The Humanitarian Ideology
This is part of a roundtable on Marc Crépon’s Murderous Consent: On the Accommodation of Violent Death.
Murderous Consent’s aim is, first, to critique political violence, whether hegemonic or revolutionary. The book’s aim is, second, to enunciate another politics that never legitimizes violence in any form. These aims could not be more profound, attempting, as they do, to overturn both Western political theory and contemporary geopolitical practice.
But those of us who take such aims seriously have more to learn from how Murderous Consent goes astray than from where it arrives. The antithesis of political violence does not lie in the directions Crépon thinks, least of all humanitarianism or cosmopolitanism. Though these orientations presume to interrupt Western politics, each is in fact continuous with it; though they claim to oppose geopolitical violence, their very possibility presupposes it. In short, Crépon’s work extends the Western political tradition’s elevation of security above all other values. More rigorous philosophies of nonviolence disavow this principle altogether.
“Murderous consent” names the tacit acceptance of violent death. Crépon argues that people in rich countries consent to murder whenever they say or do nothing to oppose famine, absent health care, and civil war elsewhere—even as they witness the overproduction of food, accumulation of pharmaceutical profit, and enrichment of weapons manufacturers in their own countries. As Martel observes in Murderous Consent’s foreword, Crépon’s pejorative use of “consent” critiques the liberal tradition. Though its commitment to popular consent validates this tradition, such consent effectively endorses the violence governments commit: “by rendering [consent] murderous[,] Crépon is subverting the entire [liberal] political apparatus.”
The authors Crépon studies supposedly trace “a path that extirpates humanity from the endless spiral of murderous consent” (93). Following this path, Crépon intends to articulate a “principle of politics” that “seeks only life and not death,” an intention inspired by Camus (xiii, 80, 82, 163). Unlike his contemporaries, Camus opposed both colonial andrevolutionary violence. He understood colonial torture and anticolonial terrorism to mirror each other, the FLN-bombing of settlers no less immoral than French counterinsurgency techniques. In Crépon’s view, Camus’s desire to shatter the torture-terrorism dyad makes his work newly relevant post-9/11, when the vicious circle of state and non-state violence defines geopolitics again. Crépon thus poses Camus’s question once more: how do we oppose political violence without resorting to such violence ourselves?
Crépon’s answer is, in short, that cosmopolitanism must replace identitarianism. Political resistance should unify all people rather than separating them into “predetermined forms of community” (32, 92). The basis of such unity is human vulnerability.
Here, Crépon appears to follow Judith Butler, as Martel insists (xii). And, indeed, Butler’s Frames of War asserts that nonviolence presupposes understanding injurable life as a general condition. Crépon declares, repeatedly, that politics, understood properly, responds to the other’s vulnerability: “any relationship, moral or political, … heed[s] the appeal of the other for attention, care, and help” (5).
But, curiously, Crépon reduces “vulnerability” to “mortality,” almost always presenting the two together. The latter effectively subsumes the former—as if unnatural death were the only, or always the worst, form of human suffering. He insists, without elaboration: “the most radical and daunting form of … vulnerability is the other’s mortality” (11). We fulfill our responsibility to the other, therefore, when protect them from such death. The effect of reducing vulnerability to mortality and ethical responsibility to caring for those threatened with death is to collapse all political violence into killing (active or passive)—remarkably, the only injustice to which Murderous Consent ever objects.
Excluding every other form of deprivation from the category of violence enables Crépon to make humanitarianism—“feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, assisting the afflicted,” and providing “medical relief” to the infirm—the antithesis of violence, as he does throughout (31, 160). In his view, humanitarian “interventions” and “emergency aid” oppose murderous consent (6). Even more pointedly, he extols “the world’s nongovernmental organizations” as examples of ethical responsibility (111).
But the reality of NGOs demonstrates the fallacy of Crépon’s claims. Even as NGOs do, of course, save lives, they are, far from the antithesis of political violence, irreversibly entangled in it. Humanitarian interventions avert catastrophe by keeping people at risk of dying barely above the threshold of life. Once mortality falls below the level that arbitrarily defines “catastrophe,” the often-slow violence that precipitated the catastrophe becomes invisible once more—and hence can continue ad infinitum. Those who never cross over that threshold remain “out of focus,” enduring indefinite deprivation. This dynamic is one-way NGOs, far from opposing political violence, facilitate it: their fixation on mortality draws global attention away from every other form of distress.
