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I was immediately attracted to Foucault's genealogical work when I first encountered it as a sociology graduate student in the early 1980's. "Discipline and Punish" (1977) was not only a relatively recent arrival in English-speaking sociology, but its masterful and eloquent critique of the modern social sciences (articulated via its genealogy of the modern prison and the science of criminology) immediately inspired me to apply it to life sciences outside the field of criminal justice (Doran 1986). Moreover, this macro-sociological approach, with its emphasis on detailed historical description rather than abstract conceptual analysis, promised students like myself, a very compelling alternative to both the neo-functionalist and the neo-Marxist frameworks still dominating our university education at that time (e.g., Guess 1981; Habermas 1984; Parsons and Platt 1973; Parsons 1977; Alexander 1982). And while his power/knowledge thesis obviously went beyond conventional Marxist understandings of ideology, his implicit (1977: 287-292) and explicit (1980a: 956; 1983) discussions of resistance seemed more promising than the Marxist-inspired resistances being discussed by various critical sociologists at that time (Hall and Jefferson 1976; Poulantzas 1978; Willis 1981; cf. Smart 1983). Yet my admiration for Foucault was also tempered with a reservation or two about the development of his subsequent research. Thus, I found it difficult to reconcile his very sophisticated post-Marxist, post-liberal, post-functionalist theorization of power/knowledge (and resistance), with his subsequent publications on the "self'; especially when this latter research (1985; 1986a) seemed to be in danger of both abandoning its customary historical terrain (1) and of becoming almost atheoretical in its analytic approach. And thus, its relevance for any possible, contemporary opposition to power/knowledge seemed obscure, at best.

My other major reservation with Foucault's analysis of the self, however, concerned the issue of "standpoint". As an undergraduate, I had been hugely inspired by that micro-sociological scholarship (beginning with ethnomethodology) which had, like Foucault, mounted powerful critiques of social scientific knowledge, especially sociology. But these scholars had simultaneously developed radically new practices for assembling alternative "standpoints" (2) to the (scientific) sociology they found so deficient. And these standpoint truth-claims (for example, in "cultural competence" or "women's experience") necessarily included the scholar's own embodied self because, for them, "the only way of knowing a socially constructed world is knowing it from within" (Smith 1974a: 11). And, even for a student like myself, my developing sociological self already understood that any macro-theoretical framework that I inscribed myself within, had to be combined with an appropriate micro-standpoint. (3) Yet Foucault, despite the fact that his critique was arguably more powerful than simply a critique of sociology, and despite the fact that he subsequently did turn his analytic focus onto the self, seemed to have little interest in this question of standpoint (and certainly displayed little sympathy for women's selves or standpoints) (4) in these final publications. Thus, I left that issue unresolved for many years. (5)

But now with the publication of Foucault's last three lecture courses at the College de France, I have actually resolved this issue. Interestingly though, that resolution has come as something of a surprise to me, as Foucault himself never explicitly addressed the question of his own "standpoint". Instead, Foucault, in these final years, was still doggedly pursuing his research into Greek Antiquity (although he had changed his trajectory somewhat so as to study "technologies of the self' more generally, rather than sexual practices specifically). Yet when I actually digested these last three books (after their eventual, English-language publication in 2005, 2010 and 2011), I realised that their analyses do, indeed, have a relevance for contemporary sociology, just as "Discipline and Punish" had had in the 1980's. It is quite true that these final genealogies were extremely deep excavations into our cultural history, but I now understand them as also providing answers to some concerns that Foucault had, rather enigmatically, raised (at least, in English) (6) in the early 80's. Then he had pointed out that modern forms of resistance to pastoral power (7) typically consist of "struggles against the government of individualization" (1983: 212); and that in order "to liberate us" (212) we need "to promote new forms of subjectivity" (212) and to refuse the "kind of individuality which has been imposed on us for several centuries" (216). And what has now become clear to me is that these final lectures end up theorizing one such subjectivity (8) for this struggle against pastoral power. At the same time, they also seem to be promoting it as an alternative to more traditional forms of philosophical "subjectivity".

However, this figure took a long time to uncover; because Foucault not only had to problematize the "desiring subject" of pastoral power, but he also had to go beyond the traditional subject of Ancient Philosophy (the one constantly entreated to "know yourself"), in order to unearth the "parrhesian subject" of Ancient Greek politics. And whereas, some years previously (1977), when Foucault had first examined "relations of power and their role in the interplay between the subject and truth" (2011: 8), he had unearthed the "'docile' bodies" (1977: 138) produced by the panoptic technologies of the nineteenth century, by 1984 he was uncovering a very different type of body,--an active and agentive subject enmeshed within the relations of power and truth in Antiquity. This was the liberated parrhesian subject who constantly displays the "courage of truth"(2011), despite considerable personal risk, so as to speak frankly in situations of power. (9) And it is this figure I suggest, that finally provides Foucault with the micro--standpoint needed to complement his macro-theorizing on the development of power relations (pastoral power, power/knowledge, governmentality, etc) in western culture.

But it was only when I contrasted these writings with those of the standpoint sociologists that I discovered something even more un expected. And this discovery affected even the most sophisticated of the ethnomethodologically-inspired sociologists (whom I had been following (10) for many years); those who had not only begun from their own embodied selves and their critiques of sociology, but who had then gone on to formulate their anti-sociological standpoints (11) via a Heideggerian-influenced return to the Greeks and the prioritization of either the "self-reflective self' or the "reflexive self'. Moreover, this surprise manifested itself at two levels; at the level of content and the level of form. At the level of content, I was now discovering that even though Foucault's explicit starting point (1983) had been in relations of power, rather than in phenomenology, his scholarly endpoint, the ascetic self in Antiquity, who engages in "care of the self', does indeed go beyond even the most historically compelling of these Heideggerian approaches; Sandywell's genealogy into the reflexive origins of western theorizing.

But what I was discovering at the level of form was even more surprising; as Foucault's writings seemed to go beyond (albeit unintentionally) the Heideggerian-informed approach of Blum and McHugh (e.g., 1984), as well. Their analytic interest in "self-reflection" had been constantly applied to their own embodiment, so as to forge a harmony between their content (their discussions of "self-reflection") and their form (their own "self-reflection" as researchers). What I now realized was that Foucault also ends up demonstrating a harmony between his form and his content; and consequently becomes a "parrhesian" intellectual. (12) That is, he not only formulates the historical importance of "care of the self', but he also takes "care of himself', by using practices similar to the ones used by individuals seeking "access to the truth" in Antiquity. But as these ("conversion") practices typically take a lifetime to successfully complete, Foucault's endpoint, his parrhesian "standpoint" only emerges at the completion of this journey.

