Resistance: An Arendtian Reading of Solidarity and Friendship in Foucault

  • Liesbeth Schoonheim KU Leuven
Keywords: Resistance, Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), Solidarity, Friendship, Philosophy

Abstract

Recent scholarship has firmly established the similarities between Arendt and Foucault, in particular with regard to the dangers of late-modern social processes. Yet, few have compared their accounts of resistance. This paper argues that although Foucault offers the more comprehensive account, it omits the encounter with the other as unique and unfathomable, which is central to Arendt’s. This omission is particularly striking given the authors’ shared belief that the danger of ‘the social’ and ‘governmentality’ lies in atomizing individuals and barring the development of a singular style of being, and their allusion to friendship and solidarity as sites of resistance. Drawing on Arendt, I show how Foucault restricts his thematization of solidarity and friendship to a reflexive praxis of the subject on her own limits, and argue instead for the relational dimension of resistance. I start by reconstructing their converging analysis of biological racism. I then continue with a discussion of resistance in Arendt, which she develops in response to the Shoah. More specifically, she provides a concept of solidarity and friendship that I draw on to extend Foucault’s analysis of the transnational solidarity among the governed in fighting for their rights vis-à-vis their governments; and of friendship in the context of his interrogation of the LGBT-movement.

Author Biography

Liesbeth Schoonheim, KU Leuven
FWO junior post-doctoral research fellowInstitute of PhilosophyKU LeuvenBelgium Liesbeth Schoonheim is an FWO post-doctoral research fellow at KU Leuven (Belgium) and a member of RIPPLE, Research in Political Philosophy and Ethics Leuven. Her research is located at the intersection of gender theory, political theory and social theory, and recent publications address themes such as subjectivity and violence, corporeality, and literature and historiography. Research for this article was funded by FWO Research Foundation Flanders (grant nr. 63366).

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Published
2021-06-14
Section
Articles