history is of little concern to him at this point. None of that is, however, visible from Foucault’s essay

We should not be surprised then that that there is no single reference to either The Birth of Tragedy or The Will to Power in Foucault’s essay even though the piece contains more than sixty references to Nietzsche’s writings and quotes him copiously from a variety of sources. Foucault’s own genealogical investigations will, of course, turn political in due course though never on the scale that Nietzsche envisages. Where Nietzsche thinks (in a characteristically nineteenth century fashion) in  terms of great radical ruptures, Foucault prefers to consider “mobile and transitory points of resistance, producing cleavages in a society that shift about, fracturing unities and effecting regroupings.”[30] But this later concern with politics is still to come. In “Nietzsche’, Genealogy, History” view of genealogy as a political undertaking has still to take shape. We must wait for the pointedly political tone of Discipline and Punish, The History of Sexuality, vol. 1, and the lecture course Society Must be Defended for this to occur.

I am emphasizing this divergence of Nietzsche’s actual goals from those that Foucault ascribes to him in “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History” not in order to attack his scholarly acumen, but in order to raise the question how the second part of that essay is to be understood. To put it differently: why is Foucault is so concerned with asking what kind of historical inquiry genealogy is meant to be? My answer is that his reading of Nietzsche stands at this point still in the shadow of his own earlier archaeological work. We can read the second part of Foucault’s essay, indeed, as a piece of self-criticism directed at his own earlier practice of writing history. What he says about Nietzsche serves him, in other words, to advance a new and more radical view of writing history. Foucault’s work in the early, archaeological period had, of course, also been historically oriented (as I have already emphasized) just as the work of the genealogical period would prove to be. But in the archaeological period Foucault had had nothing to say about the role of the archaeologist himself – this in addition to his silence about the forces that move the historical process. In his preface to the English edition of The Order of Things Foucault had written, for instance: “In this work, then, I left, the problem of causes to one side. I chose instead to confine myself to describing the transformations themselves, thinking that this would be an indispensable step if, one day, a theory of scientific change and epistemological causality was to be constructed.”[31] But The Order of Things is characterized also by its description of the development of modern thought from a majestically objectifying point of view. Foucault writes thus: “I tried to explore the scientific discourse not from the point of view of the individuals who are speaking, nor from the view of the formal structures of what they are saying, but from the point of view of the rules that come into play in the very existence of such discourse.” It is understandable enough that he wants to avoid the “phenomenological approach” which gives “priority to the observing subject,” and even more that he shuns an approach that might lead to postulating a transcendental consciousness.[32] But setting all this aside, we are still left with the question: what is the position, the qualification, the place of knowledge from which the archaeologist is so majestically describing the changing scenery of the Western episteme? From what epistemic position is Foucault himself speaking? If every episteme structures, determines, and delimits a field of discourse, what is the status of the discourse in which we survey and commensurate different and incommensurable epistemes? These are questions to which the archaeological Foucault provides no answer and it is difficult to imagine how he could provide them.

It appears to have taken Nietzsche’s genealogy to alert Foucault to this blind spot in his archaeological undertaking. In “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History” he reveals, in any case, a new awareness of the need to determine the place of the historian himself. He can write now almost as if he were commenting on his own earlier self: “Historians take unusual pain to erase the elements in their work which reveal their grounding in a particular time and place, their preferences in a controversy – the unavoidable obstacles of their passion.” (pp. 156-157) Foucault’s initial conclusions from this insight are radical, indeed more radical than they need to be. In contrast to the traditional historian – but in contrast also to the Foucauldian archaeologist – the genealogist, so he insists now, has a historical sense that “is parodic, directed against reality, and opposes the theme of history as reminiscence and recognition.” (p. 160) The genealogist turns this sense of parody, moreover, immediately on himself. He “will push the masquerade to its limit and prepare the great carnival of time where masks are constantly reappearing. No longer the identification of our faint individuality with the solid identities of the past, but our ‘unrealization’ through the excessive choice of identities.” (pp. 160-161) Foucault seeks to make out that this is also Nietzsche’s view. This impression is re-enforced in the English translation when it makes Nietzsche proclaim: “Perhaps, we can discover a realm where originality is again possible as parodists of history and buffoons of God,” (p. 161) as if Nietzsche was identifying with this particular form of “historical spirit.” We must observe, however, first of all, that Nietzsche’s German says simply “perhaps, we discover” which Foucault renders as “perhaps, we will discover” (“Peut-être découvrirons-nous”) and which our translator, in turn, makes into “perhaps, we can discover”  thus making  Nietzsche express the hope that such a state might come about. But the original German sentence says no such thing; it is uttered, rather, on behalf of “the hybrid European – a rather ugly plebeian, all in all” who “definitely requires a costume.”[33] The “parodic” conception of genealogical history does not, fortunately, survive into Foucault’s subsequent genealogical work. Though his comments about the status of his genealogical investigations are sometimes self-deprecatory, there is no reason to think that these investigations are meant to be mere parodies, directed against reality.