But it is only one way. Often becoming quasi-permanent, NGO-rule runs “roughshod over local communities … in the name of the higher good”: namely, saving those threatened with death. From a humanitarian perspective, this higher good, this “law external to and superior to law,” is more important than redressing social and economic inequality or even defending democracy and thus obscures the political forces that cause catastrophe. Crépon’s own concept of morality, oriented always toward those at risk of death rather than systemic critique and transformation, reflects these principles precisely.
In regard to Crépon’s claim that “medical relief” exemplifies opposition to murderous consent, we should note that Médecins Sans Frontières co-founder Bernard Kouchner became a leading proponent of “the right to intervene.” He argued that international institutions can ignore state sovereignty when humanitarian law has been violated. Hence, though it opposes murderous consent in Crépon’s precise terms, medical relief—like humanitarian intervention in general—requires armed support. NGOs cannot intervene in the ways Crépon lists without military backing. Conversely, any military action today appears excessive unless, conversely, it articulates a humanitarian rationale. As Fassin and Pandolfi have observed, “the two sides come together on the same scene, in a reciprocal … dependency—the military increasingly calling on humanitarians to legitimize their interventions and the latter needing the former to ensure their safety” (11).
Military interventions that claim to save life become legitimate on these grounds—even when, as in the case of both the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and the US invasion of Iraq, they violate international law. Fassin and Pandolfi have argued that, in contemporary international relations, “humanitarian” intervention has replaced “just war” (13). I would suggest instead that in the postcolonial era—when Western violence in the non-Western world became unjust for the first time—humanitarianism has made it widely acceptable again. Humanitarian intervention is still, Fassin and Pandolfi emphasize, the “law of the strongest—this is what makes it possible.” It is the most pervasive neocolonial paradigm today.
The years after WWII and, in particular, the Cold War have been marked by an ever- increasing number of NGOs. The latter decades have been distinguished as well by proliferating emergencies around the world. One could argue, as this chronology suggests, that NGOs engender emergencies, not the reverse. Whereas Schmitt famously declared, in the early twentieth century, that “sovereign is the one who decides the exception,” Adi Ophir has observed, a century later, that sovereigns no longer monopolize this decision (71, 75). States of exception take the form, increasingly, of “humanitarian emergencies,” whose existence only NGOs are qualified to declare and whose chaotic conditions they alone are competent to govern.
Humanitarianism is itself, therefore, now sovereign. It developed alongside the late eighteenth century’s democratic revolutions and, as Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism and On Revolution argue, immediately co-opted them. From this moment forward, the “humane”—i.e., the protection of life—has justified the suspension of democracy whenever necessary. Gandhi considered the humanitarian commitment to “life as an absolute value” as responsible for the “massive scale of modern warfare” as Nazism was. He wrote: “the West attaches an exaggerated importance to prolonging man’s earthly existence. … I do not want that excessive desire of living … at the cost of tenderness for subhuman life”. In Gandhi’s view, “[o]nly by giving up the thirst for life … represented in modern war and medicine alike … could the urge to kill be tamed.”
Crépon tolerates the sovereign’s right to take life and to let die, merely ameliorating it with humanitarian interventions, an absolutely necessary aspect (the other side, we could say) of violent death. Fassin and Pandolfi again: “both military and humanitarian actors … reject the sovereignty of states in the name of a higher moral order, and both are thus similarly engaged with extralegality and extraterritoriality; “in structural terms, military and humanitarian actors place themselves under the same law of exception” (15). Crépon thus silently colludes with the structural violence he so passionately condemns.
Though he insists that to oppose murderous consent, we must first “disrup[t] the geography[,] history[,] politics, and … economics that nourish and orchestrate killing,” he does not explore this geography, history, et cetera to any extent at all (3). Relying on a Freudian (and, to a lesser extent, Levinasian) theory of violence, Crépon’s discussions of the topic are, instead, completely ahistorical. According to Freud, the desire to murder is primordial, an “ancestral temptation,” the “most profound essence of man” (9, 50, 59, 65). Even modern war, therefore, has “biological roots” (72). It unleashes “the primitive human”—i.e., the “taste for murder”—fettered inside us and “consigns “the later deposits of civilization” to oblivion” (66). If political violence is atavistic, its antidote must progressivist. Hence, in Freud’s thought as in Crépon’s, the antidote involves supranational institutions that circumscribe violence not despite but precisely because they possess “coercive power” and “force of arms” (67). Exactly like the superego, “civilizational progress” turns humanity’s aggressive tendencies “against themselves” (73). The logic here is not only racist—preferring “civilized” to “primitive” humanity—but also circular. It considers Western modernity, which has advanced political violence to previously unseen levels, the only possible defense against such violence.
