Michel Foucault

2 posts

Bernard E. Harcourt | On Axel Honneth and the Democratization of Work

In his new book on the democratization of labor, *The Working Sovereign*, Axel Honneth takes a realist and pragmatist approach, advocating both for alternative democratic changes to the organization of labor and reforms to capitalist labor structures. It is a formidable intervention; but does Honneth’s account adequately take into account that the valuing of labor was itself a motivated project: labor became an object of value—whether in the work of Locke, or the early Protestant work ethic, or Hegel—driven or inspired by a deliberate (though perhaps not fully articulated or conscious) effort to make work appear valuable to laborers. Labor was transformed or shaped into a valuable performance in these philosophical interventions. But these philosophical constructions may be illusions, fabricated ways of trying to convince workers of the importance of their work as a way to reproduce more workers. If we look at it from this instrumental perspective, then the question that would arise is: What work are those philosophical discourses doing? And why might it be important to look at the work that they were doing? [To continue, read here….]

Bernard E. Harcourt | Scientific Cooperation with Lorraine Daston

In her book, Rivals: How Scientists Learned to Cooperate (2023), Lorraine Daston traces the evolution of scientific cooperation from the eighteenth century to present times. Daston focuses on three periods which, she argues, capture different styles of scientific cooperation during the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. Over the past three centuries, Daston identifies progress, culminating in the twentieth-century concept of “a scientific community.” [Continue reading here…]