Foucault’s New Materialism: An Extended Review Essay of Thomas Lemke’s The Government of Things
Thomas Lemke, The Government of Things. New York: NYU Press, 2021. Pp. 312 (ISBN: 9781479808816 hardback)
Keywords:New materialism, Michel Foucault, Thomas Lemke, Mark Olssen, Graham harman, Jane Bennett, Karan Barad, complexity theory
This article constitutes an extended review essay of Thomas Lemke’s book The Government of Things: Foucault and the new materialisms published by New York University Press in 2021. A shorter version of this article was published as a book review in Social Forces (http://doi.org/10.1093/soac037, 22nd April 2022). This longer extended version is being published here with the permission of Oxford University Press, who publish Social Forces. In performing this review, the article seeks to outline and assess Lemke’s thesis to incorporate Foucault as a part of the new materialist approach to the social and physical sciences. As my own work has located Foucault as a materialist since the 1990s, I relate Lemke’s endeavour to my own and conclude that my approach has distinct advantages that his lacks. At the same time, however, his account presents some novel and insightful dimensions which can profitably be added to mine, strengthening the case for Foucault’s materialism overall.
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