Introduction: Reading Foucault in the Postcolonial Present

  • Sandro Mezzadra
  • Julian Reid
  • Ranabir Samaddar


This book emerges from a fundamental discontent that the three of us share with the politics of Foucault-inspired scholarship. Foucault’s works have had a massive influence on postcolonial literatures, particularly in political theory, literary criticism and historiography, in recent years, and many of the authors of this book have themselves made significant contributions to that influence. But while Foucault’s thought has been inspirational for the interrogation of colonial biopolitics, as well as governmental rationalities concerned with development in the postcolonial era, his works have too often failed to inspire studies of the forms of political subjectivity that such regimes of power incite. Instead they have been used to stoke the myth of the inevitability of the decline of collective political subjects, often describing an increasingly limited horizon of political possibilities and provoking disenchantment with the political itself. Worse, they have been the target of a morose criticism for their apparent inabilities to have addressed spaces outside the Western world ( Chaps. 2 and  3). And worse still, they have been used to displace our understanding and recognition of the brutality and exploitative nature of colonial and every other form of biopolitics: the war, killing and multiple forms of violence without which it would not have been possible ( Chap. 3).


Arab World Political Subjectivity Political Subject Governmental Rationality Psychic Life 
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Copyright information

© Springer India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandro Mezzadra
    • 1
  • Julian Reid
    • 2
  • Ranabir Samaddar
    • 3
  1. 1.University of BolognaBolognaItaly
  2. 2.University of LaplandLaplandFinland
  3. 3.Mahanirban Calcutta Research GroupKolkataIndia

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