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Recent discussions on Foucault's work on the care of the self have centred on its apparent excessive individualist focus. Ella Myers for example argues that the practices of the care of the self do not correct the depoliticizing effects of disciplinary power and biopower. Amy Allen takes Foucault to task for his account of the care of the self because the relations with others in Foucault's account are inadequate for the formation of an ethical subject. In this paper I offer an alternative interpretation of Foucault account of the care of the self. I argue that the social and reciprocal dimension in Foucault's account of 'the care of the self' is more substantive than Foucault's critics permit and self-cultivation in the care of the self need not foreclose possibilities for associative politics.


This article was originally published in Philosophy Today 57(no. 1, 2013): 99-113.

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Jun 27 2013

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