There is, of course, a great deal of continuity in Foucault’s thinking about the subject that also surfaces in these words. Even in his archaeological period, he had spoken of the need to deconstruct the subject. But in “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History” he was doing something more. He was turning, in effect, to the deconstruction of the subject that writes history and thus to the destruction of his own earlier work as an archaeologist. Genealogical inquiry is, he was saying now, meant to deprive the self of the reassuring stability of life and nature. Two points stand out from Foucault’s dense formulations. The first is that the genealogical inquiry cannot lay claim to a detached, objective, and timeless truth, but must understand itself as a practical tool. “Knowledge,” Foucault writes accordingly, “is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting.” (p. 154) The second is that such an undertaking destroys altogether the idea of a fixed human identity. The genealogical enterprise, far from being a search for such an identity, is, in fact, committed to its dissipation. Instead of postulating solid identities we are told in the last sentence of the essay that we must turn to “the destruction of the man who maintains knowledge by the injustice proper to the will to knowledge.” (p. 164) The violence of these formulations reflects,  perhaps, here most directly the violence of Foucault’s turn against his own earlier work and scholarly self. But the real insight that he derived from this transitional moment still needed to be refined until finally he could write in the second volume of his History of Sexuality: “There is irony in those efforts one makes to alter one’s way of looking at things, to change the boundaries of what one knows and to venture out from there. Did mine actually result in a different way of thinking? Perhaps at most they made it possible to go back through what I was already thinking, to think it differently, and to see what I had done from a new vantage point and in a clearer light. Sure of having traveled far, one finds that one is looking down on oneself from above. The journey rejuvenates things, and ages the relationship with oneself.”[34] The calmly reflective tone of these words takes one far beyond anything Nietzsche (or, for that matter, a “simple” Nietzschean) could have said; they reveal, instead, Foucault’s deepening attachment to the ancient world, to stoic values and attitudes, to the classical care of the self. With their help, so it seems, he has come to a post-Nietzschean moment. But that he should have reached this point was, of course, due once more to Nietzsche and his intensive concern with antiquity. I am inclined to read Foucault’s last interview as an expression of the same post-Nietzschean spirit. His generous recognition of the thought of Heidegger and Nietzsche, never before put into words, his broad vision of his own work, the equanimity of his voice – they all speak of an advance beyond Nietzsche. In his modest characterization of himself as “simply a Nietzschean” he is at once acknowledge the significance of Nietzsche for the trajectory of his thinking and gesturing beyond the Nietzschean origins.



There is yet another point at which we can discern Foucault’s peculiarly post-Nietzschean stance. For that we must turn to his characterization of Nietzsche’s interpretational method in “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History.” Nietzsche considers it a crucial insight that genealogy must employ a method of interpretation. Foucault’s essay, on the other hand, speaks of this matter in only one short paragraph when he writes that “the development of humanity is a history of interpretations” and that genealogy is concerned with “the emergence of different interpretations” of such things as “morals, ideals, and metaphysical concepts” and specifically also “of the concept of liberty or of the ascetic life.” (p. 152) But he dismisses as purely metaphysical the thought that such interpretations might bring about “the slow exposure of the meaning hidden in an origin.” Instead, he characterizes interpretation as “the violent surreptitious appropriation of a system of rules, which in itself has no essential meaning, in order to impose a direction, to bend it to a new will, to force its participation in a different game.” (pp. 151-152) We may take this to be a plausible summary of Nietzsche’s views but where the idea of interpretation is absolutely central to Nietzsche, Foucault’s rudimentary treatment of it reveals a degree of skepticism towards the whole hermeneutic enterprise. This skepticism is well-known to us from his earlier work. Thus, Foucault had written in The Archaeology of Knowledge that archaeological investigation is certainly not meant to uncover an interpretation. “It is to establish what I am quite willing to call a positivity. To analyse a discursive formation therefore is to deal with a group of verbal performances at the level of the statements and of the form of positivity that characterizes them”[35]