Thus, the major aim of this paper is to demonstrate several features of this argument. It will begin by displaying the tremendous influence that Foucault's macro-structural theorising has had on sociology, and the limited influence that his micro-theorizing has had. It will then turn to the sociological work on the "self which opposes conventional sociology", and show how sophisticated this standpoint scholarship became (especially in the hands of scholars like Sandywell), before pointing out a significant blind spot which still remains. The next section will then show how Foucault's lectures on "care of the self', as a means for gaining access to the truth, actually go beyond Sandywell's prioritization of the "reflexive self', and lead us, albeit circuitously and unexpectedly, to the unearthing of the parrhesian self. (13) The final substantive section then demonstrates my most unexpected finding regarding Foucault's tacit practices; and centres around Foucault's apparent acknowledgment that he had actually "converted" himself.


Arguably, it was "Discipline and Punish" (1977) which first alerted sociologists to Foucualt's relevance. Its theorizing on power/knowledge, coupled with its explicit sociological orientation, (14) immediately attracted their attention. Not long after, his "History of Sexuality, volume 1" extended this power/knowledge thesis; by not only showing how sexuality acts as a "dense transfer point for relations of power"(1980a: 103) but also by introducing several concepts (biopower, anatamo-politics, confessional technology) eminently suited for sociological application. And these books had immediate effect. In France, Donzelot (1979; 1984) quickly pursued these Foucauldian insights into the realm of the "social"; showing how the psy sciences helped the governing of modern families, and how insurance worked to subdue an insurrectionary working class (Doran 2004). In the English-speaking world, Garland (1985) and Cohen (1985) were two of the first book-length applications of Foucauldian thinking to the field of criminal justice. (15) While in other areas, scholars like Arney and Bergen (1984), Hewitt (1983), Frank (1982), etc quickly recognised the applicability of Foucault's theorizing to fields such as health care, social policy, medicine, etc.

And even after his premature death, Foucault's influence continued to grow. In fact, it received a new lease on life when a school of empirically-minded, macro-sociologists sought to adapt the Foucauldian ouevre to what they perceived as a significant mutation occurring in advanced western societies. (16) More importantly, these "governmentality" scholars proceeded to embark on a highly insightful and empirically detailed form of historical sociology; one which breathed fresh life into conventional understandings of the historical constitution of "advanced liberal" societies. Moreover, this work was international in scope, with scholars from England, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, etc., all contributing to the scholarship generated by this school. (17)

Nevertheless, Foucault's writings have not escaped criticism. Not surprisingly perhaps, his initial power/knowledge thesis was immediately challenged by the Marxist sociologists of that time. (Poulantzas 1978: 146-53; Minson 1980; Lea 1979; Fine 1979). Then, after his death, the emerging governmentality school was also challenged by a more culturally informed Marxism which argued for the continuing theoretical relevance of the state (Curtis 1995).18 More recently, the full publication of Foucault's own writings on governmentality (the 1975-79 courses at the College de France), has also led to a renewed, albeit updated, Marxist critique. That is to say, contemporary critics (Dupont and Pearce 2001; Hardy 2010; Pearce and Woodiwiss 2001; Joseph 2004; Datta 2007; Frauley 2007) of Foucault are as inspired by the realism of Bhaskar and the aleatory materialism of Althusser, as by the writings of Marx himself.

The majority of these critiques, however, have focussed on Foucault's macro-structural writings. In contrast, Foucault's later publications on the Greek self have been non-controversial, for the most part, and generated little application (19) or discussion from micro-sociologists, serious about understanding society and the self from within. (20) And that is perhaps understandable, because despite Foucault's initial, sociologically-promising, remarks that our "present struggles revolve around the question: Who are we? They are a refusal of these abstractions, of economic and ideological state violence which ignore who we are individually, and a refusal of a scientific or administrative inquisition which determines who one is"(1983: 212), (21) his later work on the "agentive self' (in Antiquity) might have appeared less promising, as it did not seem to be theoretically advancing beyond the phenomenology which he had so roundly critiqued in his earlier works. In fact, it appeared to be using a rather everyday notion of the self, instead.

In contrast, at the same time that Foucault was developing his macro-, structural theorizing, certain micro-sociologists (in English-speaking sociology) began developing their own theorizations of the agentive self who opposed conventional sociology. And, of course, their own sociological selves constituted an integral part of this theorizing. Typically, they started from a critique of sociology's knowledge or power coupled with some understanding of ethnomethodology, but they then pursued that oppositional "standpoint" in different theoretical and methodological directions. So perhaps we should turn a genealogist's eye on these neglected (anti-)sociologists (22) in order to see how they developed increasingly sophisticated analyses of the agentive self, and how some of them also attempted to connect up with the types of macro-structural concerns which so concerned Foucault.


Arguably, it was Berger and Luckmann (1966) who introduced phenomenology and its concern with the self into sociology. Yet when Garfinkel adapted Schutzian phenomenology to empirical analysis and coupled it with a Wittgensteinian awareness of language (Garfinkel 1967: 70), the resulting ethnomethodology immediately showed how the everyday self (in this case, Agnes) is actually capable of constructing itself in opposition to a dominant cultural formation (1967: 1116-185). But it was when ethnomethodologists started investigating sociology itself, and asking questions about its form rather than its content, that we saw the emergence of both a challenge to this dominant social scientific discourse and the related realization that new practices for the sociological self (quite different than those for the traditional sociologist) needed to be formulated.

Thus, ethnomethodology's initial critique pointed out that despite what sociologists said at the level of their social scientific content; in their form (their tacit methodological practices), they were also "selves" who unavoidably used the same types of common sense reasoning as lay members of society (Garfinkel 1967; McHugh 1968; Pollner 1974; Mehan and Wood 1975; Cicourel 1973; Wootton 1975; Turner 1970). And although conventional sociology reacted vehemently and confusedly to this challenge (Swanson et al 1968; McSweeney 1973; Coser 1975; Gellner 1975), ethnomethodology immediately realised that its critique necessitated that it formulate more clearly, not just an alternative understanding of sociology, but also an alternative understanding of the sociologist. In other words, it began formulating those features of the ethnomethodological self which would differentiate it from the conventional sociological self. (23)