Such all-too-familiar circularity is intrinsic to politics itself, which, from its ancient origins, has always claimed a singular capacity to ameliorate violent death. According to Arendt’s On Violence, “human mortality—the fact that men are “mortals,” as the Greeks used to say—was understood as the strongest motive for political action[,] prompt[ing] them to establish a body politic which was potentially immortal.” Citizens feel immortal not only by virtue of their affiliation with a polity that is, in principle, permanent but also because they are less exposed to death than those without political status: “politics was precisely a means by which to escape from the equality before death into a distinction assuring some measure of deathlessness.” Murderous Consent’s aim to articulate a “principle of politics” that “seeks only life and not death” is, therefore, tautological: this principle is indistinguishable from politics as such. In practice, it required exposing others to death. I pass, without comment, over the fact that Arendt’s disturbing account of politics’ origins occurs within a defense of the political sphere against those, like the Black Panthers, whose supposed violence threatened it.
Though studying politics’ early modern re-emergence rather than its classical roots, Foucault also emphasized its special relationship to mortality. His lectures on late sixteenth- and seventeenth-century raison d’État describe it as a new “way of thinking” immediately given the name “politics.” It inaugurated a temporality different from the Renaissance as well as the Middle Ages, within which the time of the state became “never-ending” (259; recall Arendt’s description of the “body politic” as “potentially immortal”). The “government of men” had been the pastorate’s task and had aimed for their spiritual emancipation from the secular world (364, 262). By the late seventeenth century, the government of men had been appropriated by states and aspired to the salvation no longer of the soul but instead of the state itself—that is, its preservation in perpetuity, which alone could ensure its subjects’ security. And the “security” of early modern European populations was understood to depend, according to Foucault, on planetary “domination, colonization, and commercial utilization” (298).
Though focusing on the present, Mark Duffield has reiterated this argument. Like the early modern order, our own protects socially secure populations in the developed world by creating insecure ones elsewhere. NGOs and multilateral institutions do not actually extend security to insecure populations but instead manage and contain the ubiquitous instability produced by neocolonialism and, more recently, neoliberalism. They help create “two worldwide typologies of human beings”: a minority in the Global North whose security states guarantee; the majority elsewhere that must be “self-sustaining,” depending on the training in local empowerment practices it has received from humanitarian organizations. Such organizations are one part of “an infinite and generalized counterinsurgency strategy” designed to protect the rich. Like Arendt and Foucault, Duffield suggests that politics ensures security only by exposing others to death.
Crépon acknowledges that security often justifies violence. But it becomes problematic for him only when combined with sectarianism: “whenever we evoke security and identity[,] there is no vindictive discourse … we are not prepared to embrace” (9). And “sécuridentité” (i.e., protecting one population in particular rather than humanity in general) exists in a contingent—not necessary—relationship with politics.
In fact, Crépon maintains the same commitment to security that post-WWII humanitarianism has, demanding it expand, beyond nations, to “the global population” as such. In his view, the “objective” of politics must shift from protecting particular populations to “responsibility” for “all others”—from the “pursuit of power, conquest, appropriation” to a “shared being-against-death [without] exception” (171). On one hand, such a politics is, by definition, impossible—at least as “politics” was originally defined in Ancient Greece or redefined in early modern Europe. “The political” is defined, alternatively, by the friend-enemy distinction, Schmitt’s name for “the most intense and extreme antagonism.” Protecting the friend requires a willingness to kill the enemy; politics and violence are, in other words, inseparable from each other. A politics based on a shared “being-against-death”—that is, a political order without exclusion—is a contradiction in terms.