Interpretation plays, of course, a very different role in Nietzsche’s thought. This is most evident from the provocative formula that “there are no moral phenomena at all, only a moral interpretation of phenomena…”[36] The aphorism is crucial to understanding Nietzsche’s genealogical enterprise, but one must admit that it is not without difficulties. These arise from its distinction between phenomena and their moral interpretation, a distinction Nietzsche appears to question elsewhere when he objects bluntly to a positivism that takes phenomena to be basic facts with the words: “No, facts, is precisely what there is not, only interpretations.”[37] And in another passage he writes: “There are no facts, everything is in flux, incomprehensible, elusive; what is relatively most enduring is – our opinions,” and, thus, presumably our interpretations.[38] One might argue, of course, that in denying moral phenomena and allowing only moral interpretations of phenomena Nietzsche does not mean to separate phenomena from their moral interpretation, that he is saying only that the sphere of the moral is a sphere of interpretation. But this is not quite correct. In The Genealogy of Morals his account of punishment, for instance, clearly distinguishes between the practices that enter into our system of punishment and our varying moral interpretation of them. The correct reading is, rather, that Nietzsche known of different kinds of interpretation. This allows him to distinguish between (historical, social) phenomena, on the one hand, and their moral interpretation, on the other. The phenomena of which his aphorism speaks are then not identifiable as un-interpreted, bare facts of the kind the positivist postulates; they present themselves to us, rather, as, interpreted, but not yet as interpreted in moral terms. There are for Nietzsche, in other words, different layers or strata of interpretation and their distinction is crucial in genealogical inquiry.

The formula that there are no moral phenomena at all; only a moral interpretation of phenomena is important for a number of reasons. It tells us, first of all, that the history of morals is a history of interpretation and that this history originates, in consequence, where interpretation originates, i.e., in the human sphere. If Nietzsche did not make this assumption his attempt to trace “the whole, long, hard-to-decipher hieroglyphic script of man’s moral past” would, indeed, be outlandish. According to Paul Ree and the English theorists, a comprehensive history of morals would have to include an account of the entire process of biological evolution; it would have to study the slow emergence of altruistic and egoistic drives in social animal species; and it would also have to search for the origins of sentience in animals, and for the growth of their capacity to experience pleasure and pain. But these natural, biological phenomena have no moral significance as such for Nietzsche. Nietzsche subscribes accordingly to neither an ethological nor a utilitarian ethics. He is no moral naturalist. He holds, rather, that morality appears only when the natural phenomena are subjected to moral interpretation. He writes in this spirit in The Gay Science: “The distinctive invention of the founders of religion is, first: to posit a particular kind of life and everyday customs… – and then: to bestow on this life style an interpretation that makes it appear to be illuminated by the highest values so that this life style becomes something for which one fights and under certain circumstances sacrifices one’s life.” Jesus (or, more likely, Paul) discovered the life of small people living in the Roman provinces and “he offered an exegesis, he read the highest meaning and value into it – and with this also the courage to despise every other way of life.” The origin of a religion is, in other words, always to be found in “a long festival of recognition.”[39] The assumption that the moral resides at the level of our interpretation of the phenomena explains, furthermore, why Nietzsche’s Genealogy is so much concerned with the terms of our moral language and why he proposes an academic essay contest in furtherance of the genealogical project on the question: “What signposts does linguistics, especially the study of etymology, give to the history of the evolution of moral concepts?”[40] It is true that he calls also for the participation of physiologists and physicians, for ethnological, psychological, and medical studies in addition to philosophical and historical ones, but even then the decisive question is for him that of a “physiological illumination and interpretation” of all tables of values. The entire Genealogy must, in fact, be read as a hermeneutics of the history of moral interpretations. The passage from master- to story of the slave-morality reveals, for instance, how the same social reality (that of relations of domination) can receive two different, and indeed opposed interpretations. The history of punishment is a long history of our interpretation of human suffering and cruelty. The analysis of asceticism has to be conducted in terms of the question what ascetic ideals might mean. They have, in fact, many historical meanings and interpretations. Nietzsche’s fundamental insight is that human beings “would rather will nothingness than not will” for the will to nothingness still provides an interpretation of the human condition whereas not to will is to give up on the whole enterprise of giving meaning to the phenomena.

