26. Foucault, Subjectivity, and Technologies of the Self

  1. Christopher Falzon2,
  2. Timothy O'Leary3 and
  3. Jana Sawicki4
  1. Mark G. E. Kelly

Published Online: 5 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118324905.ch26

A Companion to Foucault

A Companion to Foucault

How to Cite

Kelly, M. G. E. (2013) Foucault, Subjectivity, and Technologies of the Self, in A Companion to Foucault (eds C. Falzon, T. O'Leary and J. Sawicki), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118324905.ch26

Editor Information

  1. 2

    University of Newcastle, Australia

  2. 3

    University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

  3. 4

    Williams College, USA

Author Information

  1. Middlesex University, UK

Publication History

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

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444334067

Online ISBN: 9781118324905



  • ethics;
  • Foucault;
  • self;
  • spirituality;
  • subjectivity;
  • technologies


In this chapter, the author analyzes Foucault's conception of subjectivity and his history of technologies of the self, the collections of practices by which subjectivity constitutes itself. The first section situates Foucault's conception of subjectivity in his overall body of work and intellectual context, particularly in relation to two figures in French philosophy. The second section explores the conception of the subject that Foucault develops in his late work. Having explained the importance of historical practices to his conception of subjectivity, the third section considers his history of Western practices of the self, mapping the relative fortunes of what Foucault calls the “technologies” of ethics and spirituality. The fourth section explores Foucault's consideration of the contemporary implications of his position, his assessment of the scope for and importance of spiritual or ethical practices today.