But if ethnomethodology challenged sociology at the level of methods primarily, Blum and McHugh went even further and challenged sociology's theorizing, as well. Originally influenced by Garfinkel (McHugh 1968; Blum and Rosenburg 1968), they quickly went beyond their ethnomethodological origins, after Blum (1970a) pointed out that sociological theorizing, not just sociology's methods, also relied on tacit common sense reasoning. But this critique was not simply content to challenge contemporary theorizing. Instead it sought to question the entire tradition of theorizing that had been inherited from Aristotle; as the latter constituted a "degenerate usage" (Blum 1970b: 304). Moreover, Blum's alternative approach insisted on going beyond ethnomethodology's inadequate self-reflection (24) so as to follow in Heidegger's footsteps (304) and seek theorizing's "primordial deep grammar" (304) in the Greece of Socrates and Plato, rather than Aristotle. Consequently, Blum and McHugh quickly went beyond the contemporary world of this theoretic self and linked it to the "deep structure" (Blum 1970b: 319) which gives it life. And for them this meant going beyond Aristotle's "mathematical paradigm" (Blum 1974: 243) which still constitutes the "form of life" (2) for most modern social theory, so as to recover Plato's dialectical paradigm; one in which theorizing is understood quite differently. As Blum clarifies, "the great tradition in theorizing is the tradition that re-members the problem of Socrates ... to re-member the moral grounds of speaking" (38) and to ask "how ought we live thinkingly amidst the un-thought without losing our souls to self-interest" (37).

And just as ethnomethodology's critique of sociology necessitated a re-formulation of the sociological self (into the ethnomethodological self), Blum and McHugh's critiques necessitated a re-formulation of both the sociological and the ethnomethodological self. Furthermore, their over-arching concern with self-reflection also led them to a highly original, and explicit formulation of the self. And they actually displayed this self in their practices. That is, Blum and McHugh's subsequent (1984) work effectively demonstrated, despite its tortuous prose, how the constant practice of self-reflection (25) on theoretical discourses, actually worked to produce a new form of moral self, namely the (self-reflective) "theorist". Furthermore, their self-reflective theorizing actually constituted itself as a form of moral pedagogy (113-122). That is to say, via their constant self-reflection, Blum and McHugh not only formulated themselves as "principled selves",(9-10) but they also constituted themselves, via their practices, as "teachers" (121) able to assist others (through the constant dialogical challenging of convention) to become "principled actors" (134-151); just as Socrates had done in Ancient Greece via his dialectical pedagogy.

But despite the theoretical sophistication of this work, and its distant origins in Garfinkel's writings, Blum and McHugh's Analysis school was still primarily concerned with questions of knowledge and truth, not power. Yet, there were other scholars at that time, who were also inspired by ethnomethodology, but combined these insights with elements from the "critical tradition", so as to critique not only sociology but to make questions of power central to their analysis. Thus, Dorothy Smith began her feminist career with a strident critique of sociology and a keen appreciation of ethnomethodological writings, (26) arguing that sociology's methods acted similarly to the methods for constructing ideology, as articulated by Marx in the German Ideology. For her, the major problem with sociology was that its "methodological prescriptions ... look uncomfortably like this recipe for making ideology" (1974c: 46).

Moreover, like the ethnomethodologists, she also realised that her critique had serious implications for the sociological self. Thus, she simultaneously proposed an alternative sociological standpoint. She credited the women's movement for giving her "access to a social reality that was previously unavailable, was indeed repressed" (1974a: 7), but this "liberation" was then channelled into a number of specific suggestions for the practical construction of a sociological self which opposed the ideological self of the conventional "objective" sociologist. For example, she proposed that this alternative self embrace (rather than ignore, as the conventional sociological self does) its own situatedness (11), its own direct experience(11) and its own subjectivity (12).

Yet, just as ethnomethodology's critique of sociology's methods was quickly followed by a similar critique of its theory, Smith's critique was also followed by a critique of sociological theory (and the positivist sociological tradition more generally). And the same strategy of contrasting content versus form was evident in a collection of (post-ethnomethodological) essays aimed at displaying sociology's tacit stratifying and alienating practices. Thus, Filmer pointed out that "when sociologists constitute (other) members' practices as social stratification ... they too are practising social stratification" (1975: 150) in their tacit practices. Similarly, Sandywell pointed out how sociological theory, in its background practices, sought to produce selves who stratify. That is, sociology actually provides "rules or techniques for constituting a notion of theoretical self ... which stratifies the speaker away from other speakers" (1975a: 66). And this "alienated authorship" (87) was specifically recognised and expressed in one or two of these essays; most clearly in Silverman's admission regarding his own "alienated existence" (1975: 101) as a sociological self. (27)

But it was Sandywell who took this standpoint of the alienated theoretical self the most seriously. Furthermore, he saw the temporal task of overcoming alienation as a crucial part of his own theorizing. Thus, he began by dialogically inviting readers to (collectively) "destratify theorizing" (1975a: 87) in order to "dialectically supercede ... conventional sociology" (81) But it was Heidegger's work especially, that showed him how this might be accomplished in practice (and also allowed him to go beyond ethnomethodology and Blum and McHugh in the process). Heidegger suggested the possibility of an "alternative beginning" (Sandywell 1975b: 23) for theorizing, one which necessitated embracing an alternative "critical tradition" (12), in which Marx and Hegel were dominant, one concerned with hermeneutic and reflexive(24-39) not positive, inquiry; and one which had its origins in the primordial, Presocratic understanding of theory as "wonder" (38), instead of Blum's recommendation for theorizing as Platonic "re-membering" (Blum 1974: 28). And in Sandywell's subsequent magnus opus (1996a, b, c), he revealed how he had developed these early insights into a formidable theoretical (and empirical) articulation of this alternative "theorizing". Moreover, his early concerns with the self had now become the explicit and central focus of his work.

In this sprawling three-volume set, Sandywell's central problem (1996a) has become the hegemony of the "paradigm of reflection" (xiv) for any understanding of the self, in our contemporary era of "reflexive capitalism" (13-41); rather than his earlier, more straightforward concern with the dominance of "positivism or constructive theorizing" (1975: 14) within sociology. Furthermore, this historical dominance of self-reflection has also meant the longstanding "repression of the intrinsically reflexive temporal and dialogical dimensions of human experience" (1996a: xv). And by uncovering this repression, Sandywell can recover "reflexivity as the return of the repressed Other" (xxi), with the emancipatory result that "experiences that were marginalised during the epoch of Reflection to sustain its fundamental ideological categories now take centre stage" (50). But more importantly Sandywell actually carries out the exhaustive theoretical and empirical work to substantiate these claims; and replace the "reflective self' with the "reflexive self'.