This kind of consideration plays, however, a negligible role in Foucault’s “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History.” It was nonetheless to bear fruit later on in Foucault’s own genealogical work; but it did so in a radically transformed fashion that makes it difficult for us to identify the Nietzschean roots. One of the insights of Nietzsche’s hermeneutics is that we put interpretations on interpretations and that moral interpretation, in particular, always presupposes other interpretations from which we can and must separate it in order to gain a proper view of the moral. An analogous thought can be found in Foucault’s characterization of political power in the late nineteen seventies and his overall characterization of power in the nineteen eighties. Political power, he said in this first period, is power acting on power relations, and in the second he described power in general as action acting on actions. While Nietzsche understood moral interpretation as supervening on others, Foucault treated political power or even power itself as supervenient on other relations. The parallels are significant since interpretation and the will to power are for Nietzsche related phenomena. Interpretation is, according to Nietzsche, “introduction of meaning – not ‘explanation;’” it is in most cases not the recovery of a meaning that is already there but the adding of a new interpretation “over an old interpretation that has become incomprehensible, that is now itself only a sign.”[41]  Nietzsche concludes: “Our values are interpreted into things. Is there then any meaning in the in itself? Is meaning not necessarily relative meaning and perspective? All meaning is will to power (all relative meaning resolves itself into it.)”[42]

Foucault came to the idea that power relations are layered on top of each other and that political power is always supervenient on other power relations in the late nineteen seventies. Shortly after the publication of The History of Sexuality, vol. 1. Lucette Finas interviewed him in the hope of getting him to expand on the theme of sexuality. But Foucault declared quickly that the whole point of the book had for him in reality been “a re-elaboration of the theory of power,” adding sarcastically: “I’m not sure that the mere pleasure of writing about sexuality would have provided me with sufficient motivation.”[43] The impetus for thinking about the problem of power, he added, had come to him “during the course of a concrete experience that I had with prisons, starting in 1971-72.”[44] This had left him realizing that one needed to substitute a “technical and strategic” understanding of power for the traditional, “judicial and negative” one. The experience had taught him to reject thinking of power in terms of “exclusion, rejection, denial, obstruction, occultation, etc.,” and to focus, instead, on its capacity to “make positive mechanisms appear.”[45] Such a perspective could, in fact, help to analyze institutions “from the standpoint of power relations, rather than vice versa,” as he was to put it elsewhere.[46] And this would make evident in particular that the institution of the state could not account “for all the apparatuses in which power is organized.”[47]  There existed, in fact, relations of power “between all points of the social body,” as, for instance, “between a man and a woman, between the members of a family, between a master and his pupil, between everyone who knows and everyone who does not.”[48] One needed, in other words, to assume the existence of a myriad of particular mechanisms of power.

