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A Common Stature of Critique? On Foucault, Horkheimer and Adorno

The SAGE Handbook of Frankfurt School Critical Theory, a monumental three-volume set edited by Beverley Best, Werner Bonefeld and Chris O’Kane, has just appeared – containing my chapter on common features of the ‘stature’ of Foucault’s, Adorno’s and Horkheimer’s model of critique.

I use ‘biopolitics’ as an example, arguing that the reasons both for the way ‘biopolitics’ stirred Foucault’s readers and for his subsequent abandonment are to be found in the relation between Foucault’s model of critique and the role ‘biopolitics’ plays in it: it names the counter-truths derived from Foucault’s critical diagnosis of the dispositif of sexuality. Explained in this way, two affinities of Foucault’s model of critique with Adorno’s and Horkheimer’s models of critique become apparent.

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