Genealogy as Critique

Genealogy as Critique

Foucault and the Problems of Modernity
Colin Koopman
Distribution: World
Publication date: 1/22/2013
ISBN: 978-0-253-00623-3
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Viewing Foucault in the light of work by Continental and American philosophers, most notably Nietzsche, Habermas, Deleuze, Richard Rorty, Bernard Williams, and Ian Hacking, Genealogy as Critique shows that philosophical genealogy involves not only the critique of modernity but also its transformation. Colin Koopman engages genealogy as a philosophical tradition and a method for understanding the complex histories of our present social and cultural conditions. He explains how our understanding of Foucault can benefit from productive dialogue with philosophical allies to push Foucaultian genealogy a step further and elaborate a means of addressing our most intractable contemporary problems.

Author Bio

Colin Koopman is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oregon and author of Pragmatism as Transition: Historicity and Hope in James, Dewey, and Rorty.


"Colin Koopman rethinks Foucault's work from the ground up, re-reading his relationships to Kant, Nietzsche, Deleuze and Habermas. In so doing, he opens up fruitful new avenues for connecting Foucaultian genealogical critique to pragmatism and Habermasian critical theory. It is a must read for anyone interested in the relationship between Foucault and critical theory." —Amy R. Allen, Dartmouth College

Genealogy as Critique breathes fresh air into a number of stale scholarly debates about the periodization of Foucault's work, the viability of genealogy as a method, and the relationship between Foucault and his interlocutors. It is a must read for anyone interested in Foucault and especially in the relationship between Foucault and critical theory." —Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"This impressive book by Koopman . . . exposes what he perceives to be inaccurate readings of Foucault's work stemming from Habermas, Derrida, and other 'Weberian' interpretations. . . . Recommended." —Choice

"Colin Koopman’s 'Genealogy as Critique' is critical theory at its best: informed by incisive intellectual reconstructions, guided by immanent critique, and aiming at practical transformations that speak to our unique historical challenges." —Foucault Studies

"Genealogy as Critique is an excellent book. . . After the academic industry that Foucault’s works have spawned, it is difficult to imagine yet another treatment of them that could possibly offer new insight or open up a dimension of his thought that hadn’t already been noticed. However, Colin Koopman’s book does just that. . . Although I have studied and written on Foucault for over thirty years now, I found much in the book that was fresh and interesting." —History & Theory

"In Genealogy as Critique, Colin Koopman traces the contours of Foucault’s critical method of genealogy, presenting it not as a catch-all term for approaching history as a nonhistorian, but rather as a method of inquiry valuable to many fields, including communication, cultural studies, history, and sociology." —INTL JRNL OF COMMUNICATION

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Table of Contents

Introduction: What Genealogy Does
1. Critical Historiography: Politics, Philosophy & Problematization
2. Three Uses of Genealogy: Subversion, Vindication & Problematization
3. What Problematization Is: Contingency, Complexity & Critique
4. What Problematization Does: Aims, Sources & Implications
5. Foucault's Problematization of Modernity: The Reciprocal Incompatibility of Discipline and Liberation
6. Foucault's Reconstruction of Modern Moralities: An Ethics of Self-Transformation
7. Problematization plus Reconstruction: Genealogy, Pragmatism & Critical Theory