Once we recognize security to be not the antithesis of political violence but, on the contrary, its raison d’être, we will discern a different tack. Embracing insecurity is the starting point for philosophies of nonviolence much more demanding than Crépon’s, including those of Gandhi and Simone Weil. Strangely, Crépon neither cites—nor demonstrates familiarity with—either, even as he devotes his study to the ethos they made famous.
Unlike Crépon’s, Gandhi’s thought is diametrically opposed to the Western political tradition. From Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau to Kant, Hegel, and Mill, the origins of political society lie, as Uday Mehta has explained, in people’s “primary interest in avoiding their own death.” Political community is associated with the desire less for freedom and justice than for security and futurity. In Hobbes, Locke, and Kant, in particular, security and futurity depend, furthermore, on the creation of colonial “free zones” where Europeans could initiate war in the absence of any threat (145-6).
In contrast, Gandhi’s “critique of political rationality” refuses the primacy conventionally given to one’s own security and the privilege normally attributed to the future. The former leads, inevitably, to violence against those who supposedly threaten the polity, the latter, against those who supposedly hold it back. Whereas politics possesses a “futural orientation,” Gandhi’s philosophy focuses on the “tactile immediacy of the instant” (136) Reference to an ideal future characterizes political thought. The refusal to make such reference distinguishes Gandhi, in Mehta’s view, as an uncompromisingly anti-political thinker (149, 151).
In diametric opposition to political tactics, nonviolent demonstrations fulfill the yearning for freedom immediately. Such freedom was, in Gandhi’s view, the only kind worthy of the name since it was not just immediate but also “within the reach of anyone who desired it, no matter how powerless or oppressed.” Its sole requirement is that one fearlessly accept the possibility of one’s own slaughter, the precondition of not cooperating with an unjust order. Gandhi’s anti-politics of nonviolence effectively re-institute the equality before death politics was originally intended to banish.
In Weil as well, one’s capacity for nonviolence is inseparable from one’s willingness to expose oneself to violence. The violence in question for Weil is what she calls “force”: the power that will, inevitably, transfigure all human beings, turning them into “nonentit[ies]” or “inert matter.” In Weil’s essay on the Illiad, the warriors attempt to deliver themselves from force— whether the trauma of being subjected to it during their lives or the terror of being subdued by it in the end—by wielding it themselves, assuming the role of mythic gods who turn their adversaries into “beasts or objects” (65). Like politics in Gandhi’s schema, force turns its victims into means rather than ends, thus reinforcing the “superstition[s] of chronology” and “progress.”
According to Weil, one escapes this dynamic only by immersing oneself in the “anguish” of a body that has been or will be transformed by force. Her premise is that one will value the other’s life more than force only when one is not concerned to prolong one’s own life above all. Hence, like ahimsa in Gandhi’s thought, the terms Weil uses to name this practice of immersion—such as “attention,” “decreation,” “passive activity,” “non-active action,” or “negative effort”—emphasize its lack of anxiety about the future. Referring to the Illiad’s characters, she observes: “All who escape the empire of force in their innermost being and in their relations with their fellow men are loved, but loved in grief at the threat of constantly impending destruction” (66).
Though Crépon buttresses his argument with Butler, her thought has more in common with Gandhi’s and Weil’s disavowal of security than his own desire to globalize it. In fact, Frames of War explicitly argues that the “ground” of nonviolence is the acceptance of insecurity as a global fact, not the effort to turn security into such: “nonviolence is derived from the apprehension of equality in the midst of precariousness” (181, 183). If “politics” in Arendt’s sense provides an “escape from the equality before death,” nonviolent praxes, in Butler’s view, abides by precisely this equality. Precarious Life asks: “How does a collective deal … with its vulnerability to violence? [A]t whose expense, does it gain a purchase on “security”“? In the same vein: “to make ourselves secure at the expense of every other human consideration is to eradicate [“the sense of human vulnerability”], one of [our] most important resources” (30). Crépon suggests that every outbreak of insecurity demands immediate action. Butler argues, in contrast, that such reactivity is trapped within the circle of murderous consent.
