Foucault with Marx

Jacques Bidet
Translated by Steven Corcoran


The first synthesis of Foucauldian and Marxist theory, constituting a twenty-first century paradigm shift in political and philosophical thinking.

With this timely commitment, Jacques Bidet unites the theories of arguably the world's two greatest emancipatory political thinkers. In this far-reaching and decisive text, Bidet examines Marxian and Foucauldian criticisms of capitalist modernity.

For Marx, the intersection between capital and the market is crucial, while for Foucault, the organizational aspects of capital are what really matter. According to Marx, the ruling class is identified with property; with Foucault, it is the managers who hold power and knowledge that rule. Bidet identifies these two sides of capitalist modernity as 'market' and 'organization', showing that each leads to specific forms of social conflict; against exploitation and austerity, over wages and pensions on the one hand, and against forms of 'medical' and work-based discipline, control of bodies and prisons on the other.

Bidet's impetus and clarity however serve a greater purpose: uniting two souls of critical social theory, in order to overcome what has become an age-long separation between the 'old left' and the 'new social movements'.

Author Bio

Jacques Bidet is a French philosopher and social theorist, currently professor emeritus in the philosophy department at the Université de Paris X – Nanterre. His most recently translated books are Exploring Marx's Capital: Philosophical, Economic and Political Dimensions (2007) and A Critical Companion to Contemporary Marxism (2007). He wrote the Introduction to Louis Althusser's On The Reproduction of Capitalism (2014).

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Why Unite Marx and Foucault, and How?
  • 1. The Marx/Foucault Difference: Discipline and Governmentality
  • 2. Property-Power and Knowledge-Power
  • 3. Marxian Structuralism and Foucauldian Nominalism
  • 4. Marx’s ‘Capitalism’ and Foucault’s ‘Liberalism’
  • Elements of a Conclusion: A Strategy from Below


'Highly accomplished...a superb theoretical synthesis.'
LSE Review of Books

‘Bidet's careful and detailed staging of the intersections of these two quite different bodies of theory is an indispensable exercise.’ 
Fredric Jameson, author of The Political Unconscious and Marxism and Form

‘Shows with patient and piercing insight why it is necessary to think Foucault with Marx (and Marx with Foucault) in order to make sense of the contemporary world.’ 
Nick Srnicek, co-author of Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work

‘In the growing literature confronting and combining the legacies of Marx and Foucault, Jacques Bidet’s contribution will stand out with exceptional relevance.' 
Etienne Balibar, co-author of Reading Capital

‘An original synthesis that informs a novel approach to resistance and struggles for counter-hegemony.’ 
Robert Jessop, author of The Future of the Capitalist State


Publication Date: 15 April 2016
288 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781783605378
Hardback: 9781783605385
eBook ePub: 9781783605408
eBook PDF: 9781783605392
eBook Kindle: 9781783605415

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