Volume 1 concerns itself with painstakingly deconstructing those theories that have helped constitute this culture of reflection, in order to introduce his alternative theory of "dialogical reflexivity" (1996a: 399-426). Volume 2 mainly focuses on the reflexive role of myth, and how the "generic polemics... of the Homeric epics" (1996b: 46) resulted in violence becoming the "paradigmatic form of Western discourse" (46). While volume 3 examines the emergence of theorizing in Ancient Greece as constitutively reflexive and dialogical (not simply reflective), while also situating these "discourse wars" (1996c: 37) within the wider social context (78-85) of the Greek "agonistic ethic" (Sandywell 2000). Specifically, he shows how Ionian philosophy did not so much break with myth, but rather, it "transmuted the mythic icons of natural order and origin into reflective symbols, thereby instituting the project of cosmology and ontology" (1996c: 28).

And like Blum and McHugh, Sandywell also pays attention to issues of form and content; explicitly with regard to his treatment of the Greeks (Sandywell 2000: 94) and implicitly with regard to his own theoretical practices. That is, like the pre-socratics who questioned the tradition in which they were raised (Sandywell 2000: 106), Sandywell does something similar (critiquing the hegemony of the conventional sociological tradition) while also reflexively (and discursively) transmuting that material into a new theoretical challenge (his theory of "logology") to that tradition, as well. That is, his work offers new "alternative dialogical methods of embodied reflexivity for social theory" (1996a: xxi) while also suggesting that it is part of "a collective project in which individuals and groups transgress their inherited epistemologies in order to gain knowledge of the conditions and historical possibilities of their being-in-the-world" (1996a: 424). And just as Mills, many years ago, had offered scholars the "sociological imagination" (1959) as an alternative emancipatory (sociological) theorization of Western society, Sandywell's proposed "reflexive imagination" (1996a: 426) offers a sophisticated updating of that Millsian approach.

Nevertheless, despite Sandywell's insistence that the theoretical self must also be an eminently reflexive one, and despite the scholarship displayed in his "genealogy"(1996a: xxi) of theorizing's emergence in the context of Ancient Greece's agonistic character, Sandywell's logological investigations still reveal at least one significant blind spot. From his initial concern to challenge sociology's rules and techniques for constituting oneself as a theoretical self (1975a: 66) to his subsequent excavation of theorizing's (repressed) dialogical and reflexive origins in the pre-socratics, Sandywell certainly developed a powerful alternative theorization of the theoretical self. Yet, what he left unexamined was the, arguably, more foundational concern with the self itself; that is, how "a human being turns him- or herself into a subject" (Foucault 1983: 208), or as Foucault suggested in one of his few public references to Heidegger, let us now "ask which techniques and practices form the Western concept of the subject, giving it its characteristic split of truth and error, freedom and constraint" (1999: 161).

And although Sandywell convincingly documents the "agonistic field" which constituted the larger context for the emergence of the Presocratic philosophers, the crucial question of "how" actual embodied (Greek and other) selves might transform themselves, out of the specific agonism in which they themselves are embedded, into subjects concerned with truth and/or freedom, is never examined. However, as suggested above, it is Foucault who turned his attention to such matters, in his last lecture courses at the College de France. Moreover, he not only studied the practices undertaken to transform the self in Antiquity, so as to have "access to the truth" (Foucault 2005), but he also went on to uncover the exact origins of parrhesian truth-telling in the agonistic realm of politics and the story of Ion (Foucault 2010, 2011), rather than in philosophy or spirituality. Yet he did this, via a completely different route than Sandywell. As the next section will show, it was Foucault's dogged and relentless genealogical excavation of pastoral power (and certainly not any concern with the phenomenological subject) which led him eventually to unearth the parrhesian self. And, as we will also discover, Foucault's painstaking excavation not only brought him to the discovery of a form of "subjectivity" which refuses the conventions of pastoral power, but it also enabled his research into the "genealogy of the subject" (Foucault 1999: 161) to reach beyond the limitations of the "philosophy of the subject" (159) with which he had been struggling since his first (typically ignored) scholarly publication (Foucault 1986b). (28)


When Foucault first declared an explicit interest in the "subject", he openly acknowledged that this turn towards the subject had emerged from his prior analyses of power (and especially modern pastoral power), rather than from any specific concern with the subject. As we have already seen, it arose from his mundane observations that contemporary resistances often seemed to be directed against forms of pastoral power. That is, they were struggles against this power which "categorises the individual, marks him by his own individuality, attaches him to his own identity, imposes a law of truth on him which he must recognise and which others have to recognise in him" (1983: 212). But the very fact that empirical and embodied resistances were now springing up, also forced Foucault into re-specifying the power--resistance relation (that he had initially introduced in 1980a) so as to incorporate "the one over whom power is exercised ... a person who acts" (220) into his analytic schema. That is, he realised that he now had to start analysing seriously both parts of the "subject and power" relationship; the practices of an agentive self as well as the practices of power.

And in his initial attempt to clarify this relationship, he suggested that we replace the term power by the term government (and "the very broad meaning which it had in the sixteenth century ... the government of children, of souls, of communities, of families, of the sick" (221)); because, to govern "is to structure the possible field of action of others" (221). And because he was now interested in the subject as well, he also made it clear that others' actions necessarily include one "important element --freedom" (221). As a result, his original (1980a) understanding of (pastoral) power changes significantly; now power gets exercised in situations "when individual or collective subjects ... are faced with a field of possibilities in which several ways of behaving, several reactions and diverse comportments may be realized" (1983: 221). And resistance is always possible; "at the very heart of the power relationship and constantly provoking it are the recalcitrance of the will and the intransigence of freedom" (221-2). In other words, this relationship is always one of struggle; or what he now calls "agonism" (222).

This theoretical introduction of the self who acts (but always from within the confines of an agonistic field) not only led to long publication delays and to significant changes being made to his research trajectory (e.g., from medieval Christianity back to Ancient Greece), but it also opened up a space for him to start examining the actual practices of "truth" and "freedom" which a self might undertake. As a consequence volumes 2 and 3 of the History of Sexuality not only uncover the "ignoble origins" of pastoral power in Pagan Greek society, but they also demonstrate alternative practices for sexual self-formation; ones which foreground an ethics and a stylization (1985: 14-32), rather than a law and a deciphering (1986: 68).

But these two volumes tend to disguise the fact that Foucault had also encountered a number of other issues after his first change in genealogical direction. The second issue which made him change focus again, was one which had initially emerged out of the genealogical research presented in the 1980-1 lecture series and which subsequently informed much of History of Sexuality volumes 2 and 3. That is, while studying the practices of aphrodisia in Antiquity, he had also discovered, somewhat unexpectedly, a more general phenomenon; "the principle that one should tell the truth about oneself in all of ancient morality, and in Greek and Roman culture" (2011: 4). And although this more general "cultivation of the self' (1986: 37-68) does get discussed as one chapter in the History of Sexuality, volume 3, Foucault had actually spent the whole of the 1981-82 lecture series (now published as the Hermeneutics of the Subject, 2005) examining this phenomenon, in depth. In fact, his opening remarks (in 1981-82) give a clear sense of this second change in genealogical focus.
   This year, I would like to step back a bit from ... the sexual
   material concerning the aphrodisia [italics in original] and sexual
   behaviour, and extract from it the more general terms of the
   problem of "the subject and truth" (2005: 2)

And this more extensive genealogical excavation unearths the origins of the cultivation of the self in the more specific concern with "care of the self', found in the philosophy of Socrates. But Foucault goes on to argue that a major reason why this care of the self is largely unknown to us today (or seen as a "moral dandyism" (12) and thus, ignored) is because of the power of the "Cartesian moment" (12).