According to Martel’s “Foreword,” Murderous Consent will “ruffle” the “feathers” of “the Fanonian postcolonial studies world[,] who see violence as both necessary and valid as such” (x). I doubt this “world”—whose scholars, according to Martel, “openly espouse violence”—exists outside the liberal academic imagination, always desperate for postcolonial straw figures. Fanon’s own discussions of violence are, in fact, much more nuanced than Crépon’s. The Wretched of the Earth emphasizes that colonial violence reflects the settlers’ “preoccupation with security.” Fanon’s 1960 lecture in Accra addressed Kwame Nkrumah, who had abjured anticolonial violence. Here, in contrast to Crépon or Camus, Fanon carefully distinguished between forms of violence. He invoked the 1945 anticolonial protests in Sétif and Guelma, after which a reported 45,000 Algerians were killed—in order “to destroy,” in de Gaulle’s words, “any idea of the Algerian nation”. The massacres instead gave rise, in Fanon’s view, to an antithetical nation, one that responded dialectically to colonial violence.
Fanon emphasized that, by the time Algerians rose up in arms (a decade after Sétif and Guelma), they had lost all concern for their own security: “the achievement of the Algerian revolution is precisely … to have caused a mutation of the instinct of self-preservation into value and truth” (655). In other words, the revolutionaries considered even more precious than their safety their freedom to live according to their own principles. Fanon considered anticolonial violence, originally, a sacrificial act, “the last gesture of the hunted man” who “no longer” can give “a meaning to his life” so instead gives “one to his death.” Such violence disseminates a literally post-colonial form of consciousness, founded not on security but, conversely, on the embrace of mortality. This consciousness is, in turn, a new basis for transnational solidarity: “the valiant Yugoslav people [welcome] Algerian amputees, dismembered, blinded”; “Europeans from Algeria, descendants of settlers … die under French bullets in the ranks of the valiant National Liberation Army” (658). For Fanon, as for Gandhi and Weil, the alternative to political violence is not a nonviolent polity—no such contradiction in terms. If politics is constitutively violent, one can resist political violence only by ceaselessly exposing oneself to it.
Crépon claims that such sacrificial acts “efface” life’s value (33, 145). In fact, he blames less security measures than “the eulogists of heroic death” for propagating murderous consent (33). He thus makes the willingness to sacrifice oneself for one’s principles another version, merely, of political violence. Yet this willingness marks every genuine project to oppose political violence, as we have seen in Gandhi’s and Weil’s practice of nonviolence, on one hand, and Fanon’s discussion of anticolonial violence, on the other. One could argue that it recurs around the world today—not only in peaceful demonstrations against neoliberal policies and/or police brutality, whose participants know only too well the risk involved, but, more controversially, in suicide bombing. In every case, action, armed or not, demands that one disavow the prototypically political principle of security, of “seek[ing] only life and not death.”
This disavowal was fundamental, finally, to the ethics Foucault explored in his last years. He modeled it on the Athenian concept of parrhesia (or “fearless speech”), whose protocols demand one speak one’s mind freely to those with more power than oneself: “[one] risk[s] death to tell the truth instead of reposing in the security of a life where the truth goes unspoken.” Only by taking this risk can one, in Foucault’s words, call “into question domination at every level and in every form in which it exists.” One acts ethically, in short, when one treats as sacred not life but rather the right to live according to one’s own truth, a right for which one must be ready to sacrifice one’s life. “I dream of the intellectual,” Foucault said, “who [questions] whether the revolution is worth the trouble[,] it being understood that the question can be answered only by those who are willing to risk their lives to bring it about.” In their willingness to die for their principles, Foucault’s ideal intellectuals choose the path not of politics but rather of all those who have suffered its violence.
In his late works, Foucault named the “price” one pays for truth “spirituality.” In the same year he lectured on raison d’État, he reflected on the 1967-68 anti-government protests he had witnessed in Tunisia more than a decade before and the 1978 Iranian Revolution he also observed firsthand. In regard to the former, he asked: “what can prompt in an individual the desire … for absolute sacrifice, without … the least ambition … for power and profit? … I saw in Tunisia, the evidence of … spirituality, the unbearable quality of certain situations produced by capitalism, colonialism, and neocolonialism.” And in regard to the Iranian Revolution (before it was co-opted by “the bloody government of an integrist clergy”), Foucault wrote: “what is the point of searching, even at the cost their own lives, for this thing whose possibility we [Europeans] have forgotten since the Renaissance and the great crises of Christianity: a political spirituality? I can already hear the French laughing, but I know they are wrong.” Secular intellectuals deride Foucault’s support for the revolution still today. This derision reflects their fear of the perilous freedom that accompanies spirituality in Foucault’s sense—a type of freedom that, four centuries ago, nascent Western states replaced with a fixation on extending life. Only those who face this fear have a chance of finding their way to nonviolence.
