Foucault and the Politics of Rights Reviewed by Andrew Dits in the NDPR

He writes, by way of a summation,

How then ought we use rights? In his concluding chapter, Golder insists that precisely because they are forms of counter-conduct, they can be remade, reshaped, and redeployed to new ends. “Foucault does not simply capitulate to a certain ‘rights talk’ because this is the predominant language of his time,” Golder writes, “but rather tries to semantically undo that rights talk and to make it mean differently” (156). This is, Golder insists, the essence of Foucault’s critical method generally: by taking up rights as a critical counter-conduct, we can “occupy rights” (156) as a mode of self-reflective critique and make them mean differently. That is, Golder shows us that they can and should be used in the same way Foucault used them: contingently, ambivalently, and tactically. In his closing pages, Golder invites us to consider the future of rights, challenging us to reflect on the conditions in which we find ourselves and how the tools of power that dominate us may be strategically used for our liberation and the reformation of selves.

Source: Foucault and the Politics of Rights // Reviews // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame