The Subject of Discontinuity as Foucault’s Unresolved Heritage

  • Rok Benčin
Keywords: Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Giorgio Agamben, subject, discontinuity, ethics, politics


This article deals with the problems Foucault’s work is faced with when entering its later phase. The analysis of discontinuities in history is replaced by an analysis of continuities in subjectifying sexuality. If in the first part of The History of Sexuality the subject was still the effect of power relations, the latter two parts introduce the possibility of the subject of mastery over pleasures, “which can only affect politics through ethics. In analysing the late Foucault and two contemporary authors inspired by his work, namely Judith Butler and Giorgio Agamben, we assert that Foucault’s project encounters difficulties precisely at the point where it is supposed to be the strongest: thinking the ruptures and the excesses in both the flux of power relations as well as on the level of the singularity of enjoyment. Why can he not cope with this in a different manner than by animating the antique subject of “the care of the self”, which searches for its consistency in self-control? Instead of resorting to the virtues of moderation, why does he not rather deal with the problems of the discontinued subject with the construction of a subject that would subjectify the discontinuity itself?


Download data is not yet available.
How to Cite
Benčin R. The Subject of Discontinuity as Foucault’s Unresolved Heritage. FV [Internet]. 2016Mar.8 [cited 2021Dec.2];30(3). Available from: