This essay examines Michel Foucault’s reflections on self-formation in the shadow of the insurrection of subjugated knowledges. If, as Foucault argues in The Government of Self and Others, the conditions of the otherwise lie in the radically potential spaces of a kind of truth speaking (dire vrai, parrhesia), what political and theoretical weight will be given to the exhausting conditions of these spaces? The goal of this essay is not to solve this paradox ontologically, but to face it sociologically, not to develop an ontology of potentiality but to understand the dwelling of potentiality. The essay begins by examining will, risk, and exhaustion in Foucault’s late works, then turns Giorgio Agamben’s reflections on potentiality and thoughts on will, effort, and mental habit from the American pragmatists William James and Charles Sanders Peirce.
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Elizabeth A. Povinelli; The Will to Be Otherwise/The Effort of Endurance. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 July 2012; 111 (3): 453–475. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-1596236
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