7. From Resistance to Government

Foucault's Lectures 1976–1979

  1. Christopher Falzon2,
  2. Timothy O'Leary3 and
  3. Jana Sawicki4
  1. Paul Patton

Published Online: 5 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118324905.ch7

A Companion to Foucault

A Companion to Foucault

How to Cite

Patton, P. (2013) From Resistance to Government, in A Companion to Foucault (eds C. Falzon, T. O'Leary and J. Sawicki), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118324905.ch7

Editor Information

  1. 2

    University of Newcastle, Australia

  2. 3

    University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

  3. 4

    Williams College, USA

Author Information

  1. University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Publication History

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

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444334067

Online ISBN: 9781118324905



  • Foucault;
  • neoliberal governmentality;
  • power;
  • resistance;
  • strategy


Interviews formed an integral part of Foucault's work alongside and complementary to the published works. It is primarily in interviews that he elaborates on the implications of his historical studies for thinking about the problems raised by social and political movements. Like his published books, Foucault's lectures sought to engage with the social, political, and intellectual present in which they were presented. In this sense, they are closer to the interviews. This chapter focuses on the developments in his thinking about power as these are displayed in his lectures between 1976 and 1979. It also discusses the role of strategy in relations of power. Building on the centrality of freedom to this concept of power as action on the actions of others, Foucault asserts that there is an intransigence of freedom and a corresponding “agonism” at the heart of power relations.