The purpose of this paper is to explore some fundamental ideas of Foucault on the listening in an anthropological perspective.
There are three crucial sites which are the obliged points of passage to seize the question of listening in the thoughts of Foucault. Firstly, the concept of technology or culture of the self might be mentioned. In fact, the listening is one of the activities practiced to attain the care of the self. According to Foucault’s insightful interpretation of the Stoic practices, to be able to listen carefully, we must learn to attend to and take care of ourselves.
Secondly, the Greek notion of ‘askesis’ should be understood to get a complete vision of the anthropological meaning of the listening. In this context, Foucault focused on the stoic genealogy which represents a particular horizon of the culture of the self insisting on the notion of ‘askesis’.
Thirdly, the question of listening might be situated in the context of advice in general. In fact Foucault described in some detail the situation of advice from the philosopher to the governor who might know the ways of listening. The practice of listening would permeate the subject not only to govern others, but also to respect the parrhesia, the free speaking of others in public. In sum, the listening is a counterpart of discourse and makes it possible.
Modern linguistics has emphasized speaking practices, and has neglected the anthropological capacity to listen. But in the economy of attention which characterizes the digital revolution, it is crucial to consider how on attends to another’s speech to repair the breakdown in our new communicative environment.
Drawing from the lectures of Foucault, I will attempt to construct Foucault’s project of the anthropological pragmatics of listening.
Foucault Michel, Le gouvernment de soi et des autres, Cours au Collège de France, 1982-1983, Paris, Seuil-Gallimard, 2008.
Foucault Michel, L’Herméneutique du sujet. Cours au Collège de France (1981-1982), Paris: Seuil : Gallimard, 2001.
Foucault Michel, L’herméneutique du sujet. Cours au Collège de France ,1981-1982, Paris, Seuil-Gallimard, 2001.
Foucault Michel, Qu’est-ce que la critique ? suivi de La culture de soi, Paris, Vrin, 2015.
Foucault Michel, Sur l’origine de l’herméneutique de soi : conférences prononcées à Dartmouth college, 1980, Paris, Vrin, 2013.
Foucault Michel, 1926-1984, Gros Frédéric, Le gouvernement de soi et des autres, Paris: Seuil : Gallimard, 2008.
Keywords: Foucault, Listening, Anthropology, Askesis