Finally: The core arguments of my Foucauldian theory of Freedom as Critique are now also available in English - just published in Philosophy & Social Criticism!
Freedom is the capability to critically reflect upon one’s own subjectification, and its conditions lie in political institutions. This anti-anarchist and institutionalist reading of Foucault helps to to draw out the consequences of his thinking on freedom for postfoundationalist democratic theory and the general social-philosophical discussion about freedom.
This new research article presents some of the core arguments of my German book “Freiheit als Kritik. Sozialphilosophie nach Foucault” (Freedom as Critique. Social Philosophy After Foucault; transcript 2018) and refines them through the detailed discussion of the ‘argument from modal robustness’.
Please share with interested Foucauldians and philosophers!
Foucault’s theory of power and subjectification challenges common concepts of freedom in social philosophy and expands them through the concept of ‘freedom as critique’: Freedom can be defined as the capability to critically reflect upon one’s own subjectification, and the conditions of possibility for this critical capacity lie in political and social institutions. The article develops this concept through a critical discussion of the standard response by Foucault interpreters to the standard objection that Foucault’s thinking obscures freedom. The standard response interprets Foucault’s later works, especially The Subject and Power, as a solution to the problem of freedom. It is mistaken, because it conflates different concepts of freedom that are present in Foucault’s work. By differentiating these concepts, this article proposes a new institutionalist approach to solve the problem of freedom that breaks with the partly anarchist underpinnings of Foucault scholarship: As freedom as critique is not given, but itself a result of subjectification, it entails a demand for ‘modal robustness’ and must therefore be institutionalized. This approach helps to draw out the consequences of Foucault’s thinking on freedom for postfoundationalist democratic theory and the general social-philosophical discussion about freedom.
Cite and download
Feel free to contact me for access to the published version.
Freiheit als Kritik - The Monograph
|Schubert, Karsten (2018): Freiheit als Kritik. Sozialphilosophie nach Foucault. Bielefeld: transcript.
Freedom as Critique. Social Philosophy After Foucault
“The great strength and relevance, from the perspective of historical theory, lies above all in the fact that this opens up space for a new debate on governmentality, which should be theoretically advanced again after an upswing at the turn of the millennium and empirical studies that have since applied the concept.
Daniel Albrecht: Review of: Schubert, Karsten: Freiheit als Kritik. Sozialphilosophie nach Foucault. Bielefeld 2018 , in: H-Soz-Kult, 15.04.2019, http://www.hsozkult.de/publicationreview/id/rezbuecher-30321
“The author succeeds in demonstrating the significance of Foucault’s thought of freedom for the theory of democracy and the general social-philosophical debate.” Helmut Reinalter, Journal for International Freemason Research, 42/43 (2019/20)
“Schubert’s merit with this study lies undoubtedly in the systematic analysis of this debate on freedom in Foucault’s work.”
Jana Licht: Online reviews of the Yearbook of Research on Liberalism 2/2018, Karsten Schubert: Freedom as Criticism. Social Philosophy according to Foucault. Bielefeld: transcript, 2018, 357 p., ISBN: 978-3-8376-4317-6, https://www.freiheit.org/sites/default/files/uploads/2019/01/11/online2-18licht-schubert.pdf
Janina Ruhnau: Review. Karsten Schubert: Freiheit als Kritik. Sozialphilosophie nach Foucault Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, in: BEHEMOTH A Journal on Civilisation 2018 Volume 11 Issue No. 2, https://ojs.ub.uni-freiburg.de/behemoth/article/view/994
- Publication: The Last Universalism. Foucault's Freedom and the Justification of Radical Democracy in Postfundamentalism, in 'The Political (in) Political Theory', 6. October 2021
- New Publication: The Christian Roots of Critique. How Foucault's Confessions of the Flesh Sheds New Light on the Concept of Freedom and the Genealogy of the Modern Critical Attitude, 17. March 2021
- Freedom and Institution. For an Anti-Anarchist Interpretation of Foucault - New Publication in Zeitschrift für Politische Theorie, 19. June 2020
- Video online: Foucault's Freedom as Critique, Lecture at Science Po Paris, 25. December 2019
- The Christian Roots of Critique. Review essay on Foucault's 'Confessions of the Flesh', 19. October 2019