Siraj Ahmed is Professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center and of English and Comparative Literature at Lehman College. He is the author of Archaeology of Babel: The Colonial Foundation of the Humanities (Stanford, 2018; MLA Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies); The Stillbirth of Capital: Enlightenment Writing and Colonial India (Stanford, 2012); and essays in Critical Inquiry, Representations, Cultural Critique, Postcolonial Studies, The Immanent Frame, the Blackwell Companion to Literary Theory, and The Postcolonial Enlightenment, among other journals and edited collections.
 Marc Crépon, Murderous Consent: On the Accommodation of Violent Death (Fordham, 2019), 17-8. Cited hereafter parenthetically in text.
 James Martel, “Foreword” in Crépon op. cit., ix-xiii, x. Cited hereafter parenthetically in text.
 Judith Butler, Frames of War: When is Life Grievable (Verso, 2009), 178. Cited hereafter parenthetically in text.
 Adi Ophir, “The Politics of Catastrophization: Emergency and Exception,” in Didier Fassin and Mariella Pandolfi, eds, Contemporary States of Emergency: The Politics of Military and Humanitarian Interventions (Zone, 2013), 59-88, 64, 79. Cited hereafter parenthetically in text.
 Mariella Pandolfi, “From Paradox to Paradigm: The Permanent State of Emergency in the Balkans” in Fassin and Pandolfi op. cit., 153-72, 165.
 Didier Fassin and Mariella Pandolfi, “Introduction: Military and Humanitarian Government in the Age of Intervention” in Fassin and Pandolfi op. cit., 9-25, 16. Cited hereafter parenthetically in text.
 Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (Harcourt, 1968), 267-302, esp. 272, 291, 299 and On Revolution, (Penguin, 1990), 149.
 Faisal Devji, The Impossible Indian: Gandhi and the Temptation of Violence (Harvard, 2012), 186.
 M. K. Gandhi, The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Publications Division Government of India, 1976), 65:361; Devji, 185.
 Devji, 186.
 Hannah Arendt, Crisis of the Republic (Harcourt, 1972), 165. The quotation that follows is from the same page.
 Michel Foucault, Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège de France 1977-1978 (Palgrave, 2009). 286. Cited hereafter parenthetically in text.
 Mark Duffield, Development, Security and Unending War: Governing the World of Peoples (Polity, 2007).
 Pandolfi, 166. The quotation that follows is from the same page.
 Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political (University of Chicago, 2007), 29.
 Uday Mehta, “Gandhi and the Common Logic of War and Peace,” Raritan 30.1 (Summer 2010), 134-56, 141. Cited hereafter parenthetically in text.
 Devji, 93-94.
 James Holoka, ed., Simone Weil‘s The Iliad, Or, The Poem of Force: A Critical Edition (Peter Lang, 2003), 48, 50, 61, 66, 71. Cited hereafter parenthetically in text.
 Simone Weil, Letter to a Priest (Routledge, 2002), 29.
 Simone Weil, Waiting for God (HarperCollins, 2009), 61, 126 and The Notebooks of Simone Weil (Putnam’s Sons, 1956), 124.
 Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence (Verso, 2006), 42. Cited hereafter parenthetically in text.
 Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (Grove, 1963), 53.
 Frantz Fanon, Alienation and Freedom (Bloomsbury, 2018), 657. Cited hereafter parenthetically in text.
 Michel Foucault, Fearless Speech (Semiotext(e), 2001), 13, 17.
 Michel Foucault, Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth (New Press, 1997), 300.
 Michel Foucault, Politics, Philosophy, Culture: Interviews and Other Writings (Routledge, 1988), 124.
 Michel Foucault, The Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures at the Collège de France 1981-1982 (Palgrave, 2005), 15-6.
 Michel Foucault, Power (New Press, 2000), 280.
 Ibid., 451; Michel Foucault, “What are the Iranians Dreaming About?” in Janet Afary and Kevin Anderson, Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism (University of Chicago, 2005), 203-9, 209.
Photo: The writer during the moment of creative inspiration. Illustration by Eugene Ivanov | Shutterstock
Published on August 4, 2020.