For Foucault, this Cartesian approach not only requalified the "know yourself' of Ancient philosophy, but it was also successful in "discrediting the principle of care of the self and in excluding it from the field of modern philosophical thought"(14). Moreover, it also marginalised a certain relationship to the truth. For Foucault "the modern age of the history of truth begins when knowledge itself and knowledge alone gives access to the truth" (17). In contrast, in Antiquity, one's access to the truth comes about quite differently, via what he calls spirituality--"there can be no truth without a conversion or a transformation of the subject" (15). Or, to be more precise,
   Throughout the period we call Antiquity ... the philosophical
   question of "how do we have access to the truth" and the practice
   of spirituality (of the necessary transformation in the very being
   of the subject which will allow access to the truth) ... were never
   separate (16-17).

And much of the year's course is actually concerned with not only displaying the practices associated with this subjugated notion of care of the self, but with showing how it also functioned as a mechanism for gaining access to the truth.

For Foucault, care of the self's specific origins lie in Socrates' advice to Alcibiades, where the gap between learning and care of the self (44) is first identified and problematised. Yes, care of the self does involve knowing yourself (67), as the tradition of philosophy has understood the Alcibiades, but it also entails much more than this. It becomes something one has to do after one's socialization, after one's youth. In fact, it becomes a life-long endeavour--" the care of the self is an obligation that should last for the whole of one's life" (87). And the older one gets, the more important it becomes--we can "say that it is an adult activity and that far from adolescence being the focal point ... in the care of the self, it is rather, the middle of adult life ... perhaps even the end of adult life" (88). And taking care of one's self brings with it certain advantages and rewards; "when young, ... we have to arm ourselves, to be equipped for life. On the other hand, to practice philosophy in old age is to grow young again" (88). In fact, old age loses its traditional ambiguous status (108) and becomes something to strive towards.

And Foucault then goes on to indicate why this life-long caring is so necessary. (29) The problem is not so much (the Alcibadean one of) ignorance, but rather that of "an established and deeply ingrained deformation" (94). As a consequence, the problem must be approached quite differently --care of the self focuses on "the axis of correction-liberation (rather) than on that of training-knowledge" (94). And this is required because the problems are so deep rooted. They are to be found in early childhood with the "famous nursery tales that already obliterate and destroy the child's mind" (95). They are also discovered in the family milieu and especially with the "set of values it transmits and lays down ... the 'family ideology'" (2005: 96). They can also be found in "the training given by the masters of what we will call primary education... the teachers of rhetoric" (96). For Seneca, the individual's problems commence "at the moment of his birth, even in the lap of his mother" (2005: 129); the problem is that of stultitia.
   The stultus is first of all someone blown by the wind and open to
   the external world, that is to say someone who lets all the
   representations from the outside world into his mind. He accepts
   these representations without examining them, without knowing how
   to analyse what they represent ... the stultus lets life pass by
   and constantly changes his viewpoint (131-2).

Thus, care of the self "has to deal with stultita as its raw material ... and its objective is to escape from it" (131). And in this respect, the specific objective is salvation.

But Foucault immediately qualifies this by insisting that we should not interpret this philosophical term in the predominantly religious fashion that has come down to us from christianity. Whereas Christian salvation typically has a dramatic aspect to it, philosophical salvation is quite different. Foucault in fact explains it via several analogies; "just as a city is saved by building the necessary defences ... someone is saved when he is suitably armed and equipped to be able to defend himself'(183-4). In addition, "saving yourself means escaping domination or enslavement"(184) while "being saved means maintaining yourself in a continuous state that nothing can change, whatever events occur around the self, like a wine is preserved" (184). Yet, although this invitation to care for the self and save oneself is widely available throughout Ancient Greece, in practice few actually achieve this salvation. As Foucault clarifies, "lack of courage, strength or endurance, an inability to grasp the importance of the task to see it through; such is the destiny of the majority in reality" (118).

Moreover, in order to achieve this salvation, it is necessary to engage in a specific form of conversion. And although conversion is "one of the most important technologies of the self the West has known" (208), this Hellenistic version is quite unique. Unlike the Christian notion of (a relatively dramatic) conversion (211-2), this philosophical understanding involves "a long and continuous process ... a self-subjectivation" (214). Equally importantly, it is also quite different from the Platonic understanding of conversion. The latter has "knowledge in the form of recollection" (210) as a fundamental feature, whereas the Hellenistic version is marked by "exercise, practice and training" (210). And this long process of conversion necessitates that one not only understands one's self, but that one understand the world of nature which surrounds us, and finally, one's own place in the world. Yet the end result, for the few, is that they gain their liberation (273,279,372) and they achieve parrhesia (242), the ability to speak freely. Not surprisingly perhaps, such a long journey requires assistance, from a guide or a master. And the guide for this journey should be someone who already has parrhesia (399), someone who tells the truth rather than engaging in rhetoric or flattery (373383). And such a person is typically identified by the harmony which exists between what they say and what they do (402-9).

But Foucault also realises that this notion of parrhesia is largely unknown in western culture, and so his curiosity on this topic leads him to a third (and final) major change in genealogical direction. In fact, he spends the next two years exploring and discussing this research into parrhesia, in his College de France lectures. And because this research leads him beyond the "subject and truth" relationship and back to the relationship between the "subject, truth and power", he, eventually finds himself able to come up with a specific formulation of the parrhesian standpoint. It is "the standpoint... which constantly brings the question of the moral subject back to the question of true discourse in which this moral subject constitutes itself and to the question of the relations of power in which this subject is formed" (2011: 68).


I can now turn to the most unexpected consequence of my immersion in Foucault's last three lecture courses. And that is the surprising realization (at the level of form not content) that Foucault seems to have taken "care of himself'. Specifically, he appears to have engaged in a modern variant of the technology of conversion that he had described in his 1981-2 lecture series. And I came to this realization because Foucault, himself, suggested it. That is, in an "Introduction" (to History of Sexuality, volume 2) published just before his death, Foucault made some seemingly cryptic comments about his own intellectual journey (1985: 11), and these remarks have remained mysterious and unexplained, ever since. What I now realise, albeit only with the assistance of these last lecture courses, is that these comments constitute Foucault's acknowledgment of his own journey of conversion. They now make sense when one situates them within Foucault's analytic discussion of the Hellenistic technology of conversion. However, before getting to Foucault's final words, we need to better understand this Hellenistic model.

