The Last Man Takes LSD

The Last Man Takes LSD:Foucault and the End of Revolution

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How Michel Foucault, drugs, California and the rise of neoliberal politics in 1970s France are all connected

How Michel Foucault, drugs, California and the rise of neoliberal politics in 1970s France are all connected

In May 1975, Michel Foucault took LSD in the desert in southern California. He described it as the most important event of his life, one which would lead him to completely rework his History of Sexuality. His focus now would not be on power relations but on the experiments of subjectivity and the care of the self. Through this lens, he would reinterpret the social movements of May ’68 and position himself politically in France in relation to the emergent anti- totalitarian and anti-welfare state currents. He would also come to appreciate the possibilities of autonomy offered by a new force on the French political scene that was neither of the Left nor the Right: neoliberalism.

For this paperback edition, the authors have written an afterword responding to the debate occasioned by the book’s first publication.

Reviews

  • The contribution of this important essay is to place Foucault’s thought on neoliberalism in its political context of the time. This is the whole point of this essay, all the more fascinating since it offers an overview of the work on Foucault, in particular on its relation to neoliberalism.

    Olivier DoubrePolitis
  • In The Last Man Takes LSD, the sociologists Mitchell Dean and Daniel Zamora meticulously examine the turning point of the seventies to take a critical look at Foucault’s political heritage, and to revive the debate on his relationship to the neoliberal school of thought.

    Mathieu DejeanLes Inrocks
  • A volume that offers us an overview of the political field that gave rise to Foucault’s ideas. The two authors enrich the debate by proposing to consider the alleged Foucaultian sympathy for neoliberalism as a moment where power seemed to criticize himself, making possible, on the one hand, a policy finally free from the conquest of the State and institutions, and on the other, the idea of an autonomous constitution of oneself – or, what would today be inexorably described as an entrepreneur of the self.

    Carlo CrosatoIl Manifesto