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Self-TransformationsFoucault, Ethics, and Normalized Bodies$
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Cressida J. Heyes

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195310535

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195310535.001.0001

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Conclusion: Conclusion: Life Style?

Conclusion: Conclusion: Life Style?

(p.133) Conclusion: Life Style?

Cressida J. Heyes (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Scholars influenced by Michel Foucault need to say more about how care of the self emerges intersubjectively, and how it can be a set of practices that includes an understanding of responsibility and ethical commitment to embodied others. Furthermore, Foucault's work is devoid of programmatic political theory for a number of reasons, but there is a need for careful articulation of political projects that challenge docility and make creative, joyful living more possible. Not without reservations, we might follow a philosophical tradition that labels this undertaking “style”. If feminist commentators are sometimes too pessimistic about women's agency in the face of normalization, the heroic discourse of style risks being too self-satisfied to notice that many of the strategies it implies are out of reach for ordinary mortals, and may lead enthusiastic converts into novel forms of conformity. The challenge that remains is to articulate a somaesthetics within which abject bodies can articulate their own style without falling back on the voluntarism that is so often complicit with their very abjection.

Keywords:   Michel Foucault, self, style, somaesthetics, normalization, feminism

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