First, it requires "turning your gaze on yourself' (217). But Foucault stresses that, despite initial appearances, this is nothing like what one finds in Platonism or Christianity (218). It in no way leads to the person becoming "an object of analysis, decipherment and reflection" (222). Nor does it require that you "look inside yourself to discover the seeds of the truth within you ... or look at yourself in order to detect the traces of concupiscence" (218). Instead, it is concerned with avoiding an "unhealthy curiosity about others" (219) and resisting any "meddling in what does not concern us" (220). Or more succinctly stated, "rather than concern yourself with the imperfections of others, be concerned about your own flaws, and misdeeds" (220). But to carry out this actual work of "self on self' (223), one not only needs the "exercise, practice and training" mentioned earlier, but one also needs an "athletic kind of concentration" (222), as found in those preparing for a race, or in an archer focussing on her target(222). In other words, "it involves keeping before our eyes, in the clearest way, that towards which we are striving and having, as it were, a clear consciousness of this aim, of what we must do to achieve it and of the possibility of our achieving it"(222).

Plus, it not only requires a "knowledge of the world" (229) and a "knowledge of things" (230), but the relationship between this "knowledge of nature and self-knowledge" (230) must have a certain character to it. Fortunately, it gets clearly articulated in certain cynic writings. For them, it is "useful knowledge" (232) that is required. Demetrius, for example suggests that causal knowledge is largely pointless (234), whereas relational knowledge is to be privileged. This is because the latter "involves taking into account the relation between the gods, men, the world and things of the world on the one hand, and ourselves on the other" (235). Also, such knowledge is "immediately translatable" (235) into prescriptions. (30) And not only are these forms of knowledge useful but "the subject's mode of being is transformed when he has them ... he becomes bettef' (236). And this is contrasted with the poverty of the knowledge which is mere "cultural embellishment" (236); as the latter is not useful for an individual's conversion. (31) Thus, what is meant by useful knowledge now becomes clearer. Useful knowledge has an etho-poetic character; "knowledge of something, is useful when it has a form and functions in such a way that it can produce ethos" (237).

This concern with knowledge having an etho-poetic character can also be found in Epicurean writings, and especially in their notion of "phusiologia" (238). For them, phusiologia is the "knowledge of nature which is philosophically relevant for the practice of the self' (238). And here too, the cultural learning of the paideia is rejected as merely a " kind of boastful knowledge"(239) spoken by "word-spinners" (239). In contrast, phusiologia gives "the individual boldness and courage, a kind of intrepidity which enables him to stand firm ... against the many beliefs that others wish to impose on him" (240). (32) Plus, phusiologia is also the type of knowledge of nature which "can transform the subject... into a free subject" (241). And Epicurus, himself appears to have accomplished this transformation, as Foucault not only draws attention to the "parrhesia" which Epicurus displays, but also to the latter's concern with combining phusiologia and parrhesia, (33) so as to help others (especially disciples) with their own self-transformations (241-3).

But Foucault is not content simply to point out what sociologists might call the micro and macro aspects of conversion. He also wants to draw attention to it as a process, especially a temporal process. Crucially, it involves real movement of the self (not just simply being attentive to the self), and a subsequent return to the self. In some senses, then this conjures up the image of a loop, or a circle, or, more commonly in Ancient Greece, the image of a journey. And more than that, a journey with "unforeseen risks that may throw you off course or even lead you astray" (249). And although the voyage will always be "something of an Odyssey" (249), the (piloting) knowledge needed to carry it out, (34) should facilitate both the outward journey and the safe return to the home port (248). Moreover, this complete journey is an extremely long one. As Foucault expresses it, the self becomes the "aim, the end of an uncertain and possibly circular journey--the dangerous journey of life" (250). (35)

But it is Seneca, perhaps, who most clearly illustrates the self which successfully completes this life-long journey. For him, "we can only arrive at the self by having passed through the great cycle of the world" (266). But to understand exactly what this means, we need to pay careful attention to Seneca's writings. Initially, there appears to be a paradox. On the one hand, Seneca's writings suggest that the "self must be our objective" (272). Yet he also suggests that to be "free is to flee servitude to oneself' (273). However, this apparent paradox can be resolved if we actually follow Seneca's instructions; --"first examine yourself, take yourself into consideration, and then the world" (274).

So this entails a first movement; "a tearing free from one's self' (275), so that one can escape "the vices of the soul"(275) and renounce "greed, lust and ambition, etcetera" (275). (36) But then, there is a subsequent movement; and this second step enables us to rise to "the summit of this world, and by virtue of this, the inner recesses, secrets and very heart of nature are opened to us" (276). And, crucially, this vantage point (which allows us to comprehend nature) also illuminates the self, and not just the world; "the great exploration of nature is not used to tear us from the world, but to enable us to grasp ourselves again here where we are" (277). Specifically, it allows us to situate
   ourselves so high that from this point, and below us, we can see
   the world in its general order, the tiny space we occupy within it
   and the short time we remain there ... It is the self's view of
   itself from above which encompasses the world of which we are a
   part and which ensures the subject's freedom within this

In other words, this life-long journey of conversion ends with a "standpoint" on one's self and the world, and it is one which provides the self with a view of itself in the world. And it not only brings liberation (273), but it also brings wisdom (the bona mens)(265) and a steadfast serenity (265) as well. (37)

And it is this elegant description of the destination point for the conversion process in Antiquity which allowed me to make the link between Foucault's content and his form. That is to say, in that last Introduction, Foucault not only reflected upon his work but also upon himself. He said then,
   Sure of having traveled far, one finds that one is looking down on
   oneself from above. The journey rejuvenates things, and ages the
   relationship with oneself. I seem to have gained a better
   perspective on the way I worked--gropingly, and by means of
   different or successive fragments --on this project, whose goal is
   a history of truth (1985: 11).