But if power relations are ubiquitous and politics is to be conceived in terms of them, does it not follow that everything is political? By 1977, some of Foucault’s more adventurous readers were, indeed, drawing that sweeping conclusion. The same thought was clearly also on the mind of Foucault’s interviewer when she asked: “Can one adopt a political standpoint regarding power? You speak of sexuality as a political apparatus. Could you define the sense you give the word ‘political’?”[49] But Foucault was not to be trapped into endorsing the simplistic formula that was being ascribed to him.  He responded cautiously instead: “To say that ‘everything is political’ is to affirm this ubiquity of relations of force and their immanence in the political field but this is to give oneself the task, which as yet has scarcely been outlined, of disentangling this indefinite knot.”[50]  One had to remember, he added, that “political analysis and criticism have in a large measure still to be invented.”[51] This was not meant to express ignorance of the long history of political thought, but to affirming the belief that political analysis had to be radically recast, that it could not rely on the old understanding of politics in terms of the institutional order of a polis or state and their rule or government, and that we needed to re-conceptualize the domain of politics instead in terms of the concept of power. Such a rethinking of the basic concepts of politics had, in fact, been on Foucault’s mind at least since the beginning of the nineteen seventies when he had told Gilles Deleuze that the concepts of domination, rule, and government “are far too fluid and require analysis.”[52]

Foucault obviously understood that there was something seductive in the formula that everything is political, just as there is in saying “everything is sexual,” or “everything is in the mind,” or “all action is selfish,” or even “everything is beautiful in its own way.” Each of these utterances seems at first sight illuminating in its stark generality (the “Wow!” effect) but each of them proves on closer examination to be empty of meaning. Each robs, indeed, its crucial term (be it political, sexual, mental, selfish, or beautiful) of its discriminatory power. This is not where Foucault was going. He was ready to grant that all social relations belonged to “a political field,” he said to Lucette Finas, but he meant to speak of politics itself instead very precisely as a “more-or-less global strategy for coordinating and directing those relations.”[53]

The simplest picture of politics that one might derive from this formulation would involve a division between a domain of inherently non-political relations (the “political field”) and a second level of “strategic” political relations of power that coordinate and direct relations within this domain. But this two-tiered picture is for two reasons insufficient: (a) the relations within the domain of power-relations, the political field, are for Foucault by no means to be considered “elementary and by nature ‘neutral’.”[54] They are, rather, typically the outcome of other and earlier strategic interventions. (b) The strategic relations that constitute politics are once more relations of power and so themselves once again potentially subject to strategies of co-ordination and direction. Relations within a family, for instance, constitute a political field in Foucault’s sense and we are, in principle, be able to distinguish within this field among relations that are subject to strategic, supervenient interventions and those relations that constitute such interventions even though the distinction may, in practice, be often invisible in this relatively informal environment. The difference between political strategies of co-ordination and direction and the domain to which they are said to apply becomes, however, evident when we consider more organized institutions. Take, for instance, the case of law making. Legislating is a political activity which issues in laws that concern prescribed, permitted, or forbidden activities. Thus traffic rules regulate the relations between people engaged in driving behavior. Economic legislation organizes and legitimates business relations. Here the distinction between the supervenient, strategic, political intervention (the legislating) and the power relations that are being coordinated and regulated (the subject of the legislation) is straightforward. Power relations within a particular social sphere may at times seem immune to political intervention. Family life may at some point have been considered immune to in this fashion, but the relations between parents and children and between marriage partners have today become highly politicized. Foucault’s tells Lucette Finas in this sense that it is necessary now to oppose a process of politicization to the use of existing techniques and mechanisms of power. The basic political challenge of our time is not for him the choice between political positions in “a pre-existing set of possibilities.” It is, rather, “to imagine and to bring into being new schemas of politicization.” He illustrates this by adding: “To the vast new techniques of power correlated with multinational economies and bureaucratic states, one must oppose a politicization which will take new forms.”[55] Corporate and bureaucratic power have been for too long outside the purview of politics and must now be subjected to political intervention. Ever new areas of social relations may in this way become politicized over time while others may cease to be so. Foucault had made a similar point already some years earlier when he had said in an another interview that “the frontier of the political has shifted, and so now subjects such as psychiatry, internment, or the medicalization of a given population have become political problems” and politics has in this way “colonized areas that had been almost political yet not recognized as such.”[56]

