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The objects of our project are to publish a new journal and to set up a web site dedicated to Michel Foucault. The primary aim is to fill a gap in the Italian academic milieu regarding one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. During the 1990s, several unpublished Foucaultian texts were edited and, by the end of the decade, the great task of publishing his Collège de France lectures has started. In front of such a flourishing editorial activity, in Italy there have been monographs, collective works and a significant number of international conferences and special issues that several journals devoted to the French thinker. However, there still does not seem to exist a recognised research platform on which scholars in Italy and elsewhere may interact on a continuous and organized way. The creation of such a platform represents the core of our project.
More precisely, we wish to build up a framework to investigate and to highlight the essential link between the Foucaultian “boîte à outils” and the search of a sense to give to our actualité. To this purpose we shall firstly outline a cartography of the receptions and applications of the concepts elaborated by Foucault, to show that his “boîte à outils” is still fundamental if we want to put into question our present and take a clear stand in front of the issues emerging from our actualité. Then, we have to explore the ensemble of appropriations and interpretations which has made Foucault’s theory a “travelling theory”, i.e. a perspective of analysis and, at the same time, a critical posture capable of crossing disciplinary limits, sifting archives different from those opened by Foucault himself, and offering tools and materials to reflect soundly on events belonging to our multi-spatial and multi-temporal global present. In short, the aim of our project is to broaden the spectrum of problematizations proposed by Foucault, using the instruments provided by his work. For instance, it is an undeniable fact that in the postcolonial or gender studies the Foucault legacy has generated several theoretical and political evolutions that it is now impossible to put aside – even when the Foucaultian method has been forced or adopted only partially.
However, if we will try to broaden the field of the Foucaultian problematizations, we do not want to employ themes and questions belonging to Foucault’s work only in order to dissolve them, as quickly as possible, in the uses they generated. On the contrary, the close confrontation with the dynamics of receptions and utilizations of the Foucaultian “boîte à outils” aims at triggering a virtuous circle constituted by two opposite movements. On one hand, going through fresh archives and contexts may generate a critical tension capable of reviving the internal hermeneutics of the (published and unpublished) Foucaultian texts. On the other hand, the solid study of archaeological strategies and genealogical intents contained in those texts might provide us with a privileged path to come back again – this time equipped with more appropriate instruments of analysis – to the fields where the use of Foucault has proved to be (and still is) epistemologically, politically and ethically crucial. As it appears, our project is based on the assumption that Foucault’s thought is still vital, i.e. capable of raising fundamental questions and generating pregnant effects within the actual production of knowledge in various disciplines and in the ethico-political global framework of our present.