Did Foucault ignore contingency?

That is, did he have an essentialist vision of the effects of power?

A group of people are forging links between geography and political theorists in order to overcome essential accounts of power:

In political theory, the work of the French intellectual Michel Foucault heralded a movement away from thinking about the effects of the State upon people, toward the effects of norms, ideologies, common styles and themes (a fashion that was taken up with vigour by academics from many disciplines in the 1980s and 90s). He considered the consequences of the way we think about homosexuality and psychiatry in particular. Since then academics have thought about how we become disciplined and produced as subjects through programmes of healthcare, dieting, social work, physical development planning, and many other ideological and moral practices. However, in focusing upon the consequences of such norms and morals for society, Foucault was not so good at drawing out how they often have very different effects in very different contexts and countries.

One of the names that crops up here is Jonathan Pugh at the University of Newcastle.

Relatedly then this nexus of people have called for a more integrated understanding of space, time and governance. See here:

This means that to talk of ‘space’, ‘time’ and ‘governance’ as separate, as many academics do, is to lose sight of the importance of the overlapping, and often conflicting, ‘space-time imaginaries’ that we experience in our everyday lives.


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