The idea that power relations are layered on top of each other to form a complex web of interconnections and that political power, in particular, power must always be understood as supervenient on other power relations was to take a new turn when Foucault came to think more and more about action at the end of the nineteen seventies. Eventually he declared even that it had never been his goal “to analyze the phenomena of power, nor to elaborate the foundations of such an analysis.”[57] Instead, he claimed now to be interested in “the problematizations through which being offers itself to be, necessarily, thought” and such problematizations concerned, in turn, “those intentional and voluntary actions by which men not only set themselves rules of conduct, but also seek to transform themselves.”[58] This momentous change in language indicates a shift of Foucault’s attention from politics to ethics, that is, from social relations to the individual subject. Hence, he could also write that “it is not power, but the subject, that is the general theme of my research.”[59] The shift did not mean, however, that he had completely given up on the concept of power or lost politics altogether from view. As late as 1983, he maintained  “that all human relationships are to a certain degree relationships of power,”[60] but where he had previously tried to conceive action in terms of power relations, he now went about it in the opposite direction. Power was now to be understood in terms of action, politics in terms of ethics, and social relations in terms of an aesthetics of existence (the care of others in terms of the care of the self).

The move became first apparent in the late nineteen seventies when Foucault began to speak of political power “as a mode of action upon the actions of others.”[61] This formulation retained the earlier insight that politics involves supervenient relations; it added, in fact, nothing new that idea; but the relations in question were now to be understood as relations in action rather than as effects of power. This marked a profound change in the way in which Foucault now understood politics and a dramatic advance in his analysis of the concept of the political. This is explicit in the essay “The Subject and Power” of 1982 which we can summarize in the following terms: (1) “What defines a relationship of power,” Foucault writes succinctly, “is that it is a mode of action.”[62] (2) And the exercise of power is to be understood specifically “as a mode of action upon action.”[63] (3) Power “exists only as exercised by some on others.” The term

designates, in fact, “relationships between ‘partners’.”[64] (4) “Power relations are rooted in the whole network of the social.”[65] To live in a society means to live in such a way that some individuals act on the actions of others. “A society without power relations can only be an abstraction”[66] (5) The exercise of power is concerned with “government” in a broad sense of the word. It is characteristic of our own period  – not of all “government” – that power has become “progressively governmentalized, that is to say, elaborated, rationalized, and centralized in the form of, or under the auspices of, state institutions.”[67]

With this new conception of power, in hand, Foucault could now also the difference between power and force – terms he had used almost indiscriminately earlier on – and explicate  the relation between power and freedom – which had previously been mysterious. “A man who is chained up and beaten is subject to force being exerted over him, not power,” Foucault could now argue. But if the man can be induced to talk, rather than submit to death, “then he has been caused to behave in a certain way… He has submitted to government” and thus has submitted to power. As such the individual remains free – however marginal his freedom may be – and it is this freedom which guarantees that “there is no power without potential refusal or revolt.”[68] The proposition “where there is power, there is resistance,” which he had so dogmatically asserted in the first volume of The History of Sexuality was thus finally receiving its justification. At the same time Foucault was also now able to identify the role of freedom in politics and the puzzling relation between power and freedom. He could write now that “power is exercised only over free subjects and only insofar as they are ‘free.’”[69] At the same time, he thought it characteristic of power, as “a certain type of relation between individuals ….that some men can more or less entirely determine other men’s conduct.”[70]

In conceiving of power relations that supervene on other relations of power and subsequently of actions hat supervene on other actions Foucault was, in effect, elaborating what Nietzsche had said about the stratification of supervenient interpretations. But he was, in this way, also making progress beyond Nietzsche. Nietzsche’s language of interpretation suggests the image of genealogy as part of a scholarly hermeneutics; in speaking of the supervenience of power and action, the later Foucault said more clearly than Nietzsche that genealogy is above all a political undertaking. At the same time he was moving beyond a Nietzschean viewpoint. In focusing increasingly on action rather than power he set aside Nietzsche’s global perspective of the world itself as will to power in favor of a more limited, more distinctly human view of our distinctive form of life.



How important is it to determine correctly the relations between Nietzsche and Foucault? What is to be gained from identifying the similarities and differences in their respective conception of genealogy? Are these questions of interest only for the historian of ideas?

