Foucault/Paul pp 195-202 | Cite as

Conclusion: Power without Politics?

  • Sophie Fuggle
Part of the Radical Theologies book series (RADT)


Both Foucault and Paul locate a dimension of individual freedom within the very operation of power itself. Power is the condition of possibility for such freedom. Drawing on the Greco-Roman Stoic and Cynic forms of philosophy prevalent during the first and second centuries, Foucault and Paul appropriate the practices and techniques belonging to a care or ethics of the self that have dissociated themselves from an association with political authority and domination. Following the fulfillment of the law, a new form of freedom appears but one that demands an ethical responsibility to oneself and others. Paul’s use of Stoic and Cynic motifs is not about establishing hierarchies and institutional structures within the early church but identifying ways in which one can understand one’s new form of existence that do not depend on rule and authority but, rather, on one’s attitude toward the self and one’s interpersonal relationships. Foucault’s interest in such practices, both in terms of a Stoic form of care and preparation and a Cynic parrēsia, lies in the way such modes of existence carry out a negotiation with existing power structures, discourses, and codes. It is not a question of mapping such practices onto our own modes of existence. We must carry out our own negotiations with power.


Exist Power Structure Occupy Wall Street Spiritual Meditation Early Church Urban Regeneration Project 
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  1. 3.
    Peter Sloterdijk, Critique of Cynic Reason, translated by Michael Eldred (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988).Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Louisa Shea, The Cynic Enlightenment: Diogenes in the Salon (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), 185.Google Scholar

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© Sophie Fuggle 2013

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  • Sophie Fuggle

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