War/truth: Foucault, Heraclitus and the dominion of force

Brighton, Shane (2013) War/truth: Foucault, Heraclitus and the dominion of force. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 26 (4). pp. 651-668. ISSN 0955-7571

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Abstract

Michel Foucault’s problematics of war centre on three concerns: 1) the operation of that ‘historical-philosophical’ discourse which, counterposed to a ‘Platonic’ ‘juridical-philosophical’ tradition, takes war as analyzer of power relations; 2) the implication of that discourse in racial dividing practices; 3) the extent to which - despite intent - contemporary polemic philosophical and political activism risk reproducing such dividing practices. Departing from Foucault’s association of these problematics with modernity, this article attends to philosophical discussion of war and coeval transformations of Greek society and military practice in the transition from the Archaic to Classical period. In doing so, it suggests that 'historical-philosophical' discourse has a longer history and at its origin, the ‘juridical-philosophical’ tradition contained a more nuanced account of war than Foucault acknowledges. Reconstructing some of Foucault's assumptions thus has implications for addressing contemporary 'War/Truth', especially that which - invoking Classical Greek experience - promotes the concept of an historically continuous 'Western Way of War'.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences
J Political Science
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Depositing User: Jayne Paulin
Date Deposited: 29 May 2013 09:40
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 14:07
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/42269
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