Foucault’s Subject of Power

Paul Patton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Criticism of Foucault returns constantly to two themes: first, his descriptive analyses of power provide us with no criteria for judgment, no basis upon which to condemn some regimes of power as oppressive or to applaud others as involving progress in human freedom. As Nancy Fraser puts this objection, 'Because Foucault has no basis for distinguishing, for example, forms of power that involve domination from those that do not, he appears to endorse a one-sided, wholesale rejection of modernity as such... Clearly, what Foucault needs, and needs desperately, are normative criteria for distinguishing acceptable from unacceptable forms of power'.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-71
Number of pages12
JournalPolitical Theory Newsletter
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Foucault, Michel, 1926-1984.
  • Power
  • Philosophy
  • Political philosophy


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