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Freedom as the Way of Life: Power, Truth-Telling, and the Politics of Michel Foucault’s Critical Philosophy

Sittidumrong, Attasit (2021) Freedom as the Way of Life: Power, Truth-Telling, and the Politics of Michel Foucault’s Critical Philosophy. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

Since 2016, the proliferation of post-truth discourse has created a condition that affects the order of democracy in the west. Though many scholars have explored this condition through various frameworks, one of the topics that is rarely investigated is the new character of freedom and truth, as well as the relation between these concepts. In this dissertation, I propose a way of accounting for this point by turning to Foucault’s notion of truth-telling. I start my reading of Foucault by showing that, despite the popularity of his framework for analyzing the operation of power, Foucault should not be viewed as a philosopher who surrenders to the operation of power. On the contrary, his treatment of power should be read as part of the critical project that takes power to be its target. Seen in this light, the notion of truth-telling, which Foucault elaborated in his last three years, is nothing short of the conception that enabled him to complete his critical project against power. By tracing how he derives his critique of the operation of power, I demonstrate that Foucault’s notion of truth-telling is the form of action that actualizes the truth enshrined within what one thinks. Thanks to its being presented objectively, this truth also grounds the condition under which one’s freedom could be realized, in such a way that it could activate a moment when power, operating by governing the way one behaves, is disrupted. Freedom, then, is an experience activated at the moment when one could assert one’s capability of governing one’s own self. Hence, our current situation, characterized by the proliferation of post-truth discourse, could be understood as the emergence of a new freedom, which asserts the capability of self-determination, through the form of action that allows each individual to manifest their own truth.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Attasit Sittidumrong
Date Deposited: 05 May 2021 15:18
Last Modified: 05 May 2021 15:18
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/30275

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