Rupture and Transformation: Foucault’s Concept of Spirituality Reconsidered


  • Jeremy Carrette University of Kent



Using Foucault’s conceptual frame from The Archaeology of Knowledge to read Foucault’s late deployment of “spirituality,” this article argues that Foucault’s enigmatic gesture in using this concept reveals a refusal of “rupture” from the Christian pre-modern discourse of “spirit.” Despite attempts to alter the “field of use,” Foucault’s genealogical commitment ensures a Christian continuity in modern discourses of transformation. In a detailed examination of the 1982 Collège de France lectures, the article returns Foucault’s use of “spirituality” to the Alexandrian joining of philosophy and theology and the specificity of Christian practice and belief.

Author Biography

Jeremy Carrette, University of Kent

Jeremy Carrette is Professor of Religion and Culture and Head of Religious Studies at the University of Kent, UK. He works on inter-disciplinary aspects of the study of religion. His most recent book is William James’s Hidden Religious Imagination (Routledge 2013). He is author of Foucault and Religion (Routledge, 2000), editor of Religion and Culture by Michel Foucault(Manchester/Routledge 1999), and, with James Bernauer, editor of Michel Foucault and Theology (Ashgate, 2004). Other publications include: Religion and Critical Psychology (Routledge, 2007), “Thinking Differently: Foucault and the Philosophy of Religion,” Continental Philosophy and Philosophy of Religion, edited by Morny Joy, (Springer, 2010), pp. 113-138, and “Foucault, Religion, and Pastoral Power” in Blackwell Companion to Foucault, eds. Chris Falzon, Timothy O’Leary and Jana Sawicki (Blackwell, 2013), pp. 368-383.




How to Cite

Carrette, J. (2013). Rupture and Transformation: Foucault’s Concept of Spirituality Reconsidered. Foucault Studies, (15), 52–71.



Special Issue on Foucault and Religion