materiali foucaultiani journal / Associazione italiana Walter Benjamin

Foucault and Benjamin


Materiali foucaultiani journal and the Italian Association “Walter Benjamin” launch a call for paper dedicated to a comparison between Walter Benjamin and Michel Foucault.

MF journal proposes to open up new research pathways that jointly crisscross the works of Benjamin and Foucault, beyond the philosophical differences between the two authors. Indeed, we contend that despite their different philosophical horizon and conceptual constellations, both Benjamin and Foucault equip us with powerful tools for undertaking a critical analysis of our present time. In both cases, such a critique is carried on through a refusal of the concept of “progress” and of an understanding of history conceived as a linear and incessant process, as an accumulation of events taking place in an empty and heterogeneous time. Although in different ways, Benjamin and Foucault situate their work within a triangulation between philosophical thought, historical past and present which escapes the modern understanding of contemporaneity, as an epoch unrelated to the others. In Foucault, “contemporary reality” is the term which conveys/refers to in the best way to such a triangulation, designating the way in which, through a series of genealogical analyses, it is possible to produce and boost critical movements that transform the present. For Benjamin as well, a history which does not account for those who write it, and which separates the past from the present moment, is unavoidably the triumphing history of the winners. Therefore, according to Benjamin, the task of the historian consists in reconnecting past and present, through an understanding of contemporaneity that has considerable convergences with Foucault.

We welcome articles that shed light on the possible convergences between Benjamin’s thought and Foucault’s one, essays that develop the relationship between past, present and philosophical thought, as well as contributions that retrace new and different contact points between the two authors with the purpose of bringing to the fore the present relevance of their philosophical work.

In particular, we welcome contributions that find thematic constellations which are common to Benjamin and Foucault, although tackled from different standpoints, as for instance the following ones:

  • The relationship between the history and the present
  • The history of the present
  • Political power, economic power and religion
  • Reading of the poetics of Charles Baudelaire
  • Elaboration of the concept of modernity
  • Space and metropolis
  • Critique of capitalism
  • Critical comparison with the Frankfurt School

Abstracts of about 1000 words (in English, Italian or French) should be sent by February 15, 2018 to:

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