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In: Corona Phenomenon: Philosophical and Political Questions
In: Foucault and Animals


This paper outlines Foucault’s genealogical conception of critique and argues that it is not inconsistent with his appeals to concepts of right so long as these are understood in terms of his historical and naturalistic approach to rights. This approach is explained by reference to Nietzsche’s account of the origins of rights and duties and the example of Aboriginal rights is used to exemplify the historical character of rights understood as internal to power relations. Drawing upon the contemporary ‘externalist’ approach to rights, it is argued that the normative force of rights can only come from within historically available moral and political discourses. Reading Foucault’s 1978–1979 lectures on liberal governmentality in this manner suggests that his call for new forms of right in order to criticise disciplinary power should be answered by reference to concepts drawn from the liberal tradition of governmental reason.

In: Critique Today