By Tom Roach

Develops Foucault's overdue paintings on friendship right into a novel critique of latest GLBT political strategy.

Borrowing its identify from a 1981 interview of Michel Foucault, Friendship as a fashion of Life develops the philosopher's past due paintings on friendship right into a novel critique of up to date GLBT political technique. Tom Roach brings to lifestyles Foucault's scant yet suggestive writings on friendship (some translated right here for the 1st time), emphasizing their moral implications and advancing a brand new and politically attainable concept--friendship as shared estrangement. In exploring the potential for this version for realizing not just social hobbies similar to ACT UP and the AIDS blood brother process, however the literary and creative paintings of Hervé Guibert and David Wojnarowicz besides, Roach seeks to reclaim a politics of friendship for queer activism. the 1st publication committed completely to Foucault's paintings at the topic, it reassesses Foucaultian queer concept in mild of the new ebook of the philosopher's ultimate seminars on the Collège de France. Its provocative thesis returns Foucault's thought of biopower to its domestic in sexuality stories and areas queer concept entrance and middle in present biopolitical debates.

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Extra resources for Friendship As a Way of Life: Foucault, AIDS, and the Politics of Shared Estrangement

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This somnolent figure is presented as a collection of body parts—an elbow here, a shoulder there—a cinematic montage of close-ups and jump-cuts. In classic pornographic fashion, Foucault’s gaze objectifies and fragments a body rather than humanizing or personalizing an individual. And yet in his anonymity, in his object-ness, the man seems to become, at least in this letter, a closer friend than Guibert. ” Shielded from his identity, Foucault is allowed to enter into the man’s life with an intensity that an actual meeting might never engender.

The free men privileged enough to practice such an art constructed and created a self as they advanced together through exercises of self-discipline. These aestheticians of existence understood the self not as the core of the individual, not as something essential to be discovered, but, rather, as something to A LETTER AND ITS IMPLIC ATIONS 31 be cultivated: an always-becoming self with which one could and must experiment (HoS, V3 42–55). Second, the principle of epimeleia heautou mutated into the austere rules of self-care found in Christian monastic practices, “taking the form either of self-renunciation or of a ‘modern’ obligation towards others— whether this be other people, the collectivity, the class, or the fatherland” (Hermeneutics 13).

Through sharing a self-analysis of his daily routine, Foucault might be asking, “Is my voyeurism ethical? Is my pleasure exploitative? ” Such questions hover over the lines. They imply not only the importance of the friend in the care of the self, but also the necessity of maintaining a strong link between self-knowledge and self-transformation. In Hermeneutics, Foucault asks why the notion of “know thyself” (gnothi seautou) holds such a privileged place in histories of Western philosophy. He argues that this supposedly fundamental principle is merely part of a larger system of thought best designated “care of the self” (epimeleia heautou).

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