17. Power, Politics, Racism

  1. Christopher Falzon2,
  2. Timothy O'Leary3 and
  3. Jana Sawicki4
  1. Brad Elliott Stone

Published Online: 5 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118324905.ch17

A Companion to Foucault

A Companion to Foucault

How to Cite

Stone, B. E. (2013) Power, Politics, Racism, in A Companion to Foucault (eds C. Falzon, T. O'Leary and J. Sawicki), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118324905.ch17

Editor Information

  1. 2

    University of Newcastle, Australia

  2. 3

    University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

  3. 4

    Williams College, USA

Author Information

  1. Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 FEB 2013
  2. Published Print: 12 MAR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444334067

Online ISBN: 9781118324905



  • biopolitics;
  • biopower;
  • Foucault;
  • Nietzsche's Hypothesis;
  • racism;
  • sovereignty


This chapter offers an overview of Foucault' s conception of power. The new interpretation of power relationships as a kind of war calls traditional understandings of power into question and corrects our errors concerning the role of power in the constitution of knowledge, institutions, and subjects. In his lecture course, Society Must Be Defended, Focault presents his notion of power in terms of “Nietzsche's Hypothesis”. The chapter then turns to the analysis of political power and describes the difference between sovereignty and biopower as political paradigms. Finally, it looks at Foucault's definition of race and racism. Foucault explains how racism enters the political equation as a useful strategy of biopolitics. Two areas that are directly affected by biopower are sexuality and racism.