Their real significance lies elsewhere: in the fact that genealogy is still an incomplete project. While we possess today all kinds of genealogical studies, it is still not clear what genealogy as such can deliver. Does it necessarily lead to the critical destruction of the values it examines? Is it meant to establish, perhaps, only the contingency of individual systems of values? Can it sometimes also vindicate values? [71] More broadly we can ask: what is the range of genealogical research? Should there not be a genealogy of politics as well as of morality, of aesthetics as well as of religion? Do the concepts of will, of will-to-power, of power not also all call for genealogical investigation? Does the genealogical enterprise not also itself require genealogical dissection? What is meant to be the ultimate outcome of our efforts in the genealogical field?  Nietzsche writes: “To introduce a meaning – this task still remains to be done, assuming there is no meaning yet. Thus it is with sounds, but also with the fate of peoples: they are capable of the most different interpretations and direction toward different goals. On a yet higher level is to posit a goal and mold facts according to it; that is, active interpretation and not merely conceptual translation.”[72] Genealogy here turns out to be history under the auspices of a politics of the future. Foucault came to see it eventually in similar terms. There was, for him, first of all the critical part of genealogy. “In its critical aspect… philosophy is that which calls into question domination at every level and in every form in which it exists, whether political, economic, sexual, institutional, or what have you,” he said in January of 1984.[73] But he realized also that “since the nineteenth century, great political institutions and great political parties have confiscated the process of political creation.” And this should be combated. What is needed instead is “political innovation, political creation, and political experimentation outside the great political parties, and outside the normal or ordinary program.”[74] There had to take place the production of “instruments for polymorphic, varied, and individually modulated relationships.” Foucault concluded: “We have to dig deeply to show how things have been historically contingent, for such and such reasons intelligible but not necessary.  We must make the intelligible appear against a background of emptiness and deny its necessity. We must think that what exists is far from filling all possible spaces. To make a truly unavoidable challenge to the question: What can be played?”[75]

Foucault adopted thus, eventually, Nietzsche’s conception of genealogy as a political undertaking. But the kind of politics he envisaged differed radically from the one Nietzsche had in mind. Where genealogy was for Nietzsche meant to open up the possibility of new forms of domination, it Foucault meant it to open up new spaces of freedom. Close to Nietzsche in one respect, he was even here far from being “simply a Nietzschean.” His qualifications of that claim in his last interview are much to the point.


[1] Michel Foucault, Foucault Live, translated by John Johnston, edited by Sylvere

Lotringer, Semiotexte, New York 1989, p. 327. (I refer to this text hereafter as FL)

[2] Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, translated by A. M. Sheridan, Pantheon Books, New York 1972, p. 17. (Hereafter AK).

[3] FL, p. 247.

[4] FL, p. 327.

[5] Hans Sluga, “Foucault’s Encounter with Heidegger and Nietzsche,” in The Cambridge Companion to Foucault, 2nd edition, edited by Gary Gutting, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2005, pp. 210-239.

[6] FL, pp. 310-311.

[7] Ibid., p. 171.

[8] Ibid., p. 162.

[9] All page references within the text are to “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History,” in Language, Counter-Memory, Practice, ed. By Donald F. Bouchard, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y., 1977.

[10] GM, 2:13.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Curiously enough, Maudemarie Clarke and Alan J. Swensen translate the sentence as: “Precisely this is the long history of the origins of responsibility.” (On the Genealogy of Morality, Hackett Publishing, Indianapolis 1998, p. 36.) But this is surely just a sloppy bit of translation as the unaccounted for plural (“origins”) indicates.  

[13] Clark and Swensen are again careless when they render Nietzsche’s “ursprünglichstes Personen-Verhältnis” as “most primitive relationship.” (Loc. Cit., p. 45)

[14] Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality, edited by Keith Ansell-Pearson, translated by Carol Diethe, in, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1994, (hereafter cited as GM), preface, 7.

[15] Michel Foucault, Power/Knowledge. Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977, edited by Colin Gordon, Pantheon Books New York 1980,  p. 79.

[16] GM, preface, 7.

[17] GM, 1, note.

[18] Friedrich Nietzsche, “On Truth and Lie in a Nonmoral Sense,” in Philosophy and Truth. Selections from Nietzsche’s Notebooks of the early 1870’s,  edited and translated by Daniel Breazeale, Humanities Press, Atlantic Highlands, N.J., 1979, p. 79.

