Subjectivity and Truth: Foucault, Education, and the Culture of Self (Counterpoints)

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9780820481951: Subjectivity and Truth: Foucault, Education, and the Culture of Self (Counterpoints)
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This book focuses on Foucault’s later work and his (re)turn to ‘the hermeneutics of the subject’, exploring the implications of his thinking for education, pedagogy, and related disciplines. What and who is the subject of education and what are the forms of self-constitution? Chapters investigate Foucault’s notion of ‘the culture of self’ in relation to questions concerning truth (parrhesia or free speech) and subjectivity, especially with reference to the literary genres of confession and biography, and the contemporary political forms of individualization (governmentality).

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About the Author:

The Authors: Tina (A.C.) Besley is Professor of Counseling in the Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling at California State University, San Bernardino. She has degrees in geography, education, and counseling, and research interests in related areas. She is the author of numerous papers and books, including Counseling Youth: Foucault, Power, and the Ethics of Subjectivity (2006).
Michael A. Peters is Professor of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Adjunct Professor of Education at the University of Glasgow. With degrees in English literature, geography, philosophy, and education, his research interests focus on educational philosophy and policy studies. He is the author or editor of some thirty books, including most recently Deconstructing Derrida: Tasks for the New Humanities (with Peter Trifonas, 2005); Edutopias: New Utopian Thinking in Education (with John Freeman-Moir, 2006); and Building Knowledge Cultures: Education and Development in an Age of Knowledge Capitalism (with Tina (A.C.) Besley, 2006).

Review:

«An analytical rendezvous between Foucault’s writing on modern forms of power, as they are articulated in the microphysics of subjectivity and technologies of truth, and the contemporary challenges of educational theory and pedagogical practice is long overdue. In ‘Subjectivity & Truth’, Tina (A.C.) Besley and Michael A. Peters have inaugurated a vigorous discussion on the relevance of Foucault’s philosophical writings on subjectivity and truth to the pedagogical and ethical challenges confronting the contemporary educator. In this sophisticated and elegant book, Besley and Peters have dug deep at the wellspring of the interdisciplines of history, philosophy, literature, aesthetics, ethics, and cultural policy, offering an abundance of rich, thoughtful, and illuminating insights on Foucault’s extraordinary work. This book takes us beyond the banality of much of critical scholarship now being conducted in the educational field. It should be required reading for all those interested in the relevance of Foucault’s thinking to the quotidian work that we do as educational theorists and practitioners.» (Cameron McCarthy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
«It is always surprising how Foucault’s philosophical project continues to inspire. Here we have a series of penetrating and brilliant chapters on aspects of Foucault’s thought, richly embellished and utilized to inform education and the social sciences. This book represents a new and powerful contribution to the field. It will be important reading for experts and students alike.» (Mark Olssen, University of Surrey, United Kingdom; Author of ‘Michel Foucault: Materialism and Education’)
«This book represents the polished culmination of years of work by the authors on Foucault. Tina (A.C.) Besley and Michael A. Peters provide an insightful and readable analysis of Foucault’s later writings on the self, bodies, truth telling, and governmentality, at the same time skillfully linking this work to a range of other thinkers both ancient and modern. They also, very importantly, provide new applications of Foucault’s later period of thought to the field of education, opening up new and exciting ideas and directions for other researchers. This book is thoroughly recommended both for those who wish to know more in general about Foucault’s writings on the self and for those who wish to extend those ideas specifically within the area of education.» (Clare O’Farrell, Editor of ‘Foucault Studies’)
«Tina (A.C.) Besley and Michael A. Peters’ ‘Subjectivity & Truth’ is a superb contribution to Foucauldian scholarship and the study of education that helps to consider the limits of this commonsense of schooling. Rarely does one find such a wide command over the diverse writings of Foucault and the development of profound insights about contemporary social and educational issues as in this book. The volume provocatively challenges the conventions of policy studies, philosophy, and research. Not discarding the notion of change and agency, it provides strategies to diagnose the limitations of the distinctions between discourse and experience that constitute and consecrate modern school pedagogy and its theories of the child. The argument of the book is neither one of the subjectivity of the individual nor a structuralism that drives contemporary reforms. It is about the ‘thought’ and systems of reason as historical practices through which the self is produced.» (Thomas S. Popkewitz, University of Wisconsin-Madison)
«Anyone engaging Foucault today cannot help but be caught up in a whirlwind of theoretical activity fast approaching a neo-Foucauldian or even post-Foucauldian age. It is surely not clear what it means to read and write

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