And although I had read and re-read those comments many times before, it was only now that their theoretical import became clear. Just as Seneca argued that the endpoint for the self's journey allows the self to see the self's own position in the world from above, Foucault seemed to be acknowledging that he had reached a similar destination point. But these final lecture courses not only gave me clarity regarding Foucault's final destination point, they also suggested a very different understanding of Foucault's career.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I (like many other sociologists) have generally understood Foucault's career in terms of the research which began with "Madness and Civilization" (1965). And this has meant that I was familiar with his macro- publications (e.g., his archeologies, his genealogies, his governmentality publications) and his micro- publications (e.g., his analyses of sexual ethics in Antiquity). And this has also meant that I was familiar with the Foucauldian self often associated with these writings. From the early Foucault who vehemently denounced phenomenology's "theory of the knowing subject" (1970: xiv), via the Foucault who detested "being the one from whom discourse proceeded" (1981: 51) to the Foucault who insisted - "do not ask who I am" (1972: 17), such statements easily led to the Foucauldian self being characterised as first, a structuralist, and then a post-structuralist. But these last lecture courses invite us to re-consider.

Now, it might make sense to re-examine his macro-structural publications for signs of them displaying the "relational knowledge of the world" that was so important in the conversion journey. Similarly, we might also want to examine more closely his last publications (including these previously unpublished lecture courses) for further signs of them constituting a "return to the self'. And, perhaps more importantly, we might need to excavate his earliest works (i.e., to perform genealogical analysis on Foucault himself) so as to examine the origins of his journey. And a preliminary exploration is revealing, as it does suggest that Foucault, in his first publication - his 1954 "Dream, Imagination and Existence" (1986b) was, in fact, firmly focussed on the "self'. And, at the same time, he was also trying to "free" himself from the dominant models of both Freud (1986b: 35-37) and phenomenology (1986b: 38-42).


As this essay has tried to show, the publication of Foucault's final three lecture courses provide us with tremendous insights regarding (i) Foucault's own writings on the self, (ii) his relationship to other (anti-) sociological theorizations of the self, and (iii) his own practices on his embodied self. I want to finish, however, by drawing two conclusions from this discussion. First, I want to suggest the specific consequences for Foucault, himself, of this "care of the self' that he has exhibited. And his display has occurred at two levels; the level of content (he finished his entire lifetime's work--from his first publication on the self, through his well-known analyses of modernity, and then back to the Greek self --by specifically excavating "care of the self' as a subjugated form of western subjectivity), and the level of form (when one examines Foucault's embodied existence, it now appears that he may have spent his life "caring for himself', especially with regard to the self-subjectivation process of conversion). In other words, Foucault now demonstrates a harmony between what he says and what he does. His form harmonises with his content. His content articulates this conceptualization of "care of the self' while his form actually displays this "care of the self'. And such harmony, as was pointed out earlier, is the hallmark of the "parrhesian speakef' in Ancient Greece, someone who can guide others in obtaining "access to the truth".

Second, I want to suggest some more general consequences of this discussion for sociologists (and anti-sociologists), and in particular for those selves who struggle with the self-subjectivations available in contemporary sociology. Conventionally, there has been a well established tradition for scholars to form their sociological selves as either macrosociologists or micro-sociologists. And it is only in the last generation or two that we have seen the emergence of embodied individuals who form their sociological selves somewhat differently; so as to prioritise explicitly their micro over the macro (e.g., ethnomethodology, Blum and McHugh), or who seek to situate the micro (including their own selves) within an over-arching macro (e.g., Sandywell, Smith). But as has been argued in this paper, Foucault's "care of the self' not only goes beyond certain blind spots in this anti-socological literature, but it also suggests an alternative formulation for standpoint sociology; one that is uniquely different, as it is grounded in agonism rather than phenomenology. Moreover, the standpoint attained for this oppositional self comes towards the end of a life-long journey of "conversion', culminating in the type of synthesis of macro and micro, first suggested by Seneca, but actually displayed by Foucault over the course of his career, and acknowledged by him in his final writings. Of course, this Foucauldian alternative is not just marked by a concern with "conversion" and "care of the self', there are other important elements to it. However, a more detailed exposition of these other components must await another occasion.


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This is a revised version of a paper presented at the 2011 Canadian Sociology Association's annual meetings, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, Friday June 1st 2011. I would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers of the CJS for their encouraging comments, Fam Loutfi for her speedy translation of the abstract, and the following individuals for significantly improving my comprehension of Foucault's French: Thibaut Barrat, Nicholle Videau, William Saulnier, Chesla Carver-Daley and Stephanie Cormier.

(1.) Whereas his previous books (Foucault 1965; Foucault 1970; Foucault 1973; Foucault 1977) had mainly focussed on the epistemes of modernity, he was now going back to Greek Antiquity.

(2.) Although the term "standpoint" is mostly used to describe Dorothy Smith's version of sociology, here it is being extended, so as to include the other "anti-sociologies" which begin analysis from one's own embodied experience.

(3.) Thus, an early attempt (Doran 1985) unsuccessfully explored the possibility of combining Foucault's (1977; 1980a) macro-theorizing with Sandywell et al's (1975) micro-theorizing, before speculatively suggesting (1985: 256) that Foucault might enable us to go beyond certain deficiencies found in Sandywell et al. This current paper, in some ways, demonstrates the satisfactory resolution to the major issues raised in that paper.

(4.) His apparent insensitivity to issues of patriarchy (1985: 143-84; 1986: 14585) also suggested difficulties for the sociological theorizing of a "resistant self", capable of incorporating feminist concerns. Moreover when feminists started taking Foucault more seriously (e.g., Diamond and Quinby 1988; Sawicki 1991), they tended to utilise his writings on discipline rather than the self in antiquity.

(5.) In my own empirical research, I tended to use an explicit Foucauldian macro-framework combined with a feminist standpoint micro-framework; adapted to a classed rather than a gendered experience (Doran 1988; 1994; 1996a; 2002)

(6.) With hindsight, one can now see that these concerns were a little less enigmatic to his regular auditors at the College de France lectures.

(7.) For a succinct discussion of Foucault's understanding of modern pastoral power, see Foucault 1983: 213-6.

(8.) Yet this theorizing was carried out, like Foucault's theorizing of "power/ knowledge" (and much of his other theorizing) by detailed genealogical analysis.

(9.) A relatively clear articulation of the parrhesian self as a form of Ancient 'truth-teller' (and one who is different from the sage, the prophet and the teacher) can be found in Foucault 2011: 1-31:

(10.) Albeit not uncritically. See Doran 1989; 1993; 1996b for demonstrations of the recursive dilemmas they encounter in their work.

(11.) Similar to how Foucault understood his genealogies to be anti-sciences(1980b: 83), we might see these scholars' oppositional knowledges as 'anti-sociologies.'

(12.) It should be stressed that Foucault never uses the term "parrhesian" in his own writings. My decision to adapt the Greek term, in this fashion, was a playfully serious one. Of course, Foucault was a celebrated Parisian intellectual. My claim is that he also became a parrhesian intellectual.

