Volume 7, Issue 1, 2004
Biopolitics and Racism
“Society Must Be Defended” and the Last Foucault
Michel Foucault’s 1976 Collège de France course provides a window on the shift into the work of his final years. Presented between the publication of Discipline and Punish (1975) and the first volume of The History of Sexuality (1976), the lectures presented a political history of power that foregrounded the function of war. This article suggests that elements of the lectures could already be found in Discipline and Punish and that they introduced categories, such as bio-power, that became increasingly important to Foucault in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Furthermore, I illustrate the historical context for Foucault’s lectures: the fading possibilities of 1968 and contemporaneous anti-totalitarian political debate.