, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 569-574
Date: 15 Oct 2010

Ben Golder and Peter Fitzpatrick: Foucault’s Law

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Foucault’s Law offers a compelling reversal of the standard interpretation of Foucault’s account of law. Ben Golder and Peter Fitzpatrick insist that for Foucault law is not simply an outdated pre-modern tool for maintaining social order but a vital component in the construction of contemporary society. More specifically, the authors argue against the widely accepted notion that Foucault understands law solely as a monolithic power for repression and vengeance by developing a more nuanced interpretation of Foucault’s account of law as relational, responsive and illimitable. They conclude by linking this responsive account of law to Foucault’s late work on ancient philosophy and practices of the self, suggesting that law can be seen as a necessary component in modern society’s continuing self-constitution.

Golder and Fitzpatrick develop their argument by working through and critiquing a number of competing interpretations of Foucault’s account of law, but they focus most of their critica ...