Foucault & Law Discussion (Feb 1997)


Query From Anna Cherkasova G96CHE47@sirius.ceu.hu 17 Feb 1997

Dear Colleagues,
Sorry to trouble you by this message, but I do need your help. I am an MA student from the Gender Studies Program at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. Currently I am writing a course paper on the following subject: Foucaultian understanding of juridical power (based on _History of Sexuality_ by M. Foucault) or just Foucault and Law. Does anyone have any idea on related literature (books, articles, own ideas)? I would appreciate any help. Thank you in advance.

Response From Ines Orobio de Castro orobio@xs41ll.nl 18 Feb 1997 In my thesis I investigated the way in which Dutch law dealt with transsexuality. Using a Foucaulcian approach I focussed on 'power/knowledge practices (Law and Medicine) confirming sex dichotomy and re-establishing it in cases of confusion (transsexuality)': Orobio de Castro, Ines (1993) _'Made to Order: Sex/Gender in a Transsexual Perspective_(Amsterdam, Het Spinhuis isbn 90 73052 77 7

Response From Patrick Curry prcurry@rci.rutgers.edu 18 Feb 1997 One good source for such texts is the set of essays entitled _On Governmentality_, published as a separate title. The relation of law as such to the systems of government are covered quite thoroughly therein.

Response From Dawn Bourque dbourque@ccs.carleton.ca 18 Feb 1997 I would highly recommend Alan Hunt and Gary Wickham's _Foucault and the Law_(London, 1994); for *related* stuff, also check out Mitchell Dean's _Critical and Effective Histories_, and _The Constitution of Poverty_.

Response From Thomas Jepsen tjepsen@mindspring.com 20 Feb 1997

Regarding Anna Cherkasova's query...his earlier book _Madness and Civilization_ (Histoire de la Folie, 1961)deals in part with the legal and judicial treatment of the insane in various periods of history, and may yield some insight into Foucault's approach to juridicial power and the law.

Response From David Applebaum applebaum@rowan.edu 21 Feb 1997

In his workshop for the syndicat de la magistrature (a French labor union of judges) Foucault said (this was part of a spoken/aural critique of the socialist agenda for legal change in 1978), in part:

"The great political reflections of the 18th century were not a juridicial reflection on the essential of Rights, they were essentially a tactful reflection, technical on the manner that one could and should exercise power in the function of costs discovered through the phenomena of repression and economic development.

It seems that the great formual that was set in place at the end of the 18th century is what can be called liberalism-legalism: liberte-loi.

The liberty-law system was a certain way of imagining , of defining the way that one might exercise power; in the schema of the economy of rational power individuals were considered as subjects of law holding a certain number of liberties, and linked by a certain power that limited itself and its exercise through the law."

This manuscript was eventually published by the union. They left out the dialogue between Foucault and Dominique Charvet, a protege of Nicos Poulantzas.

Response From Christopher Corley ccorley@omni.cc.purdue.edu 24 Feb 1997 Dear Anna, The series published by Oxford University Press, entitled _Studies in the History of Sexuality_ should prove helpful in uncovering scholarship that applies to Foucault's insights to legal contexts. In particular, Guido Ruggiero's _The Boundary of Eros_(Oxford, 1985) and James R. Farr's _Authority and Sexuality in Early Modern Burgundy, 1550-1730_(Oxford, 1995) should prove helpful. Professor Farr's bibliography is quite extensive.


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