[19] Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, translated by Walter Kaufmann, Vintage Books, New York 1974, 345.(Hereafter GS)

[20] See, for instance, GS 110-115.

[21] FL, p. 252.

[22] FL, p. 209.

[23] See “Nietzsche, la généalogie, l’histoire,” in Dits et Écrits. 1954-1988, vol. 2, Gallimard, Paris 1994, p. 147. I note, in passing that the concept of the “effective” statement (not “effective history”) belongs to the vocabulary of The Archaeology of Knowledge.

[24] AK, pp. 27 and 22.

[25] AK, p. 25.

[26] GM, 2:22 and 2:24.

[27] GM, 1:16.

[28] The Will to Power, translated by Walter Kaufmann and R. J. Hollingdale, Vintage Books, New York 1968, 960. (Hereafter WP)

[29] WP, 972.

[30] The History of Sexuality, vol. 1, translated by Robert Hurley, Pantheon Books, New York 1978, p. 96.(Hereafter HS)

[31] The Order of Things, Vintage Books, New York 1994, p. xiii.

[32] Ibid, p. xiv.

[33] Beyond Good and Evil, translated by R. J. Hollingdale, Penguin Books,  London 1973, 223 (Translation modified; the text hereafter cited as BGE).

[34] The Use of Pleasure, translated by Robert Hurley, Vintage Books, New York 1986,  p.11.

[35] AK, p. 125.

[36] BGE, 108.

[37] WP, 481.

[38] WP, 604.

[39] GS, 354.

[40] GM, 1, note.

[41] WP, 605.

[42] WP, 590.

[43] Michel Foucault, “The History of Sexuality,” in, Power/Knowledge, loc. cit., p. 187. 

[44] Ibid., p. 184.

[45] Ibid., pp. 183 and 186.

[46] Michel Foucault, “The Subject and Power,” Essential Works, vol. 3, p. 343.

[47] “The History of Sexuality,” loc. cit., p. 188.

[48] Ibid., p. 187

[49] “The History of Sexuality,” p. 189.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Ibid, p. 190.

[52] Michel Foucault, “Intellectuals and Power,” in Language, Counter-memory, Practice, p. 213.

[53] Ibid., p. 189.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Ibid., p. 190.

[56] Michel Foucault, “Prisons at asiles dans le mécanismes du pouvoir,” in Dits et Ecrits, vol. 2, p. 524, quoted in Didier Eribon, Insult and the Making of the Gay Self, translated by Michael Lucey, Duke U. P., Durham and London 2004, p. 293.

[57]  “The Subject and Power,” loc. cit.,  p. 326.

[58] Michel Foucault, The Use of Pleasure, translated by Robert Hurley, Vintage Books, New York 1986, pp. 11 and 10.

[59] “The Subject and Power,” loc. cit., p. 327.

[60] Michel Foucault, “The Risks of Security,” in Essential Works, vol. 3, loc. cit., p. 372.

[61] “The Subject and Power,” loc. cit., p. 341 and passim.

[62] Ibid., p. 340.

[63] Ibid. p. 341.

[64] Ibid, p. 340.

[65] Ibid, p. 345.

[66] Ibid, p. 343.

[67] Ibid, p. 345.

[68] Michel Foucault, “Omnes et Singulatim: Toward a Critique of Political Reason,” Essential Works, vol. 3, loc. cit., p. 324.

[69] “Subject and Power,” loc. cit., p. 342.

[70] Michel Foucault, “Omnes et Singulatim,” loc. cit., p. 324.

[71] A intriguing attempt at a vindicatory form of genealogy is made by Bernard Williams, Truth and Truthfulness.

[72] WP, 605.

[73] “The Ethics of the Concern of the Self as  Practice of Freedom,” The Essential Works, vol. 2, The New Press, New York 1997, pp. 300-301.

[74] “Sex, Power, and the Politics of Identity,” The Essential Works, vol. 2, loc. cit., p. 172.

[75] “Friendship as a Way of Life,” The Essential Works, vol. 2,,loc. cit., pp. 139-140.

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