chapter  13
24 Pages

Tom Frost (2013), 'The Hyper-Hermeneutic Gesture of a Subtle Revolution', Critical Horizons, 14, pp. 70-92

In May 1979, at the height of the Iranian revolution, Michel Foucault wrote a column in the French newspaper Le Monde titled "Useless to Revolt?" In this piece, with his characteristic literary prose, Foucault meditates upon the very notion of"revolt", or "resistance". For Foucault:

Revolts belong to history. But, in a certain way, they escape from it. The impulse by which a single individual, a group, a minority, or an entire people says, "I will no longer obey", and throws the risk of their life in the face of an authority they consider unjust seems to me to be something irreducible. 1

Foucault, in another characteristic move, avoids answering the question of whether such a revolution is a desirable thing. Is it right to revolt? Foucault leaves this question open. People do revolt, and it is through revolt that, in Foucault's terms, "subjectivity ... is brought into history, breathing life into it".3