Foucault on geography, space and territory

I’m currently working on my chapter for the A Companion to Foucault (Falzon, C., O’Leary, T., Sawicki, J. Eds., Oxford: Blackwell. Forthcoming 2012). My topic is Foucault, geography, space and territory in the “Power and Governmentality” section.

In thinking about this at first I had assumed that there was relatively little that explicitly engages with these topics, broad as they are. The topic is one that is more scattered, and you might say well integrated into the extent of Foucault’s writing. I think I’ll still make this point, and that it’s profitable to see Foucault relating space to his longstanding concerns (“space/knowledge” or space/power/knowledge if you like) but nevertheless there are explicit engagements.

Here’s a minimal list I’m reading through:

Questions on Geography (& Questions back to Herodote)
Eye of Power
Discipline & Punish/panopticon, urban spatial partition
Space vs. history (DE 234 in Japan)
Space, knowledge, power (despite its title one of the less interesting ones)
Security, Territory, Population, esp. Jan. 11.
The three Rio 1974 lectures for the early development of biopower
Heterotopia piece, OT Preface
The governmentality chapter
HF on exclusions
Abnormal 15 Jan
Elden on Foucault as collaborateur to pick up on habitats, urban infrastructure (collective equipments), and public hygiene (cf. the Rio lectures)
BC chapter 1
The confinement of 1657 and challenges of its extent
Translations in our Space Knowledge Power book, some of the case studies, scene settings and elaborations

In terms of topics I think the following are critical:

1. Spatial orderings, exclusions, enclosures, partitions

2. Governmental technologies (eg panopticon, plans, tables, surveys, mappings) and territory

3. The calculative, hence leading to the statistical, risk, norms.

I think the key here is the way that space is not just used as a metaphor but is brought in either in the background of the writings or importantly is foregrounded at key moments.

As you can see, I’m focussing more on MF than the secondary literature as I believe that’s what’s needed in a companion book. There may be a small bias toward stuff from say 1970 onwards but I think that’s supported by the emphasis Foucault places himself.

I’d be glad to hear if there’s anything obviously missing or if this seems offbase. I think the topic is fairly straightforward but you never know. We’ve got around 8k words, so actually not a lot of room to dwell.


4 responses to “Foucault on geography, space and territory

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Foucault on geography, space and territory | Open Geography --

  2. I was wondering what the “HF” is that is on exclusions?

  3. Ahhh. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s