(13.) Unfortunately, space limitations will not permit the discussion of Foucault's final (and extensive) excavations into the parrhesian's "ignoble origins" in politics (2010: 75-171); and its associated features of courage (2011: 38), risk (2011: 12) and binding oneself to the truth (2011: 11). Doran (2011) constituted a first attempt at such a demonstration.

(14.) Foucault (1977: 23-4) begins this work by intentionally situating it in relation to the celebrated sociological writings of both Durkheim and Rusche and Kirchheimer

(15.) And although not, formally, a sociologist, Hacking (1982) was one of the first to use Foucault's notion of biopower in an empirically applied fashion, with his re-analysis of the explosion in statistics in the early 19th century.

(16.) Heavily infuenced by Foucault (1979) and the collection of papers collected together in Burchell et al (1991), this governmentality school utilized a number of previously unpublished lectures to adapt Foucauldian thinking to what was emerging as Advanced Liberalism (Miller and Rose 1990).

(17.) For good overviews of this school's work, one might consult Rose 1999, Rose et al 2006.

(18.) Yet despite the initial furore generated by this interchange (Rose and Miller 1992; Curtis 1995; Miller and Rose 1995) Curtis's subsequent work (2001) was more concerned with synthesising "state formation" theory (Corrigan and Sayer 1986) and the governmentality perspective, than with critiquing the latter. At the same time, Sayer was developing state formation theory in quite different directions; preferring to utilise the "imagined communities and invented traditions" (Sayer 1996: 182) literature, to further his work. Interestingly, Curtis's most recent work (2012) hardly mentions his earlier debt to Corrigan and Sayer.

(19.) Frank (1993; 1998,) constitutes an important exception to this trend among micro-sociologists.

(20.) Of course, this is not to say that micro-sociologists have been uninterested in Foucault's writings on the self. The opposite is, in fact, the case: symbolic interactionists, feminists, and queer theorists have all engaged with this work, albeit to very different degrees (see Callero 2003; Green 2007; and Dietz 2003 for good overviews). Yet the self that typically interests them is the one informed by Foucault's macro-theorizing, rather than the self of Greek Antiquity. However, for recent work which starts to take this Greek self more seriously, see Miller 2008; Seitz 2012; McWhorter 2013.

(21.) He also acknowledged (1983: 210) that this new research direction overlapped, somewhat, with the interests of the (sociologically influential) "Frankfurt school". So, here again, his remarks showed significant sociological promise.

(22.) Although it appears that some of these scholars have been "neglected" by more conventional sociologists, the question of whether or not they have, in fact, been "subjugated" would require considerable further analysis.

(23.) Thus, the formative ethnomethodological self was entreated to construct her self quite differently. She was now encouraged to see the lay actor as a "practical, rule-using analyst" (Atkinson and Drew 1979: 22), and not as a "judgmental dope" (Garfinkel 1967: 66-75). She was also asked to see the social world as "anthropologically strange" (Garfinkel 1967: 9), to cultivate "ethnomethodological indifference" (Garfinkel and Sacks 1970: 345) and to "explicate" (Turner 1970: 177) members' (including her own) competence, rather than correct it (cf. Gubrium and Holstein 2012).

(24.) For Blum, it was not enough to self-reflect in the way that the ethnomethodologists did. One must go even further and include "reflectiveness and its achievements and grounds as objects of reflection" (Blum 1970b: 315). In other words, ethnomethodological self-reflection had to be subjected to selfreflection, as well.

(25.) And this self-reflection necessarily included their own theoretical selves within the project (1984: 8), as they simultaneously and continually demonstrated the grounds of their argument (9) via their theoretical practices; which they fully accepted as being inescapably rooted in language (32).

(26.) In fact, not only did Smith's critique first appear (in abridged form, Smith 1974b) in an anthology dedicated to ethnomethodology (Turner 1974), but it also recognised the potential for ethnomethodological work to illuminate empirically the "social production of ideology" (1974c: 54).

(27.) And in this respect, their starting point in alienated experience went well beyond Smith's. Whereas Smith had acknowledged the alienating experience which was a sociological education (1974a: 7-11), she also argued that the "women's movement" (1974a: 7) had allowed her to begin theorizing from a very different location; namely, one's "direct experience of the everyday world" (1974a: 11).

(28.) That is, his first article had been heavily influenced by Heidegger (via Binswanger), and although Heidegger almost disappears from Foucault's later writings, he returns towards the end of Foucault's career. Thus, Foucault comes full-circle in the sense that he does, indeed, return to the issue of the "subject". But now he appears to have made the long journey to "the other side of the event that historians of philosophy are familiar with, in which the relations of being and truth are defined in the mode of metaphysics" (Foucault 2011: 338)

(29.) Of course, Foucault acknowledges that part of the problem lies in the existing education system for adolescents. As he remarks "the criticism that Athenian education could not ensure the passage from adolescence to adulthood ... seems ... to be a constant feature of Greek philosophy" (87).

(30.) That is to say, "what is given as truth is read immediately and directly as precept" (236)

(31.) Instead, it is "something that may be true but which does not change the subject's mode of being in any way" (236).

(32.) And this is because phusiologia operates in a manner which is "the exact opposite of paideia" (240). Its function is to prepare or to equip individuals (Foucault uses the Greek term--paraskeue--here), "so that they will be properly, necessarily and sufficiently armed for whatever circumstance of life may arise" (240).

(33.) In this context, parrhesia does not just refer to Epicurus's capacity for "speaking freely" (241), it also refers to the master-disciple relationship; and the master's "free hand ... which ensures one's ability to select from the field of true knowledge that which is relevant for the subject's transformation" (242).

(34.) Foucault clarifies the knowledge needed for this journey in the following way, "it is a complex, both theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as being a conjunctural knowledge, which is very close, of course, to the knowledge of piloting" (249).

(35.) And for philosophers like Seneca (who, in his own old age, wrote about the self in old age) "what is great is having one's soul at one's lips, ready to depart; then one is free"(265). That is, one is now ready to die.

(36.) And it is here that we clearly see the first part of this conversion. For Seneca, "to be the slave of oneself (sibi servire) is the most serious and grave (graviisma) of all servitudes" (272). Therefore, one must struggle against it in order to "free ourselves from this self-servitude" (273).

(37.) And, of course, it also provides a completely different "access to the truth" than is found in either the Platonistic or the Christian models of "self-knowledge".

Nob Doran works at the University of New Brunswick in the department of social science. Research interests include the following: social theory, discourse analysis, historical sociology. Examples of completed research can be found in journals such as: Theoretical Criminology, Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, Social & Legal Studies, Journal of Historical Sociology, Social Studies of Science, Canadian Journal of Political and Social Theory and the Canadian Journal of Sociology.
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