Making Nietzsche’s Thought Groan: The History of Racisms and Foucault’s Genealogy of Nietzschean Genealogy in “Society Must be Defended

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In 1976, in “Society Must be Defended,” Foucault did more than offer an alternative genealogy of his own genealogical perspective to the one he is sometimes taken to have provided in “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History.” He also, by implication, located Nietzsche within that genealogy, one result of which is that he gave what amounts to a new perspective on how Nietzsche might be placed within the history of racisms.

  • 5

    Ibid., 71, 216/82,243.

  • 6

    See Ruth Benedict, Race: Science and Politics (New York: Viking Press, 1940), 191 and Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Haracourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973), 158–184.

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  • 13

    Ibid., 52, 75–6/61,88.

  • 15

    Michel Foucault, “Nietzsche, la généalogie, l’histoire,” in Hommage à Jean Hyppolite (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1971), 145–172. Cited below from Dits et écrits 1954–1988, vol. II 1970–1975 (Paris: Gallimard, 1994), 136–156; translated D. F. Brouchard and Sherry Simon, “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History,” in Aesthetics, Method, and Epistemology (Essential Works, Vol. 2), ed, James Faubion (New York: The New Press, 1998), 369–91. Although first published in 1971, it dates back to a conference in 1969: see Daniel Defert, “Chronology,” in A Companion to Foucault, 41.

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  • 18

    Michel Foucault, Surveiller et punir (Paris: Gallimard, 1975), 315: translated by Alan Sheridan, Discipline and Punish (New York: Vintage, 1979), 308.

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  • 19

    Michel Foucault, “Entretien sur la prison: le livre et sa méthode” in Dits et écrits ii, 753; translated by Colin Gordon, “Prison Talk,” in Power/Knowledge(New York: Pantheon Books, 1980), 53–54.

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  • 20

    Michel Foucault, “Réponse au Cercle d’épistémologie,” Cahiers pour l’ analyse 9. Généalogie des sciences (1968): 9–40.

  • 22

    Michel Foucault, La société punitive (Paris: Seuil/Gallimard, 2013), 86; translated by Graham Burchell, The Punitive Society (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 84. It is striking that, as Bernard Harcourt observed, Foucault initially took up the word dynastics as if to try to avoid the word genealogy; see his comment in La société punitive, 95–96: The Punitive Society, 93–94.

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  • 24

    Michel Foucault, Sécurité, Territoire, Population (Paris: Seuil/Gallimard, 2004), 38; translated by Graham Burchell, Security, Territory, Population (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 36.

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  • 26

    Foucault, “Sur les façons d’écrire l’histoire (entretien avec R. Bellour),” in Dits et écrits I (Paris: Gallimard, 1994, 599); translated by John Johnston, “The Discourse of History,” in Foucault Live, ed. Sylvère Lotringer (New York: Semiotext(e), 1996), 31. See Béatrice Han, Foucault’s Critical Project, translated by Edward Pile (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002), 76–77.

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  • 28

    Michel Foucault, L’Archéologie du savoir (Paris: Gallimard, 1969), 23; The Archaeology of Knowledge, 13. See also “Nietzsche, la généalogie, l’histoire,” 137; “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History,” 370.

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  • 32

    Foucault, “Nietzsche, la généalogie, l’histoire,” 136; “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History,” 369.

  • 35

    Friedrich Nietzsche, “Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben,” in Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen II, Sämtliche Werke, Kritische Studienausgabe i(Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1980), 259–60; translated by R.J. Hollingdale, “On the Use and Disadvantages of History for Life,” in Untimely Meditations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 68–69.

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  • 36

    Nietzsche, “Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben,” 265; “On the Use and Disadvantages of History for Life,” 73. The term translated by Hollingdale here as race is Geschlecht. There are places in the essay, where generation seems the most suitable translation, but here race or lineage seems best. Sometimes much hangs on these translation choices.

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  • 39

    Ibid., 264, 267–8 and 269–70/72, 74–5 and 77.

  • 41

    Foucault, “Nietzsche, la généalogie, l’histoire,” 152–56; “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History,” 385–89. On the distinction between connaissance and savoir, see “Entretien avec Michel Foucault,” 57; “Interview with Michel Foucault,” 256.

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  • 45

    Foucault, “Nietzsche, la généalogie, l’histoire,” 347; “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History,” 355.

  • 51

    In February 1971, Foucault already referenced “the recital of the genealogy, of the exploits of ancestors and the king himself” as constituting “a new beginning on the basis of the beginning” that amounted to a “revivifying epic of royal power.” Leçons sur la volonté de savoir (Paris: Seuil/Gallimard, 2011), 106; translated by Graham Burchell, Lectures on the Will to Know (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 111.

  • 53

    Nietzsche, “Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben,” 260; “On the Use and Disadvantages of History for Life,” 69.

  • 55

    Ibid., 125–6, 149/142, 168.

  • 60

    John Warr, “The Corruption and Deficiency of the Laws of England soberly discussed” in A Spark in the Ashes, eds. Stephen Sedley and Lawrence Kaplan (London: Verso, 1992), 102. Foucault, “Il faut défendre la société,” 93; “Society Must Be Defended,” 107.

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  • 61

    Foucault, “Il faut défendre la société,” 61; “Society Must Be Defended,” 70.

  • 63

    Ibid., 137, 152/155, 71.

  • 70

    Foucault, “Nietzsche, la généalogie, l’histoire,” 152; “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History,” 384.

  • 73

    Foucault, “Nietzsche, la généalogie, l’histoire,” 138; “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History,” 371.

  • 76

    See Han, Foucault’s Critical Project, 105.

  • 90

    Ibid., 103, 110–111/117, 126.

  • 91

    Foucault, “Nietzsche, la généalogie, l’histoire,” 347; “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History,” 355.

  • 93

    Foucault, “Nietzsche, la généalogie, l’histoire,” 143; “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History,” 375.

  • 95

    Francis Galton, Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development (London: Macmillan, 1883).

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